I have mentioned my 20 year Keg career a few times, and well that isn’t entirely true. I had a short six month sabatical from The Keg when I went and worked for Moxie’s restaurant for more money, the promise of a better schedule, much closer to home and as the owner said, the chance to be a Rock Star! Figuratively speaking of course.
I found the systems in place, and the strict weekly schedule and the additional hours expecting to go above and beyond the required 50 hour work week, I quickly realized that I had been sold a bill of goods. Meaning I had been promised one thing, and was given something completely different. I didn’t last long there and quickly returned to The Keg a mere six months later. Other than learning that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side, there was only one good thing that came from my time there, her name was Dani.
Starting a new restaurant and getting to know all the staff isn’t always easy when you have work to do, and the role of the Chef is very hands on. There was never much time to have any kind of personal conversations, wearing a headset, listening to the chatter, running the kitchen and having a hand on every dish that left the kitchen keep me very busy. Add to that my usual business first attitude towards work, that professional front I had in place I kept everyone on a professional level.
Dani saw right through that charade immediately. She could see that there was more than meets the eye and set out on a mission at first just to make me smile, and then beyond that to get to know me on a personal level. She was determined to get to know the real me.
You see Dani had Moxie. Defined as sass, courage, spunk, determination, attitude and she has all of these attributes along with many others. I found her to be funny, charming, genuine and very beautiful.
She ended up being the only person during that six month period that I socialized with outside of work. And in the few months that we worked together we became very close. She would eventually leave Moxie’s to go on a trip to South America, Brazil if I remember correctly. I have given her one of Lance Armstrong’s books with lots of notes and messages written to her in the margins. Notes about living life and chasing your dreams, and she has done that ever since to this day. We did talk via FaceTime during her trip a few times and kept in touch every once in awhile.
Right before I left Moxie’s I was married to Danielle, has Jennifer shortly thereafter and we lost touch with each other for awhile. In essence she went her way and I went mine. One of the good things about social media is the ability to both find and keep in touch with friends from our past and for many years we would silently and at times not so silently observe each other’s lives. During these years I watched her grow into a beautiful strong independant woman.
Recently the comments and interactions increased and we keep saying that we needed to get together and see each other again. Well that finally happened yesterday! We met in Milton and went hiking at Hilton Falls, one of my favorite places to visit. What had been forecasted as an overcast potentially rainy day turned into a warm afternoon filled with sunshine.
We spent the next several hours hiking through the woods and not only catching up on old times, reliving some great memories of our past. There is a fire pit overlooking the falls where we had lunch and talked about the last seven years of our lives, the time that had past seen we last saw each other in person.
We walked about 15 km that afternoon through the woods and got to know each other all over again. We talked about Emily and she was able to offer me another unique perspective from her own life about the difficult situation that I am dealing with in regards to Emily. I was also able to listen and offer advice and suggestions with some of the issues that are going on currently in her life.
We have shared similar issues in our past both overcoming similar problems recently, passing through fire and emerging stronger on the other side as a result of these experiences. We are both clean and clear of the restaurant industry and talked about the pitfalls, and rewards of that line of work. She has a very bright future in front of her indeed currently working the promotions field and has lengthy trips planned to South Korea and Russia in the new year. Those are going to be some amazing adventures to experience and I look forward to my silent FaceBook stalking of these adventures.
She is one of my favorite people for this very reason. She went above and beyond to get to know the real me, to fight through the outer layer of defense that a lot of us have in place to protect ourselves. She has an ability to opening share and listen at the same time, and has always been there for me with messages of love and support over the years. I feel fortunate to have as part of my life, even in the small way that she is. I wish her nothing but peace, love and happiness as both continue to navigate this thing called life.
We both have the month of December off from work and have promised to see each other again before 2018 hits and she is off an another amazing adventure. We will make that happen.
Thank you for listening to me and sharing just a wonderful walk through the woods.