Sunday, July 11, 2010

Bernie and Bruce

Bernie runs a bed and breakfast, and she donates her time at the chapel each summer preparing meals for the summer camps for the kids.

Bruce is the retired fellow at the chapel in charge of maintaining the day-to-day provisions: coffee, cups, sugar, bathrooms supplies, etc.

Being the chapel treasurer, I collect their receipts and then reimburse them.

The two of them are marvelous case studies in the communication styles of men and women.

When Bernie brings me her receipts, she gets a twinkle in her eye as she tells me about how she went to her suppliers and told them she was buying supplies for summer camps at church, only to have he people donate food or let her get it at cost.

She tells me all the details of what a great deal she got on the fresh strawberries and the luscious blueberries; the marvelous croissant rolls; the bulk-rate hot dogs.

She educates me on how little boys can eat an amazing amount of food, while a larger group of girls eats less.

I get to hear stories about how the shy kid gives her a big hug at the end of camp to express his thanks for all the superb food; each year I hear about the complete lack of leftovers.

I receive lessons in how to pack a refrigerator and freezer full of a week's worth of food for 50 kids.

It's an entertaining, enjoyable learning experience for me.

When Bruce brings me his receipts, he slaps the paperwork down on the table in front of me while I'm sipping coffee after Mass.

"Expenses?" I ask.

"Yep," he says. And then he walks away.

It's an efficient exchange, filled with camaraderie and good cheer.

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