The Green Frog Blog!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Porch

Some of you may have heard about the shooting in Dyersburg a few weeks ago involving Todd and Susan Randolph and a precious girl they allowed to stay in their home for a few days while police investigated charges against her father. In a tragic series of events, the father went to the Randolph's home and shot and killed Todd and the girl (his own daughter). He also severely wounded Susan before leaving and killing himself in a nearby field. The story is beyond sad.

This past Sunday, Susan, now healing, came by Java Cafe along with a few members of her family. Honestly I didn't realize it was her until she approached the counter and said, "Hi I'm Susan Randolph." She proceeded to tell me that Todd and her, along with their five year old son, had spent an afternoon at Ja Ja's before the shooting. With tears in her eyes she continued to tell me how special that time was and, now, will always be. One of her last memories of Todd is of him holding her son's hand and coming around the back side of the porch after leading him around Green Frog Village. She simply said she wanted to thank me for that memory. I was speechless.

Yesterday we had a manager's meeting at my home here in Dyersburg and I asked my managers to share their high points of the last month. The manager's position is quite challenging and often involves hard conversations with employees, tedious details, long hours, and the wisdom of Solomon and the patience of Paul. I listened to them celebrate small but wonderful things like transformations in employees, supply sources working out, and new additions to the team. I then proceeded to tell them about Susan's visit and her experience at Ja Ja's. It took me awhile because I cried trying to tell it. I finished by reminding them to take time to look around the store when things feel a little crazy because there are often beautiful things happening in the middle of chaos. Watching a kid passionately tackle an ice cream cone or a couple have a conversation over a cup of coffee is worth taking note of. My dream has always been we would become an oasis from the harsh realities a life, a place to unwind, a place to think, and place to recharge.

I still remember last July when I bought Ja Ja's and the Green Frog Coffee Co. adventure began. I spent a lot of time on that porch thinking about my own future. The following fall I cooked quite a few pots of chili and stew out on that little porch. Payroll was small back then and so where my worries.

Although we still stir our stew and chili with a boat paddle, we now stir them in a commercial kitchen. We are growing but clinging to our roots. I've never thought about it before but one reason I love our menu so much is the recipes preserve a part of my own personal past. As much as I change, our food keeps me connected to my childhood. When I have a bowl of chili I think back to Saturday evenings watching Hee Haw after a long fall day of cutting firewood. When I have a bowl of stew I think back to cold, snowy days and wet clothes. Those were simple times,but good times.

I've thought a lot about the nightmare of events that happened to Susan's family and what she said to me about helping her preserve a part of her past. I used to believe Green Frog's success would be measured in dollars but now after talking to Susan I'd say she has reminded me my dreams have already come true.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I will pray for her.

September 3, 2009 at 2:25 PM  

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