I had the kitchen to myself today.
Since I was gone this weekend and it turned out to be one of the busiest of the year at the restaurant, I worked today so the others could have a day off. I got to the Inn about 10:15 am and left around 10:15 pm, with a steady stream of customers and a prep list as long as my arm to work through. I’m tired and, as Jackson Browne sings, “When the morning light comes streaming in I’ll get up and do it again. Amen.”
As much as I work, I’m surrounded by folks who work more than I do. Robert, our head chef, pretty much lives at the Inn. Most of the other cooks and dishwashers have at least one other job. Pedro, who is my dishwasher on Monday nights, works a construction job all day and then washes dishes from six to midnight. He bounces in every evening with a loud, “What up?” and a smile on his face. Tonight, at 9:30, I could hear him singing in the dishroom. When he came out to put the clean dishes away, I told him his happiness helped me.
“It’s good to be happy,” he said. “I got problems, but I leave them at my house. Everybody got problems. Why I need bring mine to work? I like my job. I work hard. I like people. I’m happy.”
Ginger got home tonight after an extended day of travel, thanks to Northwest Airlines and some nasty weather around here. I came home to a familiar and welcome sight of my wife and schnauzers all curled up together on the couch. I showered, put on my pajamas, and hung out with them for awhile before I came up to write. Gracie followed me upstairs and has curled up in the armchair next to my desk, as she usually does. With each tap on the keyboard, exhaustion gives way to sleepiness. In the few hours between when I left work and when I go back, I am, as Martina McBride sings, safe in the arms of love.
Tonight, I go to sleep more grateful than tired.