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The Green Frog Blog!

Friday, September 25, 2009

THE BULL FROG, DOLLAR SUNDAY, & HAPPY HOUR!

I began an experiment about a year ago when Paola, a friend of mine from Italy, was living in Dyersburg. He introduced me to a variety of ways to drink just straight espresso. Drinking straight espresso was a challenge for a guy who grew up with a Grandmother who gave me half coffee, half cream, and half sugar. And I had my coffee with Jelly doughnuts.

I finally figured out if I took a full pump of chocolate, a couple pumps of flavored syrup, and a fresh shot of espresso, it created a sort of sipping chocolate with a kick. Just recently I put two scoops of vanilla ice cream in a ceramic cup and poured this over it, and knew I had a dessert that will change the world of dining.

We will start offering these fine desserts for dine in only in October. You can choose white or dark chocolate for your base; raspberry, peppermint, toffee nut, or coconut as your flavor mix; and then of course we will pull a fresh shot to set the mood for the magic. And remember, we make our own ice cream with the highest premium cream on the market. You're not going to believe it until you try it. And to keep it fun we are going to call it a Bull Frog- ice cream with a kick!

We are also featuring a new happy hour for the month of October from 7pm-8pm every night of the week (Ja Ja's will be 3-4pm). You get to upsize for free! A large is medium price and a medium is small price. It includes all drinks! This is our way of saying thank you for being a loyal customer and an important part of the growing community of Green Frog Coffee Company.

I almost forgot to tell you the best news of all... $1 Scoops of ice cream on Sundays for the whole month of October! (cup only, 1 scoop per person, add cone for $.50, additional scoops $1.5O, not valid with any other coupon)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

TWEET TWEET TAYLOR

It is a been a day that started with me twittering, "Fell asleep in crumbs. My dreams were delicious!" I had a midnight snack of strawberry Pop Tarts while texting a good friend of mine. I just found twitter and have enjoyed learning to tweet. I just tweeted, "I love fried chicken and hot chocolate chip cookies." Isn't it strange that we would share something so intimate with the world.

I've tried to remain faithful to my commitment to transparency on this blog so don't be surprised when I tell you I threw a mop fifty feet onto a four lane highway last night and almost ripped my shirt in half as I struck a pose like a ticked off Incredible Hulk. I was closing last night and for some reason beyond reason our new cleaning service left us a mop with a six foot handle, which of course is the reason I knocked a bottle of vanilla syrup off the shelf. For the next thirty minutes, I was on my knees trying to clean up a quart of sticky syrup without cutting myself on the glass. By the time I got through I was about as mad as a bee trying to fly through a piece of glass, the only thing I could think of was trying to throw the mop across the highway to Lowe's. I was stressed.

When I get stressed, I listen to Taylor Swift, she's my therapy (a blog will follow soon explaining). So I went home last night and played a little Swift and tried to do some writing to no avail which is why I ended up lying in bed eating Pop Tarts. I woke up this morning just ready to move through a normal day and not break, or throw, anything. Stress robs us of the ordinary, everyday beauty of things.

So today, with a goal of remaining calm, I've been playing catch up and was just sitting here, drinking a Dirty Snowman, writing, when a friend who is a pastor approached me and said, "I've been busy since I read your book." He proceeded to tell me how he was leading his church toward embracing people rather than ejecting people, not that we would ever actually tell anyone to leave, but choosing not to actively love someone is the same thing. Our conversation led us to a discussion about the woman anointing the feet of Jesus. The part where He says the one who is forgiven much, loves much.

Of course I didn't let on that I've been practicing for mop throwing in the Olympics while he has been out defending the wounded. To be honest I felt sick, literally, about how easily I get distracted by small, insignficant events. I've challenged people to make the world a better place, but I'm busy beating my steering wheel because I keep getting voicemail when I'm trying to call a vendor.

So what have I learned today? I've learned that eating in bed leaves crumbs (tasty too). I've learned that I have a tendency to act like a fool and justify it with laughter. I've learned that our lives, like a wave, set things in motion, and this is something to remember when we are acting like a fool. And I've learned that if we are busy loving others we'll probably never notice the mop handles. The reason I go crazy sometimes is because I'm not doing enough of what makes me happy. As I grow Green Frog Coffee I need to keep this in mind. If a cow eats a lot of weeds his milk will taste like onions.

Love the rejects. Stop acting like a fool (Timm) and get on with it. Be real. Schedule love if you have to. Invest in others, its the only thing you've ever done that matters.

P.S. Follow me on twitter "timmhammer"

Saturday, September 19, 2009

THE GIFT OF GRANDPARENTS

This past week I observed several precious moments of grandparents and grandchildren in our coffee shops. I just wanted to share a chapter out of my new book the Chicken Whisperer as an encouragement for all these wonderful older people to keep making this investment of time.

