April 20th, 2010

For the last three years, Alejandra has worked alongside her husband and her eldest son. She works in the kitchen, her husband, Sammy, is the bartender and her son, Sam Jr., is the bellman. Both preceded her here. In fact, she took over the job her husband had held for 20 years when he was made bartender. I’ve written to you already about both of the men. I asked all three of them what it’s like to work so closely with one’s immediate family. Husband and son both said it’s nice. No problem, said Sammy. A nice way to get to spend more time with my parents, said Sam Jr. Finally, from Alejandra, I got what I had, admittedly, been looking for! With a twinkle in her eye, she told me that she was shocked to find out how her husband had been preparing food for 20 years. Now it’s a regular battle, him teasing and cajoling her for taking too much time to do things, her incredulous at how lazy, sloppy and, well, man-ish he had been doing his kitchen work for all that time. Actually, she’s the only woman working now in this hotel’s kitchen. There was one before her for a short time, but our kitchen is typically for men only. Alejandra feels that she has the not-so-easy task, then, of forcing a woman’s touch into the operation. If the vegetables have been fresher, meaning cut less often, in the last few years, Alejandra had to fight someone to get them that way. In all likelihood, it was her husband, Mr. 20 years, she calls him, that she was up against. Go Alejandra, go!

And then I learned that Sam Jr., who talked to me about how nice it is to have this extra time with his parents, sometimes finds that his mother is grateful to have the time and space to tell him about some thing or another that she disapproves of. She feels bad, she says, again with that sly smile on her face, but there they are together for so many hours and sometimes, when it’s slow, she’ll take him into the kitchen and let him know what’s on her mind.

I feel, now, that I need to tell you that I was laughing the whole time Alejandra talked to me about these things. There was not a hint of malice in her voice, she did not mean to turn anyone against these guys. It just was, finally, the truth about what it’s like to work everyday with your immediate family. Thank you Alejandra!

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