Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Gardenia, Sweet Pea and Flower Bomb

Yesterday, I went to the farm and cleaned out the soap shed. It wasn't easy. I felt a mixture of emotions. Sadness because it's closing a chapter in my life. Happiness because I remember how much fun I had creating new recipes. As I packed up my fragrance oils, I found gardenia, sweet pea and flower bomb. Fragrances I bought for my Mom and sisters. I felt excited for Redfox, she's a waitress that works with me. She came with me to pack them up because she's interested in starting a soap making business. Last week, I gave Redfox a lip balm and the last bottle of lotion I had made. I got a phone call from her after work full of praise and excitement. She said my products were the best she'd ever tried. She thought I could be a millionaire. She wanted me to bring the goats to her house and we could go into business together.

But as Sherm(a cook I worked with at the steakhouse) said, "That chapter in your book is closed now, Bay." It is almost painful to go back to the farm. It's just as painful to look at all my soaping supplies. I drove all the supplies over to Redfox's house and unloaded them. I wanted to cry as I listened to a CD I found in my soap shed I had playing in the car. I briefly told her how to make some incense and bath butter. She was like a kid in a candy shop and didn't know what project to start. She called me with some more questions later in the day. Her daughter had come home from school and they were going to be soap makers together. I was happy for them, I hope it brings Redfox joy and a sense of creativity. Redfox has been waitressing since she was 13. It's taken a toll on her, she has problems with her arms from carrying plates for so many years. She was out of work for six weeks. They had to put a cast on her arm because she was in so much pain. When I told her I'd teach her about soap making, she said, "I think you're the angel I have been waiting for." That made my eyes well up with tears of hope for her future.

There is a few reasons I am not interested in soapmaking anymore. I guess it reminds me of my past and it sometimes hurts. I also feel like I conquered soapmaking, I could whip out a batch of soap blindfolded. Finally, I am ready to start a new chapter. My passion has always been cooking. When I was six, I remember making sugar cookies all by my lonesome. I got the canisters of salt and sugar mixed up though. When I proudly took my first cookie to my sister and her face contorted like Medusa, I thought my heart would break. I didn't realize that I had made salt cookies by mistake. I threw out the salt blocks and started again. I did make some decent sugar cookies by the end of the day. I knew I wanted to be a chef when I was 16. My Dad didn't think it was the proper profession for me though. Especially after I finished chemo. He said being a chef would be to difficult, the long hours on your feet. Following your dream is never easy though, Dad. I have learned to sacrifice.

I will go this week and take the placement test to enroll in the pastry chef program in the fall. I took a sample test yesterday online and I aced the english portion. I was very lost when I got to the algebra, it looked like chinese to me. I've got some studying to do, math has never been my strength. I am confident after studying for a few hours, I'll pass the math portion just fine. There is a woman that comes into the restaurant and she's opening a bakery. She gave me her card a few months ago but I misplaced it. She came back in on Memorial Day and wrote down her information again with a "Please Call ME!". I think it would be more fulfilling to work at her bakery but I don't know if I can afford a cut in pay. Waitressing is hard work but the harder you work, the better the service and that equals better tips. I'm just not sure at this time what path I should choose but I tucked away her note and phone numbers in a safe place.

There were two men that came into the restuarant every morning around 6:30am for breakfast. They always drink coffee. Every morning, I would bring one of the guys his coffee and cream, he'd say, "Thanks so very much, Michelle. I appreciate this more than you know." I have gotten to know people not by their names but their faces and I have memorized what they drink or usually eat. One morning only one of the men came in for breakfast. I asked about his friend, the thankful friend. "Jack is in ICU, he started bleeding in his stomach and he lost so much blood. He's not doing so well." The "appreciate it more than you know" guy was sick!
It made me feel sick because I missed him that morning, his happy smiling face thankful for just a cup of coffee. I felt life was so unfair. So, after work I went and got "Jack" a get well soon card and dropped it by his work place. In the card, I wrote to him about how he always brightened my day and I would appreciate it more than he'd know if he got better soon so I could bring him some coffee. The next day, his friend came in and told me he took the card to Jack in the hospital and read it to him because he was in a coma. I have asked about Jack every time I see his friend but it's always the same, "Not so well." On Memorial his friend came in and like every other day, I asked about Jack. His faced dropped, "You didn't hear? Jack died on Friday." And for a moment, in the middle of a busy breakfast rush, I thought about how'd I'd never hear Jack's appreciating words and a few tears escaped from my eyes.

And as I look down from my ghetto porch after a difficult day, I sometimes think of Jack. Because I should just appreciate being alive. No matter what I have lost, there will be more to gain. I won't forget the man that made something so simple as a cup of coffee seem like a gift from heaven.


At 11:50 AM, Blogger The Big Cheese said...

Lovely post. Beautiful picture.

At 12:29 PM, Blogger Andra Sue said...

That was a great post. Just what I needed to read today. Thanks. :)

At 1:35 PM, Blogger Papa Louie said...

It's the simple things people say or do that can be such a blessing to others. And to appreciate the little things takes a big heart.

At 5:19 PM, Blogger Wylee said...

A post from you is your gift to everyone who reads it.

At 10:33 PM, Blogger Julia said...

Love your posts :-)
You might want to call the bakery lady and just find out how much of a pay cut it might be. Maybe less than you think.

At 7:08 AM, Blogger Laurie said...

Sounds like you are doing well. Good luck with your exam. You are right to follow your dreams.

The story of Jack was so touching. Thank you for sharing it. It brought tears to my eyes.

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