FRANKIE & FLOSSIE

Most people do not recognize the name Larry Walters. And even fewer people witnessed the event that made him famous. On July 2, 1982 he took forty-five weather balloons; filled them with helium; tied them to a lawn chair; and with a pellet gun in his hand, soared three miles up into history as an American adventurer. After about forty-five minutes he descended safely into power lines causing a temporary blackout in Long Beach. When asked by a reporter why he did it, he replied, “A man can’t just sit around.”

Larry Walters reminds me of my grandfather, a man who didn’t believe in sitting around but believed in making sure everyone else did. My grandfather repaired lawn chairs.

Frank Silkwood’s typical day started with an electric razor shave, a little splash of Old Spice, and buttered toast with jelly. From there, he walked out to his leaning garage; picked out a few aluminum lawn chairs in need of repair; gathered up a few rolls of nylon ribbon; and, under a canopy of plastic flowers, he mended the broken.

Why he collected plastic flowers I’m not sure. It looked like he had robbed a graveyard, but more than likely he was saving the ones that had been discarded. I guess I should have wondered more about where he got all those broken lawn chairs. Maybe he had a secret wrestling fetish?

Going to visit my grandparents in Illinois was the equivalent of the Pilgrim’s Mayflower voyage. My parents believed the eleventh commandment was “Thou shalt not break the speed limit.” The speed limit was 30, 45, and 55mph in the early seventies. I could have ridden my bike faster. I think we left the day after Thanksgiving to arrive on Christmas. My mother packed fresh fruit to fend off scurvy. But the voyage was worth it.

Frank and Flossie’s hearts were softened on the hard anvil of mental illness. Two of their children were diagnosed with schizophrenia. Their relentless love for these children took them on a journey that transformed them into powerful loving people. Not until I was much older did I discover that my uncle Kyle’s disease was often a public affair. He once ran nude through the local cemetery with a butcher knife claiming God had called him to castrate himself. Never once did I detect regret or anger in my loving grandparents about having adult children who in a way never grew up. Actually, their love and treatment of Kyle allowed him to become a talented storyteller medicated with sweet tea and cigarettes. He entertained me for hours with tales about the world, interrupted only by smoke rings.

While I was visiting, Frank would fiddle with a few chairs and then peek into the kitchen to tell Flossie he was taking the “Grands” to get some candy. She would respond by saying, “It’s awfully close to lunch time” or “You’re going to rot their teeth out.” By the time she got the words out of her mouth we were already a block away.

He took us a short distance to a little grocery store called Spontak’s where the best selling items were loaf bologna, cartons of cigarettes, and nickel candy. I didn’t smoke and ate more bologna than a kid in the great depression so I gravitated toward the candy. With a quarter Frank gave me, I tapped on the thick glass case to indicate my choices. Usually I got a handful of Sixlets, a few Now & Laters, a couple of Laffy Taffy, and a Chick-A-Stick. I felt like my transaction was the most important event that would ever take place in my lifetime, kind of like buying a house. The neat thing was Mr. Spontak acted the same way.

On the way back we usually took a different route home and crossed a few bridges where we ran from trolls and the Loch Ness monster. Skipping, we made a few wishes, threw a few rocks, and ate all our candy. Our time was always wrapped in laughter.

Another great thing about visiting Frank was late at night when Flossie turned in he would take us to the kitchen, pull out a loaf of bread, and make us all buttered toast and jelly. Before we destroyed the evidence, a disappointed Flossie would appear in a pink housecoat and say, “Frank you’re going to spoil these kids.” Frank would say, “That’s the plan.”

I still remember hearing Frank was sick. A few weeks later, we got into the van and headed north for his funeral. I was only six. I knew my colors, my numbers, and my alphabet, but I remember being scared, scared of what I didn’t know. Death was something that happened to flowers, mosquitoes and fish. It never really occurred to me that it would happen to all of us.

I remember walking into the funeral home and seeing a bunch of dressed up people, half smiling, half crying, reminiscing and struggling to accept there would be no new stories. It felt like a birthday party with bad cake. Frank was lying in a casket with his arms folded across his chest, his face turned toward Heaven. He was cradled in gray silk against a background of pink roses. I was too scared, but I wanted to touch him as I thought back to the garage where he mended chairs under a canopy of flowers, to the bridge where he made me laugh, and to the kitchen were he spoiled me. I cried not only because I lost somebody I loved, but even more because I lost somebody who loved me.

He was born before the airplane but lived to see Neil Armstrong walk on the moon. He was born before the Model-T Ford but lived long enough to own a Lincoln Continental. He weathered the great depression and two world wars. He survived the Orient No. 2 coalmine disaster and the Tri-state tornado of 1925. He appears to have been here at a great period in history, yet he made me feel like I was the only thing he was ever really waiting for.

During these seven years of my life this seventy year old man taught me hundreds of things about being a kid, and one important thing about childhood: when we lose someone we love, we cry; and when we lose someone who loves us, we learn to weep.

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