My last position at TFL before I left to have my daughters was in the Group Sales department, where I was in charge of booking and overseeing the bus tours. Now, I’ve never been particularly drawn to a career in sales (I really can’t handle the rejection that comes along with it), but thankfully TFL sold itself. The most challenging part of my job was convincing groups that the off-season in Vermont is just as lovely a time to visit as other times of year, and yes of course the tulips will be in bloom by May 5. (Photo below: me, 9 months pregnant with twins, and the tour guide from Wenham COA.)
For my part, I had to swallow my stage fright and play host to the group, welcome them when they arrived, sometimes act as tour guide for the day, and introduce Elisabeth before she performed. Sometimes I messed with their heads a bit. I remember one time using a remote mike to project my voice into the bus without physically being there. I put on my best Austrian accent and pretended to be Maria speaking from the grave. They ate it up. I loved my seniors – they thought I was hilarious.
But that’s not the best story. This one is. To promote these tours, I would often travel to exhibit at the Senior Travel Planners Association expos around New England. On one particular occasion, I was stationed at our booth, handing out brochures and little nip bottles of Vermont Maple Syrup (the attendees LOVED it), and answering all sorts of questions, openly admitting to being an authentic member of the family, and listening to stories of past trips, concerts, etc. A women approached who was much younger than the rest of the crowd, and I figured she must work at a Council on Aging or something. She stood there for a moment studying the family photos, taking in the sign “Trapp Family Lodge” clearly trying to make a connection. Then it hit her and she held up her finger in recognition. “Fiddler on the Roof, right?” I blinked. “Close!” I said.
And just like that, I had my opening joke for introducing Elisabeth from that day forward. How could I have not loved that job? -- F.v.T.