Easter (is it?)

I had completely forgotten that it was Easter week. After all, every day is the same, the kids stopped going to school what seems like ages ago and this was never the most exciting holiday. Really apart from chocolate there is not much more to it…

What reminded me was Jacinda Ardern, the Prime Minister of New Zealand announcing that the Easter Bunny should be considered a ‘key worker’ along with the tooth fairy.

Last years Easter activities went as follows

  • Easter Egg Hunt – 2 children attended, neither spoke English.
  • Meet the Easter Bunny (a Receptionist dressed up) – nobody came at all came to that…
  • Easter basket making – 1 child
  • Hot cross bun delivery, we delivered to 88 rooms, accompanied by the Easter bunny. Only four doors were answered.

To put it plainly, there is very little interest in Easter, other than no going to school.

However while I was on the cruise ships, Easter was a whole different thing because of the Church services. There was little in our year more difficult that arranging church services and this was because of the lack of registered clergy. On a normal Sunday we would ask for a volunteer to lead the service and surprizingly this always worked, many weeks we had several to pick from.

Christmas and Easter were different though, our head office arranged to send somebody specifically to run the services. Trouble is, there are very few registered clergy free at these times as they all have their home churches to look after, so they people we were sent were frequently ‘challenging’ and fell into two distinct groups. A) people with a hopeless grasp on reality, unable to do anything for themselves, who couldn’t understand that they were not our top priority or B) people who retired many many years ago, who needed lots of adjustments to their cabins (one that sticks in my memory managed to loose both his hearing aid and false teeth).

We never had any idea what these people would require for their services, often neither did they, and you could guarantee that it would change several times in the run up to the big day. They would, inevitably, not like whichever venue we allocated for their services (too big, too small, too far away, too noisy) so we would move it for them and that wouldn’t be right either…

It wasn’t just Christmas and Easter we catered for but any religious holiday, often the Jewish holidays were equally popular although it was rare for us to be sent a Rabbi so we would be back to asking for volunteers for Rosh Hashanah, Passover and Hanukkah. Some of these require food and drink, which we were happy to arrange but often the other things asked for were totally unpredictable.

The one that sticks in my mind was one Hanukkah, we had a lady send a letter within moments of her boarding the ship asking to run the services along with her business card and letter of recommendation. To be honest, it had slipped my mind that it was Hanukkah so I was very happy to accept her request and phoned her to make arrangements.

The following day, another letter came from a different lady asking to run the services. I thanked her for her offer but explained we already had somebody. Then the letters came, so many letters. It seemed like her entire congregation were sailing and all wanted this lady instead. So then I suggested that perhaps they could work together. What I failed to realise is the history between these two went back years…

To say they didn’t get on was an understatement, each wanted ‘control’ of the services. They had their own program and their own supporters. Whoever arrived first each day, took ‘control’ and so every day the services were starting earlier and earlier so that when the other arrived, it would be too late for them to take over and the letters continued to arrive.

In the end the Customer Services Director had to call them both in and threaten to cancel the services if they couldn’t sort something out.

Perhaps I should be pleased that now, I only need to deliver hot cross buns to empty rooms.

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