If you work as a server long enough, you can predict how people will respond to your questions. You introduce yourself and say, I’ll be your server tonight. And the man with three children responds, I’m Alan, and I’ll be your customer tonight. In three summers at a restaurant inside a “resort” hotel, one question always surprised me: Don’t you feel blessed to live here?

The first time someone asked, I thought they were joking. Here meant Manitou Beach, Saskatchewan, “Canada’s Dead Sea.” I’d watch clouds of salt roll onto the beach at six a.m. when I opened, and at night I’d watch my friends battle tourists in beach volleyball tournaments.

My manager once inadvertently gave me a third-degree burn with a plate of stuffed mushrooms. European and Asian tourists asking if I felt blessed to live in a 200-population town and work in a restaurant with no air-conditioning perplexed me.

My friends usually hung around while I closed, but the night before Canada Day, they went to the bar early.

The sky was black when I left. I ran down the main drag. Green, blue, and red fireworks reflected off the water on my right and the two-story wall of windows at the restaurant on my left.  Locals set off sparklers near the water. People sang in the beer gardens.

My boyfriend appeared and, in the middle of the chaos, we kissed. After the party, we walked with our friends to the dock. We swam then sat with our feet in the water. No pictures could’ve captured the sunrise, or our perfect happiness in our temporary paradise. The next time someone asked, I said yes. I felt blessed to live here.