Even though I spent my earliest years in Ohio and New York and can still remember the wet blue nylon exterior of the hooded coat that immediately followed making snow angels, I’m really a desert boy who sees so little snow that it’s still a novelty for me to watch the steady drip of melting snow punctuated by sudden shifts of still-frozen chunks of snow and ice sliding down dormant windshields and clumps falling from disaccustomed palm trees. I went for a walk this morning, uninclined to experience the wind chill and puddles that make for an unpleasant ride, and throughout, there was that steady, quiet drip.
Walks and rides are my introspective time, and the metaphor of steady drips that cause sudden shifts wasn’t lost on me for a minute: the staffing issues that continue to drip on our foreheads for the better part of a year now continue to reach the point at which another chunk of hazard breaks free to smash itself below. One of the crew tears her ACL. One goes back to keeping his foot elevated for an extra two weeks after seemingly returning to normal. One staffer calls five minutes before his shift to say he won’t be in, and another gives two weeks’ notice only to disappear the following day. Another gives notice to say that the other job she applied for months ago finally got back to her and it’s better for her. Throw in a case of Covid and a few colds and flus, and a new person who’s changed her mind about which shifts she’s able to work and we’ve found ourselves right back where we were months ago, wondering how much longer we can stay open on Sundays. Drip. Drip. Chunk.
We’re still keeping a stiff upper lip, because, frankly, what else is there to do? Everyone has recovered from their respective colds and flus and Covid, and those who’ve left were bound to anyhow. I listened to a story about how a student gave Ram Dass a beautiful Chinese teacup, which he enjoyed by picturing it broken into pieces. His logic was this: it was going to break someday, so if he imagined it already broken, then when he drank from it while it was still in one piece, it was something of a treat. How lucky to enjoy this cup now, while it’s still not broken. So that’s my plan: keep feeling grateful that the duct tape and staples holding Feast together are, in fact, still holding it together. For a huge number of restaurants, that teacup is already broken, so I’m happy I can still pick mine up by the handle. To that end, and to reinforce the staples and duct tape, we’re keeping at what we’re able to keep at: we still have wine tastings, like the Cabernet tasting this Saturday,
and we’re still doing benefit dinners like the one we’re planning for the Sister Jose Women’s Center in March, the menu for which will be posted this week, once I’ve met with our Ward 6 friends Steve Kozachik and Ann Charles, and Jean Fedigan, founder and CEO of the Center, to dot our i’s and cross our t’s.
We’re still making a boatload of crawfish etouffee for Mardi Gras next Tuesday and we’re corning a boatload of beef to be ready for St. Patrick’s Day next month. I’ve still got a Last Sunday wine tasting in the works for the 26th, and a new menu slated for March 7th, and I intend to fill this teacup a few more times, or use it to bail water again, while it’s still in one piece. Pay us a visit when you can, eat and drink from the cup, and we’ll toast you and thank you and appreciate the hell out of you.
Your friends at Feast