Wednesday, June 2, 2010

"I don't know how you do it!"

After "What desserts do you have today?", the comment I hear the most is "I don't know how you do it!"

Of course, I have an excellent family of staff members. But there is no way we could make this place function as happily as it does without something more.

So I'm about to let you in on my secret weaponry:

Dad, who fetches and carries, who lends me his car and his wisdom, who restores my equilibrium. Who says, "I love to help you, Karyn ..."
Deborah Joy, who allows me to leave the TH, knowing it'll be just like Allstate
Don, who has a full-time job keeping up with maintenance at this place!
Norma, the person I can call on for help with any task, large or small
Brenda, my co-founder who still comes willingly to help out
BethAnne, my 911 call for anything
Sonnie, who organizes me and my stuff
Doreen, my private horticulturalist and prayer warrior and spontaneous dishwasher
Cathryn, who supplies the TH's graphic design and who can round up the troops
Lorraine, skilled turkey carver and direct answer to prayer on Easter Sunday
Matthew, my data entry clerk, computer wizard and back-up kitchen help
Craig, who has changed lightbulbs and worked weddings to help his old aunt
Bronwyn, who shows up at just the right times
Allan, who knows this TH better than I do and makes it cooperate for me
Angela, who stepped out of her comfort zone to help in time of need
Elliot and Oliver, plate scrapers extraordinaire and delights of my heart
Lois Lewis, event expediter and beautiful example of a servant's heart 
Terri-Lyn and My Little Dawn, my girls, who see what needs to be done and do it (and Collin, their chauffeur and the father of my "grandchildren"!)
Andy, who pitched in when I first reopened and who now encourages me via email 
Leslynn, behind-the-scenes magician
Alli, cool water girl
Nevan, who carefully collected tumbleweeds when I wanted them for decorations
Ron, who has fixed my banister and sanded down rough edges 
Otto, who kept my lawn mowed
Ed, seasonal outdoor furniture mover, who has even arranged flowers in a pinch!
Ted, who supplies me with the Capital and news of the real world each week
Maya, Sarah and Taylor, my junior staff, who fill the sugar bowls and Splenda wheelbarrows and jellybean cup on Saturday mornings 
Their parents, who bring them and patiently wait for them!
Vernon and Sharon, very special neighbours
Gerri, who invites me over for tea when I need a break
Richard and Alana, who are willing to make cooking supply runs
Heather, who keeps the menu on my website updated
Bonnie, who regularly hoses down the exterior of the building
Ken and Bernadette, who help me with after hours set-up on Sunday nights
Joan and Rick, without whom I could not have made cheesecake for 200 people
Theresa, for ads in the Capital and for stress breaks 
Jackie, for vacuuming and kitchen shifts in moments of dire need
Brian, for dishes and silky lattes and for cutting potatoes and for a shoulder to cry on PRN and for setting an example for my boys
The Monday-morning men, who cover this place in prayer

All these people, and countless more, have shown up at Nilgiris to help me out when it seems I most need someone to help me out. They don't ask for anything in return (they won't even accept a measly dessert!). They do it because they care for me and because they love the little TH.

There are also you guests, vast numbers of you, who see when I am short staffed in the dining room and cheerfully bus a table or two on your way to settling up your tab.

You grab the coffee pot or the water pitcher and do a quick turn about the room. You lend me pots and pans and ingredients.

You write me the most heartfelt notes and cards. You feed me sugar-coated fennel, a little sign that you remember what makes me happy.

You chase down my outdoor furniture in windstorms and you bring me flowers and china cups and recipes and elephants and treasured little objets d'arts that you know will suit the TH and that I will cherish.

You let me hold your babies and play tea parties with your kids.

You pray for me.

You encourage me.

And that's how I do it.

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