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Innkeeper Poem

“Innkeeper”
by
Brooks Bradbury
Read and Presented at The Innkeeping Show, Jan. 26, 2012

YOU CHECK LEGIONS IN
CHECK LEGIONS OUT
YOU’RE PLEASANT EVERY DAY, NO DOUBT
YOU SERVE CANAPÉS
FRUIT AND CHEESE
WORK ENDLESS DAYS
YOU AIM TO PLEASE

YOU’RE CALLED OUT ON TRIP ADVISOR
AND NEVER KNOW WHAT THEY’LL SAY
GOOD REVIEWS MAKE YOU SEEM WISER,
THE BAD GIVE YOU HELL TO PAY

IT SURE BEATS LIFE IN A CUBBY
OR A TEDIOUS NINE TO FIVE DRAG
WITH MORE WEEKENDS OFF
YOU’D BE EVEN MORE CHUBBY
PROBABLY HALF IN THE BAG

ALL OF OUR GUESTS BRING JOY
TO THE HEART–OH I’M SURE–
MOST ALL AT ARRIVAL
BUT SOME AT DEPARTURE

WE’VE GOT PLENTY OF SECRETS
TO GET OFF OF OUR CHESTS
EVER GRACIOUS UNDER STRESS
WE APPRECIATE RETURNING GUESTS

WE’VE GOT HOLES IN OUR TAPE CHARTS
WE’RE DESPERATE TO FILL
THIS AIN’T FOR THE FAINT-HEARTS
NOR THE OVER-THE-HILL

WE CARRY THEIR BAGS AND SHOW THE WAY
POUR THE COFFEE AND SCRUB THE LOO
WELCOME STRANGERS, THE OCCASIONAL STRAY
WE OFFER ADVICE RECEIVE OUR SHARE TOO

YES, WE’VE SEEN OUR GUESTS NAKED,
AND WITHOUT INHABITIONS
WHEN THEY LOCK THEMSELVES OUT
IN AWKWARD POSITIONS

WE ARE IN TUNE WITH OUR GREASE-TRAP
BRAVE THE OCCASIONAL MOUSE
WE APPLAUD OUR SEPTIC–NO NEED TO CLAP
WE PRAY FOR IT WHEN GUESTS ARE IN-HOUSE

SO WE CLEAN UP SPILLS
PAY HEAVENLY BILLS
FLASH MILES OF SMILES
VACUUM HAIRS OFF TILES

SILENCE THE BEDSPRINGS
BUILD WALLS AGAINST SNORES
RETURN LOST & FOUND THINGS
SETTLE CHECK-OUT TIME WARS

WE POINT TOILET PAPERS
FOR NO CLEAR-CUT REASON
IS IT DIAMOND-STAR ENVY?
OR ARE WE OVER-REACHING?

WE SPRAY LYSOL ON VAPORS
PUT CHOCOLATES ON NIGHTSTANDS
GIVE OUT FREE MORNING PAPERS
PERFORM ABNORMAL HEADSTANDS

WE SPEND LONG HOURS AT LABOR
WITH NO HESITATIONS…
BUT AS WE ACTUALLY LIVE WITH OUR CUSTOMERS
WE DO HAVE A FEW RESERVATIONS

PERPETUALLY IN NEED
OF A LONGER VACATION
WE ARE THE FAITHFUL
OF THE INNKEEPER NATION

WE’RE GIVEN ONE CHANCE
TO MAKE FIRST IMPRESSIONS
WE LOOK ASKANCE
AT INDISCRETIONS
BECOMING AN INNKEEPER
MEANS WE’RE IN EVEN DEEPER
AND WE FLY BY THE SEAT OF OUR PANTS

IT’S OUR GUESTS THOUGH WE TREASURE
AS FRAGILE AND RARE
OF COURSE! IT’S MY PLEASURE!
YES–I’LL BE RIGHT THERE!

IT’S UP-CLOSE AND PERSONAL
WITH SYBIL-LIKE ROLES
SOMETIMES WE COULD BITE OFF SOME HEADS
JUST TO SPIT IN THE HOLES!

BUT WE SMILE THROUGH OUR ANGER
RESISTING THE URGE
WHEN WE’RE OVER-THE-EDGE
AND OUT ON THE VERGE

THIS IS OUR CALLING
WE ARE DESTINED TO SERVE
WE’VE GOT THE MANNERS,
THE BRASS AND THE NERVE

GUESTS RETURN JOY
AND LOVE YOU IN TURN
RESPONDING TO KINDNESS
WITH LOYALTY THAT YOU EARN

BUT SNOOZING AWAY
IN THOSE EARLY MORN HOURS
WHEN WE AWAKEN FROM DREAMS
OF FRETTE AND FLOWERS
REMEMBER THERE’S ONLY ONE
CHOICE WE NEED MAKE

IT’S NOT WHAT ROOM TO CLEAN FIRST
OR WHICH MUFFIN TO BAKE
NOT WHETHER QUICHE OR FRITTATA
OR THE GLUTEN-FREE CAKE
OR WHICH POTPOURRI
YOU’VE DECIDED TO USE
OR IF YOU NEED PADDED HANGERS
OR JUST PADDED ROOMS

BUT THE HEART OF THE MATTER,
THE REAL CRUX OF THE THING
IS WHEN YOU WAKE UP
TO AN ALARM BELL’S RING

A MOMENT OF TRUTH ARRIVES
EACH DAY IN YOUR LIFE
A DECISION YOU MAKE
THAT CUTS LIKE A KNIFE

YOUR ONLY CHOICE
IS THIS ONE, TO GET BY:
ARE YOU GOING TO LIVE?
OR ARE YOU GOING TO DIE?

IF YOU’VE DECIDED TO DIE,
PLEASE — FALL DOWN QUICKLY
AND SPARE ALL THE OTHERS
FROM THE NEGATIVE AND PRICK-LY

BUT IF YOU’VE DECIDE TO LIVE:
THEN BY ALL MEANS FLOURISH!
GROW JOY IN YOUR SOUL
LOVE AND BE NOURISHED

IN THE FINAL ANALYSIS,
IT’S THE GIFTS THAT WE GIVE
THE TIME THAT WE SHARE
THE WAY THAT WE LIVE
THE GIVING BACK
THE BEING THERE
IT’S THE FRIENDS WE MAKE
FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE

THE TIME GETS SHORTER
NUMBERED DAYS WHIZ BY
PLENTY OF WORRIES
TO STOP AND ASK WHY

IT’S AN INNKEEPER’S LIFE
OUR LIVING TO GIVE
SHALL WE SHRIVEL AND DIE?
OR, TURN-ON AND LIVE?

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