A few weeks back, I forewarned of an upcoming, heart warming article.
(And of course, it has one of my daughters involved.)
Throughout my life, there have been people who because of some simple action, have left an indelible mark on my memory.
Here is one, such story…it occurred five years and one week ago…March 15, 2008.
Megan was coming up on her thirteenth birthday and if I recall, my wife and Jelly were going to be away at a volleyball tournament, (like she and Megan will be this weekend).
Daddy was going to be in charge of his baby girl’s birthday party….(How anyone thought they could trust me with that still remains a mystery to me)
We have an institution in Aiken that is called the Green Boundary Club, “GBC”.
Institution, I say, as it has been a big part of life in Aiken since 1956. We joined the GBC shortly after moving to town in 1999 and have celebrated many special events, including Holiday staff parties in that beautiful building. That being said, we only get to the club about a half dozen times/year and usually now for special evenings.
Last night, I posted an article about a funeral director who apparently failed to make use of coping mechanisms to deal with the stress of our work. For me, the GBC was/is one of the tools that I used to stay sane. Those close to me know that the term I have used to describe the club is that it is “my oasis”.
It is the place that I can go with family and/or friends to relax and enjoy a meal without being rushed and knowing that everything was likely to be just perfect. Many staff members have come and gone over the years and I always went out of my way to show my appreciation to those that “served” me and I would always share with them how important the club was to my sanity. Greg Mueller, the former Executive Chef, even named a dish for me…”Ray’s Calamari”. What a surprise it was to see it printed for the first time on the menu!
So, with that foundation being laid, let us return to the story….
So what does a soon to be thirteen year old want to do for her birthday? “Daddy, can I take one of my friends with you to dinner at the Green Boundary?”
Is The Pope Catholic? You Betcha we can. Beats ice skating or the movies any day.
So I call the club and advised of our plans and as luck would have it, the library was open, so we were even going to have our own, private dining room on a Saturday evening; this was going to be great.
Well, (did I say lucky?)…that afternoon severe weather descended upon the area and one of the results was a big tree taking down some power lines near the GBC. (It is amazing what you can find records of on the internet)
The club was closed because it was without power.
Then I received a telephone call from the cell phone of Chef Mueller, who I already liked as he was an outstanding, award winning young chef, a very personal guy and a former life guard from “down the shore”.
Greg was calling to let me know the club was closed because of the storm, but that he had already prepped the food for the evening and that probably the girls were going to be ordering simple dishes and that since it was Megan’s birthday, could he come to our house and prepare dinner for us?
Who was I to argue?
Greg drove to our house, cooked, served and cleaned up after himself….
Daddy was a hero in his daughter’s eyes and I was happy to share some of that glory with Greg.
His name was instantly added to the list of people I would be willing to take a bullet for. I don’t remember how much, but I gave him “an honorarium”, honoring his service, but whatever it was, it was not enough, as I was still shocked by his offer.
When I learned about two years ago that Greg was leaving the club to become the Executive Chef at Doctors Hospital in Augusta, GA, I was saddened….but understood. Greg was young, and had recently remarried and his current job provided him little time at home with his wife, son, and step-son. Being a chef in a club like the GBC can be stressful…answering to a Board of directors that while well-intentioned, know little about managing a club and then having to serve members, a few of which have more money than common sense and take themselves a bit too seriously. I suppose one can look at it as a constant struggle and who really wants that?
I heard that Greg’s team was going to be catering our “Trial By Fire” event and I looked forward to the reunion….he really is one of my favorite people walking around on the face of the earth….and wanted to tell you why.
PS….The food was great that night.