Here Say is a project in community storytelling. We travel to a new place each week and ask people to share true stories about things we all experience: love, family, learning and more. To see where we've been, check out our interactive map.
Matt Rinehart might have one of Midway’s coolest jobs. He works at Spirit of ‘76, the fireworks store.
"Are you from Missouri?"
"No actually I’m from Iowa."
"Are fireworks legal in Iowa?"
"Fireworks are not legal in Iowa. No in fact as children we often used to drive down to Missouri to visit this fine state to make fireworks purchases."
"What do your friends from home think about you working in a fireworks shop?"
"You have to explain to them you don’t work in a tent. And the first question is what do you do the rest of the year. Actually, even though we have this store here, our main business is wholesale. So most of our business is shipping out to Texas, Louisiana and all over the United States. Everything we do is consumer, so we sell to the stores and the tents. And we do sell to some people who just want to spend $2000 in fireworks. The most I’ve probably ever spent is $50, but you would be amazed by what people spend on fireworks."
Jim Nelson and his wife recently closed their retirement project: a garden store. He told us about the best part of working for himself.
My most recent job was after I retired from 30-something years in telecommunications, my wife and I opened a garden shop in Excelsior Springs. We planned to do that for 10 years, but we stretched it out to 13. We’re enjoying retirement. The hardest part about closing it was the people. I miss the people. I don’t miss putting in the spring order and not getting this and I shouldn’t of ordered that in the first place. But the people is the plus thing.
Norman Downs has one of the most common jobs you’ll find at Midway. He’s a trucker. He told us about life on the road.
What can I say? I haul food. I haul meat. I haul pork from Nebraska, then I haul it to the east coast or west coast and pick up produce and bring it back home so y’all have fresh vegetables. I’m a single dad. I have four kids and a couple of grandkids. That’s always hard, but after a while that’s every day life. I call home every day, three or four times actually, just to find out what’s going on and make sure everyone is okay, then I go about my business. I don’t have to punch a time clock, the boss isn’t sitting over my shoulder, saying hey what are you doing what are you doing what are you doing. I have the responsibility of a job, and I have to get the job done, but that’s it. I like the freedom of it.
For more stories about working, check out our interactive map here.