Another Masters Tournament has passed. Another week has been spent “ooohing and ahhhhing” over Pimento Cheese & Egg Salad sandwiches in familiar green cellophane bags. Another winner has earned a Green Jacket.
Every year, I say I really don’t want to go back. But, in December, when the Augusta National letter comes in the mail, I have forgotten most of the tough stuff,
and I begin to get excited about April
and I return.
And most parts of the experience are wonderful. In fact, the most difficult part is the physical taxation. But, I know that I am one tiny part of a tremendous, intricate puzzle that the world watches for one week each April. It is an honor to be a such a grand and elaborate tradition.
My particular niche is in a “cabin” tucked away from the main activity of the course. There are three of these cabins, each entertaining a separate company. Two of the cabins are full and rocking with people who have probably earned tickets through sales. As many as one hundred and fifty people will walk through their buffet lines at each breakfast, lunch or snack. I am in a more quiet cabin that is visited by executives of a particular company. The atmosphere is more subdued. They have some guests, but we serve no more than fifty at any given meal.
I don’t know this for certain, but I the things I hear from all the people who I talk to throughout the week lead me to believe that the chefs and servers in food service have the longest hours on the grounds (the severs coming in just an hour or two after the chefs and leaving just a bit before them).
While I have a meticulous sense of order and want things done right and well, I’m not trained in any area of food preparation or service. I do a good job in making sure that my job as a buffet attendant is at the standard expected, but I still have to ask many a question about terminology and sometimes presentation of food. I am thankful my cabin runs at a more relaxed pace and I expect this may even be the reason that I am in this particular cabin.
But, every year, I say I don’t want to return. The hours are extremely long and I am not so foolish as to think that I am not expendable.
Everything I do in life, I ask “How am I blessing others? Am I making a difference? Does my presence matter?” In the Camellia cabin, I know I am replaceable. In fact, the only place that I believe that we are not replaceable is within our own families. Neither a father nor a mother can truly be replaced.
But, the main thing that keeps me returning is the people working beside me. There is a small group of us who have been in this particular work area (the three cabins and the kitchen that prepare and cook for us) for the four years that the cabins have been built. These people bring me back. These, and some of the new people who come in each year. I want to be an encouragement. I want to help them. I want to make their burden lighter, as much as my ability allows. Our hours are long. Head cabin chefs and head kitchen staff clock in close to four each morning. All the other kitchen staff have to be in by five o’clock. We serve food until thirty minutes after play so many of us stay until seven or eight at night. That means, we head home, shower and “power nap” before returning. We had a special dinner in our cabin on Saturday night, so I left around midnight. I slept from 1:00 until 3:30 and clocked back in at 4:15. I worked close to twenty hours both Saturday and Sunday.
I work from the Saturday before the tournament to the Sunday night of the last day. It takes me a few days to bounce back from the week. Ibuprofen is my friend and sleep is my weapon for recovery.
This year, my money is set aside to purchase a “big girl” camera. I even rented out our mother-in-law suite to four students and had a few people stay inside the house as well.
And it was a good year. Every year seems to get a little bit better. Each year we find new ways to make things run more smoothly. And Monday night, I slept ten hours – close to the number of hours of sleep that I got on Friday, Saturday and Sunday combined.
I don’t even know who won the tournament this year, but I know that my kitchen was spotlessly clean when I left it, I know the menu for each of the cabins, how the food was presented and I know what we might be able to do next year to help things run just a bit more smoothly.
It was a good year. I’m almost recuperated and I am thankful to have spent another year working beside some amazing people who help the Masters Tournament be all the grandeur that it is.