March is Women’s History Month and what better time to honor all of the STRONG women in my life…some for all of my life than this month. And also what better time to help our Corporate Partner the Women’s Resource Center than National Women’s History Month? So Cheers to AMOBs and Cheers to the Women’s Resource Center!
I wrote a guest article for The Island Sun newspaper recently (check out this weeks edition!) about my start in institutional cooking with my Graddaddy Jake…but it was his daughter, my mom, that really taught me the love for cooking and entertaining. I stood on a stool or sat on the counter when Mom cooked many meals and helped…or hindered…according to who’s telling the story…and learned how to cook from an early age. Mom has always been a great cook and a great baker…I remember entering a Lemon Meringue Pie and a Red Velvet Cake in the Polk County Youth fair thru the local 4-H program when I was probably 12 years old…I also showed steers 10 years in a row from age 8 to 18 in the youth fair… that’s where I learned expenses and revenues….. and importance of revenue being the larger number annually…
Mom cooked dinner almost every night when we grew up…and the four of us ate as a family every night…no matter what time it was…we waited on the last one home before we’d sit down at the table. We never knew which of our working parents was gonna be last in as Dad’s territory was all over the State and Mom was a Court Reporter and sometimes her trials would last into the evening if her judge was trying to wrap up a trial. Whatever time we all got home, we sat and ate and talked about our day…it helped build our family and helped me learn about running a business with staff…she had 8-10 reporters, transcribers and typists working for her and of course Dad always gave his advice on how to handle a “problem” reporter often…
I head a story about Mom’s Grandmother just last month that I’d never heard before. Her family had been in Polk County (Bartow and Ft Meade) for 4 generations. One day when all the “men folk” were out in the fields with the cattle and the crops, she’d just pulled a pan of biscuits out of the oven to make sandwiches to take to them for lunch. As she put them on the sill to cool she realized she was staring straight into the eyes of Billy Bowlegs, the Seminole Warrior. He scared her to half to death but apparently he’d smelled the biscuits and was just hungry…he ate the biscuits and left… She told the story that he returned a few weeks later…apparently on his way back North and motioned, communicated that he wanted more biscuits! Dad swears Mom’s mom told him that story while she was young and lucid…
My cousin Deb’s another strong woman in our family…when we opened The Lazy Lobster in ’99 she took time off to move over and be the designer and project manager for the remodel of the store on Lockwood Ridge. She hand painted all of the wine glasses, sugar caddies, wall murals, mermaids over the tables and boats suspended from the ceiling. She worked so hard that she “got” to do it again when we opened both Cortez and Ellenton…Deb’s such a task master that she had the next generation helping her by “weathering” the planks that became shelving at Cortez…but she’s like Tom Sawyer, making the kids think the work was fun so they’d do it all. Deb’s the bomb!
Her mom, my FAVORITE Aunt is awesome too…Aunt Flo, Aunt Toe, Mimi…whatever you want to call her, has always been there for all of us kids…she gave me some of the best advice EVER when I *thought* I wanted to transfer from Clemson to FSU during my 1st semester…glad I listened to her. She was there the day I graduated and walked across the stage to get my diploma from President Atchley… proudly graduating early from the 5 year plan at Clemson. I looked across the Coliseum to see Mom & Dad and Aunt Flo…expecting to see tears of joy and pride…what I got was my dear, sweet mother giving me the throat-slashing sign…mouthing, “You’re cut off. You’re off my Payroll!” So much for tears of joy…or maybe after that long, she was overjoyed to know it was time for me to hit the restaurant workforce!
We have an such a fabulous group of strong women who help us out at our stores, working to support their families, get their kids through college and many putting themselves through school… so let’s send a huge CHEER to these wonderful women who make our lives better…I know that we surely could not do without their hard work, great humor love of the AMOB and love for you, our awesome guests!
Speaking of awesome guests…we can’t thank you all enough for the amazing response to the Women’s Resource Center clothing drive this month! The response has been overwhelming – THANK YOU! Remember that we’ll trade you a Portobello Mushroom Appetizer in exchange for your clothing donation to the WRC, through the end of this month.