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Sunday, March 22, 2009

THE CIVIL WAR, DAIRY FARMS, FRIENDS & FISHING

     I recently experienced my fortieth birthday almost undetected, but thanks to my sisters (older), I was greeted by the typical bouquet of black balloons in Jackson while making a delivery at the shop.  The word then spread to Dyersburg where I was also later greeted by black balloons. So I drove to the house with a Tahoe full of balloons looking like I was making a delivery for a florist.  P.S. when I die save the flowers for a young couple in love, send me balloons.  It will cheer everybody up.

      I've never made much of a fuss about birthdays but I've always heard this is the point in my life where I am suppose to have a nervous break down, buy a sports car, and consider a career change.  I opted for a little yard work, a couple of games on the Wii, and going to bed by 10:30.   However, the day did manage to set up a good weekend of reconnecting with old friends.
        Saturday morning started with a vanilla latte and a cinnamon raisin bagel from Java Cafe before rolling down Hwy 412 to Ja Ja's for the Civil War reenactment.  I was to meet Adam, Jason, and Damon later in the day for a fishing trip on the family farm.  I arrived at Ja Ja's to find a young man in his 70's conducting a book signing about his life on a dairy farm.   After an hour of chatting with this dear soul I started getting a little nostalgic.  

       Most of the ideas and elements that makeup Green Frog Coffee Co. are the byproducts of my childhood farm experiences:  Good Southern Food.   Hard Work.  Fairness.  Handmade.  Homemade.   Timex (my father James) believed in building it before you buy it and finding a way to make it work.  Joan of Arc (my mother Beverly) believed in stretching a dollar and homemade is better than store bought.   These two influences in my life ultimately taught me to appreciate the pioneer spirit of southern living.  The honor of growing up on a West Tennessee farm taught me the value of an investment of time and energy to see a harvest.   Did I ever imagine I would own a chain of coffee shops while standing in manure?  No.  I thought I would be a truck driver.

       It is often small events in our life that change the course of history.   Talking to the soldiers at the reenactment I discovered the battle of Shiloh was lost because of a little rain and not enough food.  I'll be the first to admit these two things will ruin any camping trip.  Study history for any length of time and you will discover that our story is full of quirks, mishaps, and irony.   The Bible is the same way.   I can appreciate the prophets often reaching the conclusion that they didn't understand what was going on, they just trusted God.   We have very little control and I think that God meant that as a good thing.  I have a very firm understanding of the river of fate that runs through my life.. and I can't wait to it reaches an ocean.

      I grabbed a roast beef and swiss sandwich with a sweet tea for lunch at Green Frog in Jackson and read a little of my new dairy farm book purchase.   I was memorized by the photos of children now deceased and gently reminded that we are stewards of the gift of life and our time is limited.    I keep a handful of photos of my young self in my office holding fish I have caught at different times.  Fishing seems to be something that connects all phases of my life and would again later in the day.

     I stopped by Timex and Joan of Arc's house to find my mother watching Tiger basketball. She's a devoted fan, a radical.   She never attends games but rather sets in her comfy chair by the wood stove and critiques all the calls from the referees.  She is fully capable of coaching the team if the need for a temporary ever arises.

     A few hours later me and the guys were off to the lake where we successfully fished, cooked, and reminisced.    It was like a sabbatical for me, very refreshing, enjoyable, and spiritual.   I did indeed hook a eight pound bass for a photo but unfortunately I did it while standing on the levee.  In the process of reaching down to grab it, my lure was rejected and he swam off.   I immediately began to threaten him with the lives of his grandchildren that I had on a stringer.   He refused to return.  He knew I was bluffing.  Later we discussed the South Side curse- if you went to South Side and led South Side Young Life club you will be single the rest of your life.  All four of us are still single.  I predict the curse will be broken.  I think it should be me who breaks it.  I 've been waiting the longest.

    Afterwords we returned to Green Frog in Jackson smelling like a campfire and little like fish. There I ran into many old dear friends from the Young Life family.   Their problems once revolved around a date for prom and being poplar.  Now their problems revolve around how to love their husband/wife more deeply, how to provide all the elements of life their children need, and how to hear where God is calling them next.   I am blessed to know these people, to know their common struggles, and to know we share a common faith.

     The day began with a vanilla latte and it ended with a vanilla latte.   I woke up alone in a house a hundred years old and ended the day surrounded by friends in a coffee shop in its infancy.  Some things change and some things never do... thankfully, and thankfully.

     To every customer- thank you for your faithful support, your encouragement, and your presence.  It is my privilege and blessing to be a small part of your day and your life.  

Timm "Hammer" Jonson





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