With Christmas almost upon us and tomorrow being the last day of school to exchange gifts before the holiday vacation, I was trying to think of something a little different to do for my boss, Martina, and co-worker, Bill, for Christmas. I’ve already bought a little something for each of them but it doesn’t seem like enough.

I came to my school in April of 2007. Martina had just been handed the proverbial “Golden Spatula” after the previous manager had left the position to move to California.  I understood that she was going to be a temporary manager until a permanent one could be found.  Guess what?  It’s three and a half years later and Martina has grown into a wonderful boss.  I’m so glad she decided to stay in the position!  If ever there was anyone with a heart of gold and the patience of a saint, it is Martina.  She listens, and always tries to be fair and do the right thing for her employees and our little “customers”, while still being true to her own boss’s desires.  That is not an easy task, let me tell you, but she does it with grace and patience and kindness.  Did I say patience again?  I, who have a hard time hearing sometimes, and find myself in the pantry with no idea of why I walked in there, and my affinity for structure and routine, am forever grateful for Martina’s patience with me and my eccentricities.

Bill….what can I say about Bill?  I adore him!  Bill came to work with us last January as a temporary and decided to stay on, just one year after having a heart attack and pneumonia which almost killed him.  He still carries his air tank on his back and must stop half-way through the day to get “tanked up” again with a spare, but it rarely slows him down.  The one thing about Bill that impresses me the most, is that he never complains about work and hardly ever complains about anything else either.  This man has another part-time job as a caterer in addition to this school job!  Bill does not feel entitled to any special treatment or favors because of his “disability”, and I find this so refreshing.***Disclaimer: What I am referring to is the refreshing attitude of someone who does not complain about every little ache and pain in their body and just about everything else, every day. Anyone who has worked with someone like this knows how draining it can be to morale, and it spreads like a virus.***  He knows his limitations, and I can tell when he is tired because he gets a little grouchy : )….but that’s ok because so do I!  The point is we can help each other and still get the job done the way it is supposed to be done.  As far as I know, no one feels like they are carrying a bigger share of the load than they are supposed to.  We are working together like well-oiled wheels. Also, Bill’s sense of humor is starting to come out more and more and it is such a joy to see.  “Burritos, Bill!  Did you do the burritos?!!!”

Oh, and the Greek treats he brings to work are fabulous! I adore his wife for making them!

So…I just wanted to say thank you to Martina and Bill, the best people  anyone could ever work with, and hope that we have many more happy and productive days ahead as we try to feed these kids the best meals we can.  You two help make the challenge fun!

Merry Christmas!   Καλά Χριστούγεννα!   Feliz Navidad!

Update 6/20/2018:  My wonderful co-worker Bill, died in May of 2014.  He worked up until the first week of April.  We didn’t know until he died that he had cancer.  He was such a nice man dedicated to his work and I still miss him.  I have moved on to manage a school kitchen of my own.  Martina and I still see each other at the manager meetings.