"Stand By Me"



After a long day of prepping, organizing, sanitizing, cleaning and cleaning again, the staff walked out the door one by one.  Leaving the sun setting and Gloria and I sitting in a booth talking about the elephants terrorizing the room.  The death of George Floyd, the inevitable, unwritten obituaries yet to come, the fear and loathing infecting cities across the nation, the uncertainties of our business, the losses and laments of the last months. 

It was a long list of wounds with tentacles growing and reaching into places we didn’t even know could hurt.  But as she and I sat and talked and rationalized and reasoned, we kept coming back to the cherished cornerstone of our individual and combined strength.  We both agreed that without our villages we would certainly have been lost many times over.  How grateful we are for our friends, our families, our neighbors and our communities of faith.  How grateful we are for the love those people bestow upon us without condition or reservation.  How grateful we are that even when we can’t see the first steps those people show us the staircase.

And then we started talking about how lucky we are, that even in what some may see as the periphery of our lives, through often once upon a vacation encounters, the people otherwise known as “you,” put the cherry on top of our life-giving support system.  Many of you we don’t even know by name.  We know your faces.  We remember that your daughter was pregnant last year…and yes, this must be your new grandson.  Your special order may give you away.  Your habit of showing up ten minutes before we close was your signature and is now your endearing characteristic.  Regardless of how close or how far we are from your personal story, we have engaged with each of you through the restaurant, and we do not take these engagements for granted. 

Several years ago when we were devastated by vandalism and forced to close, the volume of your resounding reassurance could be heard from sound to sea.  When Mr. Perry passed away, you felt our loss as if he was one of your own, and you showered us with comfort and condolences.  When Gloria’s grandson was diagnosed last fall, and I posted about him on our Facebook page, the outpouring of encouragement from our extended Stack ‘em High family was overwhelming.  When she lost her father early on to the virus and then fell ill herself, you were determined to let her know she wasn’t alone in her grief or on her road to certain recovery.  When we were falling into the shadow of doubt as to whether the restaurant would rise from the ashes of economic downturn, you fanned our flame and kept our spark alive.  On behalf of Gloria, Nick and our entire staff, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for standing by us.  We hope that on your journey, you seek and find people to stand by you.  And we plead and pray, that as a country and as a people, we will come to believe that standing beside each other is the true position of blessedness.

“When the night has come

And the way is dark
And the moon

Is the only light you see
No, I won't be afraid

Oh, I won't be afraid
Not as long, not as long

As you stand by me.”