Peter Schrieb exuded energy the way a lamp exudes light, and by his second day of work in the Lake Lodge kitchen he had broken down the tasks we did into distinct areas. He focused particularly on the time it took us to bus tables, cycling from the kitchen to the dining room and back to the dishwashing machine. He clocked each of us with a stop watch, and even though none of us had come to work in Yellowstone Park to learn to wash dishes more quickly, for the next four days we rushed our bussing carts back and forth from the dining room to the kitchen as if we were transporting life-saving medicines.
On the fifth day following Peter’s arrival, my roommate and I drove into Idaho to get a dog. There was no logical or even legal reason for us to do that because Park regulations stated a clear prohibition against park workers owning dogs, but it was the sixties, we were 21, and neither of us laid awake at night worrying about federal regulations regarding pets in national parks.
We found a black labrador puppy in Idaho Falls and snuck it back into the park in a box under the back seat of the Chevy van my roommate owned.
The tightness of the employee community at Lake Lodge meant we were able to keep the puppy in our cabin for two weeks without detection. Bill and I worked separate shifts when we could, and when we couldn’t, friends took responsibility during unannounced cabin checks to take our puppy for a walk in the woods, ignoring the occasional bear alerts.
We were busted when my roommate was told too late of a coming inspection and hid our puppy in a drawer as the park officials pounded on the door. My roommate knew we were lost when the inspector listened for a moment to the puppy’s whining and then said, “I think your socks want to be fed.”
We were ordered to send the dog from the Park., and we were deciding which of us would have to quit and leave when Peter Schrieber resigned, citing frustration over management’s resistance to implementing his suggestions for a more efficient kitchen operaion. Before he left, he offered to take our dog.
It was clear that Peter was going to turn out to be more responsible than my roommate or me–we had, after all, chosen to bring a puppy into a restricted area while he was offering to take it out, and I last saw Peter standing on the main road by the lake, a backpack over his shoulder and our puppy sitting at his side. Peter’s thumb was up in the air, and our puppy looked ready for a Philadelphia life-style that didn’t involve walks in bear-filled woods and unannounced stays in socks and underwear-filled drawers.