My next memoir, Behind the Kitchen Doors ~ Resort Life, continues with my journey working for luxury hotels in the heart of the Canadian Rockies. I focus on how it is to work in a resort-like hotel during the winters, where the hours are less and I picked up shifts where I could, and a second job at a daycare where I ended up with chickenpox at the age of twenty-three. There was never a dull moment. Every experience was one step forward of the path of where I was going.
Christmas at the Lake
Christmas at the Lake was magical. It was a snow globe of a perfect winter wonderland. Snow-covered mountains, the glistening snow on top of the frozen lake, a section plowed off for skaters, and a cross-country ski trail to the end of the Lake. It also seemed that every tree outside around the property was wrapped in white Christmas lights. It was stunning.
Inside the hotel, it looked like Santa’s workshop from all the Christmas movies you can think of. Most recently I think of the Christmas Chronicles with Kirk Russel and Goldie Hawn meets White Christmas with Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney.
The Christmas trees in the lobby were gargantuan species of bright and dazzling yuletide ordainments. Each tree had an empty box decorated in shining holiday paper with oversized bows placed ever so perfectly around the base of the tree. There were Christmas trees everywhere you looked in the lobby, each dining room, and hallways throughout the hotel. It would be easy to play hide-and-go-seek and get lost in the trees.
When I was working on the holiday buffet, I watched people pile roasted turkey and slabs of prime rib on their plates, I would break up the monotonous of the buffet service by staring outside the floor-to-ceiling bay windows facing the glacier-fed Lake. The Christmas trees outside were beautifully decorated and with the falling snow on the branches of the trees, the magic of the holidays filled my heart.
Sis: Excuse me do you have any horseradish?
Marion Ann: What?
Sis: That woman is pointing at an empty bowl.
Marion Ann: Opps!
Marion Ann: Yes. Yes, I am.
I didn’t talk to Michael a lot during the holidays. He was busy with school and I told him how busy the hotel was. I shared stories about the elaborated buffets the companies chose for their employees. I told him about the overpriced wine I pushed onto my tables to make extra money.
He would imply it was a good way to save money for when I was ready to move back to Nova Scotia. I would agree to avoid the conversation.
Marion Ann: I wasn’t ready to leave.
Sis: Either was I.
Christmas Time for Employees
My first Christmas away from home was painless. I was working a lot to distract myself from the traditional events that I was missing in Nova Scotia.
At the Lake, on Christmas day I only had to work a small Christmas morning champagne breakfast for a family that booked a private room to celebrate together. It was the easiest hundred dollars I made, that as on top of the gratuity built into the private room and catering fee. The family felt bad for me that I had to work on Christmas day.
Sis: Then hand over another hundred.
Marion Ann: Exactly.
After I cleaned up my function, I made my way to my cousin, Debbie’s, house in Canmore for Christmas dinner. It was nice to spend time with family.
I didn’t mind working Christmas, it meant double time pay, and extra sympathy tips when I shared, I was away from family.
The one event I was looking forward to was the employee Christmas party. It was one of the elaborated buffets and the managers served the employees. The poured the first glasses of wine but then left the bottles on the tables for free pour service. It was a recipe for disaster.
The management was in charge of bussing tables and wine service. Dinner was an elaborate buffet by a culinary team from another sister property. Usually, Kananaskis sent a team to work the event, and then we would go there to help them with their Christmas party. Who wouldn’t want to work at another property, get paid to hang out and drink, because that’s what happened. The cooks prepared dinner, the servers and dishwashers did their jobs and then after dinner, they were offered to party with us, we all knew each other from staying at each other’s property with the staff discount, or transferring from one property to another, the mountain properties were one big happy family.
My debut memoir, Behind The Kitchen Doors ~ The Summers, shares my first three summers working for the Chateau Lake Louise, a beautiful hotel on top of a mountain. It may be far away from your home but you can’t hide from what you left behind. Click Here fore more details ~ Thank you.
Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…