Throughout life you are told to think outside of the box. Ironically, I spent the majority of my summers thinking from within one. My mother started the Ditch Witch when I was just three years old, and due to my uncontrollable fear of babysitters, the sand of Ditch Plains became my day care center— the community of local people, my new sitters. This is how I spent the summer for half of my life, roaming between the lifeguard stand and the Ditch Witch; just a little grom with bleach blonde hair, waddling from a board short rash, talking to everyone I could.
Then came destiny, I began working for my mom. I started small, stocking drink coolers and shelves, a job I regularly failed at because I surfed too long. Finally I was given a real schedule. I began taking orders and making food. It was as if the door closed on this glorious life I once had and all my friends were still living. I would watch them roaming the beach, surfing Kamikazes, and causing mayhem. It frustrated me to the point I would quit, walk out, and say to myself “I’m done!” But an hour later I would get rehired, and back in the box it was.
It took me a while to get used to life in the Ditch Witch, but eventually I began to love it. There are so many moments and memories I wouldn’t trade for the world; things I have seen and people I have met that have affected my life, all from within that box. I have worked next to my mom and sister for an uncountable number of hours, ninety-five percent of which were beyond enjoyable, a bonding experience not many families get to enjoy.
After 20 years of serving oceans of coffee and rolling mountains of burritos, my mom finally retired, leaving the Ditch Witch for my sister and I to run. It’s a funny feeling working in there and not being next to my mom. I still think she’s the boss, and still do things as if she’s watching me. But the community of people that call Ditch Plains home is still there, from the old friends who have watched me grow up, to all the new comers and new friends. The spirit of that parking lot and those benches has never changed. A place that truly exemplifies why we all love Montauk; you could be anyone from a movie star, a stockbroker on a weekend getaway, a fisherman, a bartender, or simply a Budweiser-loving bum. You WILL be treated equally. Come to the Ditch Witch, grab a coffee, sit on the benches, and see for yourself. I guarantee you will make a new friend.
Photos and words by Grant Monahan. Check out his Instagram for film goodies and more of Montauk.