Greetings from Carrboro,
There’s a list in my head. Good lord, it’s long. The bitter mistakes, the stumbles, the hubris. All the things that I wish I’d done better or just had the courage to do right. But love makes a fool of all of us. The straight and narrow gives way. And our path veers off into the dark woods. The compass stops working – true north no longer feels so true. Looking back, I certainly didn’t have enough in my backpack for the journey ahead.
It was 20 years ago to the day that my eldest daughter was born. Without a doubt, I had no idea how to be a father – my Swiss army knife just didn’t have that blade. I was also 20 days away from opening Acme. And I had no idea how to truly run a restaurant. So, you could say that this is the point where my trusty compass stopped working. My daughter wouldn’t be named Mary Louise for a few days. But here she was. Ten fingers and ten toes. And I loved her beyond words.
When Acme opened those 20 days later, I fell in love for a second time. My restaurant had unbelievably come to life. Staff showed up! People came! And no one noticed how scared the young man was who raced around the dining room. The fancy tie made me look confident. So, there I was, head held high, following this dream and walking purposefully into the woods.
The map of the heart certainly seems drawn by a drunken, blind man. The twist and turns and canyons. The steep slopes and rugged terrain. So many times I came up wanting along the way. So many. And somehow Mary Louise and Acme survived. More than just survived, they both thrived. In spite of all my mistakes and failings, life somehow found a way. They both deserved better; I can say that now. My love was clumsy and half-said, always half-hidden behind the man – the father, restaurateur – that I thought I should be. But it was always there. And always will be. (I love you so much, Goose. So much.)
Luckily, Acme always had the support of every one of you and this great place we call home. Because it does take a village, dammit. And in 20 days we’re going to celebrate it all. Saturday night, February 17th, Acme is throwing a party at the restaurant to celebrate our 20th anniversary and all of you are invited. Starting at 8:30 that night, we’re going to party like it’s 1998 (sincere apologies to Prince). It will be a fundraiser for the Be Loud! Sophie Foundation with tickets available online and all proceeds going toward the charity. There will be music and drinks and cake. Stories and jokes and dancing. And one very proud and grateful restaurateur – albeit a little older and wiser – looking forward to 20 more years in Carrboro. I hope to see you there.
Tickets can be purchased here. Let’s do this, Carrboro.
Well, that’s all the news from Carrboro. The staff at Acme look forward to serving you soon.
The Staff at Acme