December 5th, 2009

My mother always likes to talk about bad years. She’ll say that she can’t wait for a year to end, feeling like all the bad things belong to a calendar year, and will pass when that year does. In the past, this has seemed silly to me. To think that crossing an invisible line into a new year will make you safe from all that was bad just the day before is precisely the kind of delusion I love to make fun of her for. This year, though, was a doozy, as they say, and, so close to it’s end, I have to admit that I’m crossing my fingers, holding my breath and waiting for January 1st. Maybe some of you are, too. It’s been a rough year.

Still, in the hardest times, people laugh. At least sometimes. There are always some little things that keep people moving, and keep moving people. In the last days of a tumultuous year, here are some of the things that have kept us energized at this hotel, and that will give us our first energy in not just a new year, but in a new decade:

  • My mother came out well from sickness and an operation.
  • The graduation of my daughter.
  • My whole family is healthy and has work and friendship.
  • I am with my family.
  • Sammy went back to working in the kitchen. (Not written by Sammy!)
  • My last kid graduated college: 3 kids, 3 diplomas, no debt!
  • I am finally ready to transfer out of Foothill! (A local junior college)
  • The good health of my father, family and friends.
  • Barack Obama became POTUS.
  • I started college again after dropping out in 2007.
  • I’m alive and the happiest I’ve ever been!
  • Mexico will go to the 2010 Mundial.
  • God has given me health, work and love and my children are with me.
  • I have learned a little more English.
  • My son started at UC Santa Cruz and is loving it.
  • BB King’s road manager stepped off the tour bus and challenged Pinsel (the front desk manager) to a dice game.
  • The “I hate Pinsel” club was founded on facebook. (That got 2 mentions)
  • Two words: Italy (sic)
  • We all are healthy and everything is good.
  • I have to step back in here, now, and tell you all about how I collected these. Last week we had our annual holiday party and little strips of paper were handed out to all the employees asking the question: What is the best thing that happened in 2009? What you’ve just read are less than half of the responses; all the rest said that the most important thing about this year was that they were able to keep their jobs.

    I want to talk a little bit, then, about our general manager and about you, our guests. To confess that business has been rough for us this year won’t be a big revelation. Very few businesses passed easily through this year and we were not one of those lucky few. But our captain kept us together. She kept every one of us employed. Every one of us still has health care. Every one of us is still able to be well in the world because she treated us like the family we are and would not let go of any one of us. But she couldn’t have done all this without you, without your loyalty. We are coming through this year because, and only because, we have created a community, a real interdependent web of lives. Thank you for weaving yourselves in with us. We look forward to seeing you in the new year.