For several summers I worked as a breakfast and lunch waitress at a fancy motor lodge in my home town. The crowd was mostly business men and women during the week and families on the weekend. During one of my first days on the job I was waiting on a group of business men. They were all well-dressed – suitcoats, ties, polished shoes. I was carrying a large tray carefully balanced with six filled juice glasses and most of the food order. By the time I got to the last two gentleman the tray was no longer carefully balanced. As I leaned over to set a glass of orange juice on the table, the remaining glass, this one filled with tomato juice, slid to the edge. I was helpless as the glass tipped over, tomato juice cascading down the neck and back of one of the men. I was so flustered I dropped the tray, scrambled eggs and sausage rolling everywhere. Needless to say it was a mess! To this day I don’t know why I wasn’t fired! I was so embarrassed I was ready to quit!
I remember the hostess taking over and offering dry cleaning services. Later, after I calmed down, she reminded me that mistakes happen and that I would get the hang of it eventually. That little bit of understanding stays with me today. I have always been a believer that we learn from our mistakes and I always tried to instill that in students as they tried out new reading and writing strategies. The learning is in the confusion.