The Hideaway may not have an “Employee of the Month” award, but if it did, I would be nominating Tom Putt for the award right now. Why? Well, I’ve been around a while (over half-century counts as “a while” doesn’t it?), and moments like yesterday have become rare indeed. I believe they used to be more common, but these days? Not so much.
It was shortly after my last lesson of the day on Friday, November 7. I had finished grooming the courts and heading into the cart barn to empty the coolers and return the golf cart to the barn. As soon as I entered the barn, the aroma of burning wood, the sort of aroma you might find lurking beneath a delectable piece of meat cooked on a wood stove, greeted me.
Well, I meandered out back, between patio dining and the administrative office, to dispose of the ice in the cooler, and I encountered the source of that tantalizing aroma: it was Tom Putt, standing in the mid afternoon heat, fanning the flames of a wood fire he bad built and nurtured.
I asked him what he was doing, and he patiently explained to me that this was the way to prepare the wood for cooking so that it produced the best taste for our diners. He explained, “I could use lighter fuel to stoke the flames, but then that taste would be in the food. We wouldn’t want that!” And there he was, fanning the entire time, making my arm tired, with a smile on his face as he fanned and explained.
That alone was plenty good enough for me to nominate Tom for “Employee of the Month,” but that wasn’t all. As I stood there listening to Tom explain his labor of love, Paula, our accountant, walked out of the admin office, and gently informed Tom that the smoke from his efforts was infiltrating her office. Often in situations like that, “the accused” makes excuses, becomes defensive, and nobody is happy.
This was not the case with Tom. He cheerfully offered to move the operation so that Paula would be spared further discomfort. She advised him that that wasn’t necessary, but wanted to let him know how she was impacted. Tom, again, graciously responded that in the future, he would prepare the wood for cooking elsewhere.
And there you have it: Painstakingly building a wood fire in the mid-afternoon heat with a smile on his face, patiently explaining the process to me, and gallantly offering to move his operation to make Paula more comfortable. I guess to some, that may be no big deal, but to me, in this day and age, Tom’s attitude and approach to his work and to others in his work environment warrants commendation. Thanks Tom! Game, set, Match...T. A.