Your response has been overwhelming. And incredibly gratifying.
Emails. Postings on the Rookery Facebook page. Cards. Phone calls. Kind words in person. At last count more than 160 Rookery and Cable Nature Lodge guests have expressed condolences over the loss of my beloved Callie.
Some of you included poems. Others sent photos of your own dear departed pets. All offered helpful words of sympathy, support, and understanding. And some were kind enough to compliment my writing, adding that my eulogy to Callie brought you to tears.
I am so appreciative for all of this. And yet what most moves me in the end is just how many of you wrote not just to comfort me, but because you mourn Callie's passing right alongside me. Who would have thought so many could be so touched in some way by a big black lab? Thank you so much for sharing not only in my sorrow, but in all the joy that preceded it.
It definitely feels different these days at the Rookery not to have my little girl standing expectantly by the door. Or sprawled across the floor in the bar, her just slightly defiant head occasionally encroaching across the "do not cross" threshold into the dining room. Or tucked under a bar stool waiting for a stray crumb to drop...or be sneaked to her by a disobedient guest. ;)
Many have asked whether there eventually will be a new official greeter at the lodge and restaurant. It's still pretty early to say for sure. Clearly Callie's will be awfully big paws to fill. So for now let's just say maybe. Perhaps leaning more toward probably with each passing day.
In the meantime I need to focus on our approaching summer, the Rookery's sixth and hopefully best to date. Please read on for more details about our summer long 5th Anniversary celebration. A summer we plan to dedicate to the memory of Callie.
Five Years and Counting
It kind of snuck up on us. Between the wacky spring weather, and the agony of losing our official greeter just a week earlier, the Rookery's 5th anniversary came and went ever so quietly yesterday, without fanfare of any kind. In fact we weren't even open on our big day, what with May 22 falling on a Wednesday this year.
But make no mistake. We DO plan to celebrate. Because we're darn happy, grateful, and proud to be here. Still standing, following five years of the worst economic conditions in our nation's recent history.
My timing was impeccable. The financial meltdown began just four months after the Rookery opened for business on May 22, 2008. It's been a tough time for many small businesses, and for restaurants in particular. During each of the past five years I've heard news of yet another successful restaurant that didn't make it. It's been scary at times. Good thing I'm stubborn. Or just plain stupid. Take your pick.
And while I studiously try to avoid invoking politics at the restaurant, knowing full well that our guests range across the entire political spectrum, I feel compelled to add one relevant observation. Despite the recurring election year rhetoric of both major political parties regarding the importance of small business in America, none that I'm aware of received a nickel from the billions of taxpayer bailout dollars handed over to the big banks, financial firms, and car makers. Rather, us little guys who've been fortunate to survive these past five years did so thanks mainly to dogged determination and the support of our loyal customers!
And now back to our regularly scheduled (apolitical) programming.
While we don't have any special five year anniversary plans for the Rookery at this time, we do feel that achieving this milestone is significant enough to celebrate for more than a single day in any case. So we've decided to do so all summer long.
To start things off we're rolling out a new menu this weekend (check it out by clicking HERE). And our signature Fresh Fish UN-Fry returns to its regular weekly rotation of delectable recipes, this week featuring one of my personal favorites, mahi mahi.
Additionally we've mostly filled out the schedule of live outdoor music performances for the Rookery's second full 16 week season of Summer Sunday Serenades. Molly and the Danger Band, who closed out last year for us on that gorgeous final day of September, will be back to kick off our new season on Sunday, June 16. Stay tuned for a full schedule of additional Sunday afternoon performances coming next week.
We expect to come up with more ways to celebrate the Rookery's 5th Anniversary throughout the summer. Some of those undoubtedly will invoke the memory of our original greeter and favorite member of our team. Maybe we'll follow up on someone's suggestion to create a Callie Cocktail. Or perhaps one of our musical performers will be inspired to compose an appropriate ode to her friendly and gracious spirit. You too can participate, if you'd like, by raising a toast in her name, or saying a little prayer, or whatever feels most appropriate to you.
Whatever the case, we hereby commence the celebration of the Rookery's 5th Anniversary and the beginning of our sixth summer in business. And we dedicate it all to Callie, who was here with me at the very beginning.
This one's for you, my little girl!