We’re on vacation for Thanksgiving in Colonial Williamsburg.

There are lots of people who are making our holiday a wonderful experience. So many that I probably won’t remember them all. There are many others hard at work here whose job is to remain, as much as possible, out of sight. But here is a short list:

  • Restaurant waitstaff at 3 different eateries, also the cooks and other support staff we didn’t meet
  • Hotel room service and maintenance staff
  • Concierge personnel who helped us with event planning for our stay
  • Historical reenactors and craftspersons

These people and many others smiled and greeted us, taught us, fed us, and made our time here a pleasure, a much-needed break from our work and routine back home. And they are doing it during a time they would probably rather be at home with their own families, taking it easy or going on a vacation themselves.

Which makes it all the more extraordinary and generous — yes, generous, even though we are paying them. We know not all the smiles are “authentic”, that the reenactors are, in truth, acting. They are acting because they are professionals, doing what’s required to make a positive difference for the people they are serving. Today, that’s me and my family.

Of course, it’s not just these people on this day whose generosity and work make my life better. There is a whole fabric of community infrastructure that makes my day-to-day existence possible, most of which and most of the time I simply take for granted.

So, I’m thankful today. For their service that is making my life better, and for their example.

When I get back home, back to my work and routine, I hope that I can be as professional about doing what I do to make the lives of the people I serve better. Even when — especially when — I don’t really feel like it and would rather be somewhere else. I hope that I can smile and that what I do will help make those I serve feel welcome and cared for, and that when it’s my turn to be of service, their lives will be better, too.

Happy Thanksgiving.