Many people have asked me why I decided to open a restaurant.
On Saturday March 28, 2015 my family and I suffered a house fire that consumed everything we owned. It was an experience that changed our lives. I’m not sure that one ever recovers from such an event. However, it provided me a new appreciation for what matters in life.
When the fire humbled us leaving nothing more than the clothes on our back, we were supported, comforted and inspired by the outpouring of love from friends, coworkers and strangers. Our hearts went out to the nine responding fire companies. We know that despite insurmountable odds, they tried their best to minimize our loss. Also, deserving our respect and appreciation, were those who responded from Red Paws to search for our puppies. They too, against the odds, were able to locate the puppies so we could give them a proper burial together, providing us with much needed closure to move forward.
We had the ruins of our home removed and strangely, even without a house on the property, it still felt like home and comforted us to be there. It was then that we started to have cardinal sightings. Our plan was to rebuild and hopefully return home. After much effort, we realized that these plans would not materialize. As life would have it, we stumbled upon an old farm house and barn located on the same street, less than a quarter mile from our home. The property had been vacant for two years and needed a bit of TLC. However, it is beautiful and rich in family history. Simply put, it felt like home. So, we evicted the mice, tidied up, moved in and called it ours.
We never could have imagined experiencing so many extreme emotions in such a brief period. The pain, loss, despair, frustration, love, compassion, support, fortitude and resilience all played their role in recovery. We are forever grateful that so many provided us with the strength and support beyond our ability.
As for our puppies (Bailey and Joey), they were exhumed and relocated to the new property where they can finally rest in peace. We restored the missing comfort and companionship of our dogs with a rescue once we got settled. The puppies epitaph reads as follows:
If I had known that on that day our time was near the end
I would have done things differently, my forever friend.
I would have not gone, I would have chosen to stay
but I thought I’d see you later that day.
And so I said “Good Bye” to you as I walked out the door
never thinking of the time when I’d see you no more.
But if I had known that on that day our time was at the end,
I would have done things so differently, my forever friend.
Fire is devastating, although it cannot dictate the outcome of its destruction. With a sense of clarity, we had taken control of writing the next chapter in our lives and obtained closure that we sought. We know that we were blessed to have our family safe and our lives enriched by many friends that cared for us as if we were family.
Following the fire, we were experiencing frequent sightings of red cardinals. They appeared randomly, often when our spirits were low. We eventually sought a meaning behind our sighting. It is believed that Cardinals are messengers from someone who has passed away. The word cardinal is derived from the Latin word CARDO, meaning hinge on axis. Like a hinge on a door, the cardinal is considered a hinge on the doorway between our earthly world and the spirit world. If you spend any time studying about the life of a cardinal, you will discover cardinal’s mate for life. They are non-migratory birds, so they remain in their immediate area, withstanding the elements through all seasons. When they have a family, they both care for their young. One of the first and most obvious qualities about the cardinal is the male’s brilliant cardinal red color. He has a powerful visual presence, which is symbolic of steadfast faith.
When a cardinal calls out, it is loud, clear and sounds like it is saying, “cheer, cheer”. I am personally one who believes in the significance of seeing a cardinal. I’m not talking about when several cardinals come to a feeder or if you are out birdwatching, but rather a single cardinal suddenly appearing as if to say, “I’m still here”. Next time you see one, ask yourself what or who were you thinking about at that moment. Maybe you were feeling down and lonely. Perhaps the day marked a special occasion, or maybe you just needed to feel someone’s presence. The cardinal can be a light in your time of darkness.
Truth or myth, either way, that Little Red Bird has an undeniable way of returning faith, uplifting spirits and easing pain. I’m not sure that time heals all. However, I do know that we should remember our past, learn from our experiences, live in the moment and have faith in the future.
Through this restaurant, I hope to touch as many lives as possible by serving quality food with friendly staff in a unique environment. We have created a place where diners can relax and feel good about life. Discover the cardinal and join our family in celebrating life each and every day.
It is a Wonderful Life…not to be taken for granted.