We were meeting with a client who plans to build a new cafe' and as she talked about her "dream" I found myself finishing her sentences as she discussed her love for the restaurant business. Finally I said, I know, our family was in the business for 40 years.......and I miss it! The one statement she made is the one I could relate to and have relayed to others over and over again. It's the people that make it.....for us, it may have been our grill cook that worked for our family for nearly 25 years, or it could be that faithful customer, who after losing her husband, continued to come in every day for a bowl of soup.......who ultimately found her way to our family holiday dinners.
It is the people I miss the most-it is what made the service business enjoyable. I think back to several employees who worked for our family for 8, 12, 20 and 25 years! And I think about the volunteer firemen who always had breakfast at our place-and if they got a call, we'd put their food back in the warmer. Or, the guys who wouldn't wait for us to open on Saturday mornings and simply "let" themselves in, turn on the grill and get the coffee going. And I think about the farmers who would show up at 6:00 am, then at 10:00 am, then at 2:00 pm for coffee.
Our cafe' was the hub of our little farming community of 600. A lot of good times shared around a cup of coffee or bowl of soup........and some tough times too. We all long for a place "where everyone knows your name" and it just seems those places are getting harder to find.
I will admit, though, going out to lunch with a friend today, I could hardly finish my sandwich due to all the folks stopping by to chat. I guess I've got a little reminder of my past here in river city, good or bad.