I have respect and admiration for people who work as engineers, computer software programmers, carpenters, and people who have to calculate every last detail or line of code to precision. And of course, I have respect for individuals who help others physically or spiritually or leave things behind to help others.
And I also highly admire both senior citizens and those who interview them, wanting to gleen any wisdom at all from the fields of history and experience. So, it’s no wonder that I completely enjoyed Tony Varela’s Dodger Stadium Blog entry, A Conversation With Dodger Vendor Extraordinaire Ronald E. Nelson.
Tony Varela is a Dodger Stadium employee who gives a unique and entertaining insider’s tale of working at the stadium.
And Ronald Nelson is a fixture of Los Angeles Dodgers baseball ever since opening day of Dodger baseball at the Los Angeles Coliseum in 1958. At 77 years young, he still can be found vending up and down stairs during a Dodger game, ranking him with the likes of legendary Roger Owens in number of years serving the fans of Dodger Blue. While Roger Owens began vending as a 15 year old, Nelson didn’t start until his late twenties, when he was working with the food union in late 1957 and decided he’d rather hit the stairs as a vendor rather than stand around preparing meals in the food stands. Together with Roger Owens, they have over 100 years of combined experience, not to mention other vendors like Richard Aller, who is retired but had 49 years, and Mort Rose, who has at least 45 years of vending experince if not more.
My favorite parts of the interview with Nelson, who by the way sells pizza for night games and frozen lemonade for warm, day games, is his story about George Apkey, and about Wally Moon, and his story of Mickey Mantle’s painting.
Whether as fans you mention Roger Owens or Mort Rose or Richard Aller or Ronald E. Nelson, what makes vendors so interesting is that they are part celebrity, part everyday union worker, a bridge of two worlds that somehow blend so easily on game day.
Thanks, Tony Varela for your insightful interview. You’re my kinda guy.