Greetings from Carrboro,
He called all the family together. At least those close enough to make the drive. My friend’s grandfather knew that he was close to dying and wanted to say goodbye. The large family gathered in the small farm house and ate from the assembled platters and pyrex dishes that covered the entire dining room table. It was like a culinary Christmas. Members of the church brought the food and left it on a folding table in the carport without a word – the contributor’s name written on masking tape and secured to the bottom of the dish.
On the 3rd day, all his children were summoned to the grandfather’s bedside. He told them that he would die the next day. At the moment of this distressing news, his wife stepped in close and said firmly, “No you will not. That’ll ruin your grandson’s birthday and we can’t have that. You have to wait another day.” And he did just that, passing away the morning after his grandson’s party. He even got to have a bite of the cake.
Life rushes on. Despite the collective pause that seems to have descended on each of us during the era of Covid-19. Milestones are still reached. Babies are born. The peonies lethargically bob their heavy, colorful heads in the morning breeze.
How nice it would be to call off the pandemic. If only for a day. To celebrate those precious moments that the quarantine renders mute. I’ve seen pictures of the birthday parades, social distancing approved drive-bys of affection and well wishes. So clever. Not perfect band-aids for our solitude, but band-aids nonetheless.
Birthdays are yearly rituals; there will always be more to come. But some of the water under this pandemic bridge will not come by again. My oldest daughter, Mary Louise, is to graduate from Skidmore College this month. And I’ve missed any number of important moments in her life; the tether of the restaurant doesn’t extend very far in any direction. Too often I’ve weighed the responsibilities of work and family and allowed the scale to tip towards Acme and not to her. What’s a date on a calendar? I can celebrate with her later. Platitudes I’d recite as I put my fingers on that balancing scale. But I swore that I’d be there for her college graduation. I even rented a house. With a hot tub.
And so here we are. May 2020. Mary Louise’s graduation ceremony long pushed off in locked down New York state, I haven’t had the emotional wherewithal to cancel my Airbnb yet. Somehow at this signature crossroad I wanted to make up for all my paternal stumbling. Or, maybe more precisely, I hoped to erase the swirling uncertainty that haunts so many of my life’s choices, choices that for good or bad are clearly woven into the fabric of my daughter’s life. And mine. A father’s clumsy, enduring love translated by time and circumstance and the fickle hand of fate.
Like my friend’s grandmother, I’d like the chance to hold back this inevitable Covid-19 reality for one day. Just one day. I’d rent that house in New York and throw a party for Mary Louise and her friends. I’d have some cake. But most importantly, I’d stand proudly and cheer loudly as she marched across that graduation stage and into the rest of her life. And she’d know that I was there. And that I always will be.
I love you, Goose. It’s such a blessing to be your father.
And, yea, screw this pandemic.
Well, that’s all the news from Carrboro. The staff at Acme look forward to serving you soon.
The Staff at Acme
Order online Wednesday – Sunday
Graduation Weekend / Mother’s Day Meal Packages
Available for pick up on Sunday, May 10th from 9:30 am – 4:00 pm
Brunch (serves 2-4) – $85
Acme cinnamon rolls with Grand Marnier Glaze
Carolina link sausage
Eggs Florentine casserole with hollandaise
Baked strawberry french toast with maple syrup whipped cream
Cheddar cheese biscuits
herb-roasted spring potatoes
Supper (serves 2-4) – $120
Main Course options:
Four grilled salmon fillets with creamy lemon-dill sauce
Two lbs seared beef tenderloin with demi-glace
[To order both proteins add $40]
chilled cucumber & avocado soup
perfect mashed potatoes
asparagus with Georgia olive oil
spring squash & sweet basil casserole
Acme parker house dinner rolls
strawberries & cream cake
32 oz mason jar strawberry sangria – $21
32 oz mason jar grapefruit & jalapeño sangria – $21
32 oz mason jar pineapple mango sangria – $21
Mimosa kit (bottle of bubbly, quart of fresh-squeezed OJ) – $21
32 oz Acme bloody mary mix (add your own booze) – $12
Quart of fresh-squeezed OJ – $5
2019 Three Brooms Sauvignon Blanc New Zealand $20
2019 Route Stock Chardonnay Carneros, California $22
Garofoli Rosé Italy $15
Pico Maccario “Lavignone” Rosé Piemonte, Italy $16
Luna Argenta Prosecco Treviso, Italy $15
Belstar Prosecco Rosé Veneto, Italy $15
2017 G.D. Vajra Rosso Piemonte, Italy $17
2018 Broc Cellars “Love” red North Coast, California $17
2017 Borgo Moncalvo Barbera Superiore Piemonte, Italy $17