It’s not often, we find, that we meet someone who’s had a similar catering experience to the years in the hospitality sector that we’ve had. But yesterday we were privileged to chat with the owner of a local cake shop which had become what she called ‘a destination tea room’ to which people from a sixty mile radius would make a specific visit. Ah, we thought, that sounds familiar.
Both of our enterprises have since closed, but that doesn’t negate the long hours of service we’ve done, or the businesses we had created from scratch. Our mutual reminiscences took us both right back down memory lane. As the kind proprietor said, I can’t think when I’ve talked quite so much!
In our case, we had to leave the business or else drop, while for our new acquaintance a death in the family seemed to have been the determining factor for the closure of the tea room. The passion we both had for our enterprises was almost tangible; you felt every step, every cake brought out of the oven, iced, presented to faithful customers with pride. I remembered the joy with which I would carry our fresh loaves into the café to stack the baskets until they were full.
We shared in the washing up; we each had our own system, but while the former proprietor did her own thing in the sink, I demurred and took care of the drying and putting away. Neither of us cared to use a dishwasher, for normal purposes, though I was happy to share my own delight at the facility of a commercial washer, with its quick turn-around and piping hot dishes. We commiserated too in the kinds of repairs we’d each had to do in our respective kitchens. Experience shared is experience validated.
We couldn’t go back to those days; we’re simply not physically capable of such effort any more. Now we’re happy to travel when we can, to try to enjoy the world and our families while the time is available to us. It’s a luxury now, but what a hard slog it was then, back when we were spending every hour, every minute of every day worrying about the business. Now we can look back with a certain amount of shared pride at our efforts, at what we’d created, at how successful our strategies were.
Been there, done that, got the battle scars to prove it. What fun to share, to commiserate in a kind of hospitality camaraderie: ah yes, that’s how it was for us too!
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