November 28th, 2019
Greetings from Carrboro,
It was brutally clear to Max. The word was dead wrong and I could not use it. Period. His point was this; there are dictionary meanings to words that are completely trumped by our experience of the word. “Share,” he said, “was destroyed by the 70s. Use divide instead.” And Max was right. The word had been subsumed by images of people cavorting barefoot with flowers, all wrapped in the strong whiff of patchouli. And if you think about it, It took nearly 30 years and the present digital age (think: file sharing) to take the word back – minus the patchouli.
I often feel that “thankful” is headed over a similar cliff. It’s too easy. Especially online. Somehow incessant Insta #gratitude for Netflix and pre-cooked chicken wants to afford some kind of moral heft to the mundane. Or, conversely, the overuse simply undermines any sincere connection to the more integral meaning. Because, come on — gratitude for decent cell service and for your children are not the same thing.
The older I get, the more my naive belief in self-sufficiency takes a beating. There are so many more things that I recognize that I don’t do well. And never will. The youthful belief that I would someday be deeply organized is cuddled up next to my professional sports career on that well-cultivated trash heap. But here’s the thing: what I once thought of as personal failings, I now recognize as wondrous strengths in others. And for me, that is the deep wellspring of my thanksgiving.
Francesca Mason started working at Acme about two years ago. You wouldn’t know her. She doesn’t make your drink or your dinner. Francesca just makes all those things better. Much better. In the restaurant world, a good business manager is organization incarnate, a god with a spread sheet. I’d dare say that most restaurants that fail don’t lack a signature chef or maître d’. They lack a Francesca. Full stop. In our culinary circus, she’s the strongman at the bottom of the pyramid holding up the rest of us clowns. While standing on a giant bowling ball. Blindfolded.
So, yes, I am thankful for Francesca. Deeply. For her tenacity and courage and commitment. For her kind heart and her generous compassion for all my stumbling faults. Because, oy, that’s quite a list. In so many ways she is the clear-eyed yin to my rather rambunctious, ridiculous yang, possessing the profound skill set that makes Acme so strong 21+ years in. It’s a simple fact; this is not-not-not an easy business. As we say, you better love the restaurant business because it will never, ever love you back. And I still do love this business. Every day. And now you know one of the sincere reasons why.
Well, that’s all the news from Carrboro. The staff at Acme look forward to serving you soon.
The Staff at Acme
Reservations: online or 919 929 2263