Once upon a time, a long long time ago... okay, okay... the summer of 1999 (yikes! 14 years ago!) I worked in our nation's first national park, Yellowstone. It was nothing as exciting as being a park ranger but rather I was there to clean rooms at Old Faithful Inn as part of a summer project with Campus Crusade for Christ (now Cru.) It was a summer that impacted my life in various ways and apparently is still bearing fruit in other areas still today.
You see, one becomes very familiar with the details and rigors of housekeeping when work is done in one of the busiest hotels in the nation over the summer months. While I was not the fastest room cleaner in the est I found an appreciation for those who do it day in and day out for years on end. Not just for the summer, you see. The solitary work about drove me mad and so management had mercy on me and when they could they moved me into a position of
picking up buffalo poop grounds keeping and cleaning public spaces. I was thankful to be around more people and I LOVED that job. No, really.
Today I find myself nearing the end of a two month stay at a hotel. I am always reminded that it is well worth knowing the names of the people around you. Especially in the service arena. I'm pretty sure I know everyone who works here from management, to housekeeping, to food service. They work hard.
However, I will say that our relationships with those in housekeeping are by far the most significant. We see them just about everyday. My kids run down the halls in little-girl-screeching-delight when they see Mrs I and Mrs E, the women who run the housekeeping department. The day that I told Mrs. I that I had worked in housekeeping for a time she was surprised and asked all sorts of questions. We talked about the hard work of it all and the difference in how things work here versus what I experienced. It seemed like that sealed our relationship. Well, that and the fact that my girls easily endear themselves to almost anyone. HA! We have had conversations about family, life, church, and other things. We have made great friends here and while we are excited to go home we are sad to leave the people that we have met here.
My girls have this notion that the housekeeping crew will just come home with us. Yes, I wish. HA! We'll take food service with us as well. My girls even pretend clean after housekeeping leaves and when we come back to the room they do the famous "knock, knock! Housekeeping!" at the the door and then burst into quiet giggles. If anything it has been a social education for my girls and I think they are doing fabulously.
Fourteen years ago I wondered how on earth my being a housekeeper would have any sort of impact or be of any sort of significance. I merely thought it was a vehicle to do ministry at that time. Nope, apparently there would be another reason that would not be fully realized until 14 years later. I wonder what that summer still has in store for me?