Friday, February 17, 2017

Day 4: Silly Little Things (National Random Acts of Kindness Day)

I always loved the story that Ethel Mace told, when they decided to open a hotel, she’d never even been in one and her husband, Gordon, had only been a “couple of times.”  If they could do it, I told myself (who had been in lots of hotels), then certainly I could.  I look back now and laugh about what I didn’t know. Maybe it was for the best!

Surely the first time my Kraft food service salesman went back to the office after sitting down to visit with me in front of the fireplace in a very cold lobby, that he roared with laughter telling his coworkers that I asked how many cups are in a #10 can (another story here, but that silly little # is read not as hashtag 10, but number 10) ‘She’ll never make it,’ must have been his summary!

For all I thought I knew about the restaurant business, since I’d worked during high school, college and even as a manager later, there was lots I didn’t know! And now 30 some years later, I am still learning.  Recently, how to bake gluten free, and along the way, I’ve too had my share of laughs about how you’ve got to be specific when dealing with untrained college students as staff.  Do tell them to peel the bananas before they puree them, and take the shells off the hard boiled eggs before smashing!

Baldpate Inn 1988 staff Pat IngelsBut along the way we’ve had some really smart staff that shared ideas for seemingly silly little things, which made it all work even better.  There was Pat’s idea about marking the sheets. Unless you’ve had the task of sorting 100-some white sheets coming back from the laundry, you probably wouldn’t appreciate Pat’s idea of marking the edges so you could quickly identify the twin from the double from the queen. And bless her heart, Pat spent one entire winter doing just that, putting a color coded zigzag stitch on the edge of our sheets. I am sure I didn’t thank her enough for giving us a system that works to this day!

 Baldpate Inn sheet closet

My dear sister, Eunice (and her husband, Sherm) who helped so much in the first few years, advised I needed an “easy” pie and brought the recipe. Just one crust instead of two, a seemingly little thing that has saved hours as our chocolate crème pie remains a best seller!

Baldpate Inn pies

 Then there was Fitz, who returned one summer during grad school to suggest I have him do a website for our business. Believe me, I had no idea nor could I imagine what he was talking about, the world wide web!

That world of the web brings me back around to the cook just a few years ago, making our famous beef stew the first time on her own, who came rushing into my office with the question “what’s 20 hashtags of beef?" This time the silly little thing, # after a number means pounds, I explained. 

Written by Lois Smith

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