Sunbeam Steward Jillian – The Value of Eating with Neighbors at a Big Table

Sunbeam Steward Jillian – The Value of Eating with Neighbors at a Big Table

Jillian (Photo courtesy Eva Murray/Pen Bay Pilot)

Pen Bay Pilot
Without an Agenda: Talking with the Crew of the ‘Sunbeam’ Pt 2
By Eva Murray – Tuesday, April 2, 2019

…Sunbeam steward Jillian…. [H]er domain is the galley, from where she feeds crew and visitors alike. Sometimes islanders are invited aboard for supper, but all through the day working islanders stop in for coffee break and to raid the famous cookie jar.

You don’t have to have an identified need to come aboard and be helped to feel good, and that’s largely the responsibility of the cook. The sense of community helped along by a good meal is not lost on Jillian….

“Seven years ago we started our regular community supper in Cherryfield, and for seven years every Sunday we’ve served a free meal. I just learned the value of just sitting with your neighbor and eating at a big table. People love to come together. Providing a meal for people is an honor and I love the simplicity of it.”

I said to Jillian, “Your role and the role of every steward before you has been larger than your bosses may know. You’re not just here to support the crew, but you’re here to support us all in an abstract sense. You provide the service that is the hardest to measure.”

She replied, with a grin “Not really—you cut a pie into eight pieces!”

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Without an Agenda: Talking with the Crew of the ‘Sunbeam’ – Part 2

Without an Agenda: Talking with the Crew of the ‘Sunbeam’ – Part 2

Mission Island Health Director Sharon Daley, RN. (Photo courtesy Eva Murray)

Pen Bay Pilot
Without an Agenda: talking with the crew of the ‘Sunbeam’ – Part 2
By Eva Murray – Posted:  Tuesday, April 2, 2019 – 1:45pm

I brought up how March on an island has classically been considered the hardest time, and asked, “Do you see a seasonal impact on people in terms of depression?”

Sharon’s reply was particularly interesting to me, and it defied the stereotype of the “long lonely winter.”

“I see August as also being hard for people on all the islands.” (Hearing these words from her made me smile, as I personally feel the stress of the intensely busy summer much more acutely than any stress from a low population, even though that issue gets little media attention in Maine). “The population on every island doubles (or more,) and everybody’s working really hard, and having so many people around always needing a lot of things can be really hard. By August, people are ready for it to be quieter.”

I could have hugged her. We hear a lot about the impacts on mood and mental health of isolation and long winters, but less about the sense of being overwhelmed, overworked, or “always on call” during a Maine coast summer.

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