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I intended to write this newsletter last week, but, well, Dusty and I took a little vacation and it turned out that…I just didn’t want to. So, I didn’t.
My decision to skip it was not related to the planned subject matter — I am super excited to introduce you to both Jimi and Logan — it was just that I didn’t want work to interrupt my vacation any more than necessary. We went to Chincoteague, where neither of us had ever been, from Sunday evening through Thursday morning, and we were trying to get All The Vacation into that time. At one point I realized that I was feeling stressed about whether or not I was doing enough relaxing. I did have to work periodically throughout, but sometimes just being on vacation requires an adjustment period.
And I did squeeze in a lot of relaxing, mostly in the form of reading on the screened in porch (the bugs there are something fierce) of our cabin, but also in the form of lying on the beach and swimming in the ocean and a brief stint with fishing (we each caught an eel) and even a decent amount of cooking in the cabin’s tiny kitchen. The kitchen was why we went the cabin route — in a big city, we want to experience All The Restaurants; in a touristy beach town, we want to cook (or eat raw) All The Seafood. And I think we did — shrimp and crabs and SO MANY oysters and clams and even those two little eels we caught. We brought a few things with us from our home kitchen and from the store, but not much — some bacon, eggs, and pork chops; assorted produce; some olive oil; a good knife; a big pot; and our favorite pan. (Also coffee supplies.) We realized almost immediately upon arrival that we hadn’t brought salt and pepper, so we bought some at the campground store, and salt and pepper remained our only flavoring agents during the stay.
And that, really, is the whole reason I embarked on this digression — because I really enjoyed having access to some wonderful ingredients (some we brought, some the water/local purveyors provided) but being so limited in tools and accoutrements that the only possibilities were the simplest preparations. Raw oysters from Right There with just a squeeze of lemon. A tomato/cuke/onion salad with just olive oil and salt. Bacon and eggs and Plain Jane for breakfast. (Or eel and eggs and Plain Jane.) Rettland pork chops with nothing but salt and pepper. It’s such a gift to have such amazing food that in some ways it shines brightest with the least intervention. And, of course, this is the perfect time of year for fully appreciating that gift. Deep thanks, universe. 🙏
And deep thanks, as well, to our staff who held down the fort while we were gone. You know Bronwen and Elliott of course, but have you met Logan and Jimi during their register training (and initial solo stints) over the past few weeks? Both of them have been with us for about two months now, have just about finished their initial training in all the R&R “fundamentals” and have graduated from their “practice periods” (our name for the first eight weeks of employment, during which we focus on training and evaluating goodness of fit). Well, technically I think we’ll wrap up Logan’s practice period tomorrow, but I’m feeling pretty confident that we’ve got a mutual good fit.
So anyway — here they are!
Jimi is the youngest-ever R&R’er, though you might not have guessed that. He is, by turns, thoughtful and quiet, and downright EXUBERANT. When I asked him to write something about himself for this newsletter, he wrote, “I like to grill and workout and fish and ride my bike.” He asked me to include the word “swag” in his bio, and I had to ask him what that meant in this context. He says it means he’s cool.
He really is — he regales us with talk of his fishing adventures, brings us samples of his innovative (and delicious) kitchen adventures, listens intently to new information, and puzzles out excellent follow-up questions. In his practice runs on register, Jimi was often so quiet and timid I was a little worried about whether or not he’d be a good fit for that particular role — but he was determined to do it, and watching his efforts and his growing confidence has been inspiring and gratifying. I’m looking forward to watching him grow further in the role (and all the roles our staffers play!), and also to eating more of his inspired cooking.
Something Jimi and Logan have in common is their interest in good food — though Logan’s got a few more years of cooking experience under his belt! He writes, “I love movies, learning new cooking recipes, and spreading peace, love, and happiness.”
And Logan really does spread peace, love, and happiness. The warmth he exudes is practically palpable. I know if I’m working with Logan, I’m going to be smiling. “Have a beautiful day,” he says to me as he heads out each evening, with such a genuine twinkle that it really does make my day a little more beautiful. After one of Logan’s early solo stints on register, he remarked to me that Radish & Rye customers were amazing — so friendly and welcoming and caring. I was so tickled to hear that, because of course I know that, but especially because I think you’re really going to enjoy each other.
I really like both Jimi and Logan and I am really happy to have both of them on the R&R crew, but one of the things I actually like most is Jimi and Logan together. Most days, Jimi opens and Logan closes, and they overlap for a few hours in the middle of the day. But for the past several weeks, they’ve been my Sunday crew, just the two of them (well, and me), overlapping for most of the day. Sometimes I’ll try to talk to them about the plan for the day, who’s going to do what, what do we need to get done — and lately, it turns out, they’ve already talked about it, they’ve already got it all figured out, and I think half the time they know more about what’s going on the floor than I do. I’m not sure there is any better sign of a good fit than folks working together as a team to keep things running smoothly, and I’m beyond tickled that they’re both ready, willing, and eager to meaningfully contribute to making that happen.
And you better believe that I’m beyond tickled that their excellent work (team and individual) meant that Dusty and I could enjoy a few days of vacation.
Thank you, Jimi and Logan (and Bronwen and Elliott and Matt and Tyler!). We’re so glad you’re here.