Saturday, November 10, 2018

Navigating Apple Pie and Invisible Service

The ability to remain invisible is crucial.  - Garrison Keillor

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  I think it comes from pleasant childhood memories, where it was just all about the fun of family and friends being together and not too much else. There wasn't a lot of pressure like there was at Christmas - to have to think about what to buy for other people - or worse, the edict whereby you must tell others what to buy for you, so they don't waste their time getting the wrong stuff.

There was a full day of cooking and baking, and all the running around of finding this and that, of endless cleaning up over and again, of making sure brothers and cousins and aunts and such were all happy and cared for; basically, a great opportunity of finding something to do in whatever way those running the kitchen could find for you to be useful, to be appreciated... to be a part of it all from both within and behind the scenes. And that was the best part of it, really. Not the turkey, not the potatoes and rich deep gravy, and not even the home made apple pie to navigate through after too many slices of everything else. 


I was searching images trying to find the perfect Thanksgiving pic for the home page, which, for my interests, anyway, would not be the same old traditional photos of all those perfectly glazed turkeys spread among the white tablecloths and Puiforcat dinnerware and Tiffany glasses and whatnot, yet what is more the best part of the Thanksgiving experience  - that of service to others, from both within and behind the scenes.

And I suddenly remembered why not many of those images really exist - and it's because of our ability to remain invisible, crucial at all times, is what sets us apart from other service providers. The ability to allow the service to be focused on the service recipients and not the service providers.

I was reminded of this when I spotted a pic or our city's finest standing atop a roof while a superhero floated by last year, a great example of the enormous amount of work that goes on behind the scenes so that those service recipients - the public who so much enjoys our annual Thanksgiving Day parade - may simply enjoy the annual parade with no worrisome thoughts of distractions. This is not unlike that goal we provide within our own ranks, in our own work environments and even within our own family celebrations, and from our own finest.


One of my favorite writings on the topic of good service comes from Gourmet magazine of some years ago, a beautiful story by Garrison Keillor, "And God Created Waiters," about the longing for the opportunity of being a good service provider, the longing for placing the happiness of others ahead of the spotlight of oneself, and the longing for the feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment at having succeeded. To be useful, to be appreciated. To be a part of it all from both within and behind the scenes.

I welcome all readership to revisit the article here.

And I wish for each and every one of you the best of the best, in health, happiness, friendships, family... and in recognizing your gratitude both this season and throughout the year, for the opportunity of providing service to others.


  1. Great insight, Jim! The concept of invisible service is an ever-present part of this work! And the picture captures that perfectly. Anyone can serve, but that longing for good service that you referenced, that's something that rings true in all those who have a true service heart! Happy Thanksgiving!

    1. Thank you kindly, Jamieson, for your nice comments. Best wishes to you and your loved ones throughout the season and in 2019. Jim.


Thank you for your feedback.