Note: I wrote this blog over 5 years ago. James passed away several years ago. His wife, Juanita, passed away this morning. In honor of their life, I am republishing.
If you ever make it to Granbury, you need to stop in at the Firehouse Café for breakfast during your visit. The breakfast special during the week consists of eggs cooked to order, toast or biscuit, and bacon and hash browns as well. I generally make in there on Mondays to eat with the DPS troopers and on Friday to discuss theology with the Firehouse Theologians.
The clientele at the Firehouse is pretty diverse. There are men in there making gas well deals. Several small church groups meet weekly. There are couples of all ages enjoying an early morning date. Last fall I saw James and Juanita having breakfast in there. James and Juanita had been married almost 60 years that point, but they were enjoying themselves like a couple of newlyweds. James passed away not long after I saw them that morning. I think of them every time I pass that table.
Angela and her family own the place. She rarely calls me John. I am warmly referred to as “sweetie”. Melissa has been waiting on me in there for about four years. She always greets me with a hug. Robert has been for about three years. I know about their children, and hear about their life issues occasionally. I always get them a Starbucks card for Christmas.
The eggs have never been cold, but if they ever are, I won’t stop eating there. I will be back in there in a few days. Melissa knows that I drink coffee, and Robert asks me if I am going to have the usual. It would take several major infractions to cause me to take my business down the street. I feel pretty loyal to my friends at the Firehouse. You know loyalty is a good thing.
In Granbury, we have the option of driving to Ft. Worth to the IHOP or to the Cracker Barrel. Those are good places to eat breakfast too. Their menu selections are far more extensive than the Firehouse. But Melissa is not there to provide colorful commentary, as she refills the coffee. Robert is not there for me to practice my Spanish skills with. If an employee of the IHOP calls me “sweetie,” I am running for cover! If the waitress at the Cracker Barrel hugs me, I am making a fast exit. I feel pretty loyal to my friends at the Firehouse. You know loyalty is a good thing.
I suppose mom and pop restaurants may someday be swept away the large chains. That will indeed be a sad moment, in my estimation. I think it is important to develop meaningful relationships everywhere we interact with people. The family that owns the dry cleaning business where my suits are pressed are friends. I buy my gas from a family owned store that continually extends hospitality to our police officers. They too are friends. It is hard to take your business elsewhere when you learn to love and appreciate those individuals. I feel pretty loyal to all the friends that I meet where I do business. I am not just a consumer. I am a loyal friend, and loyalty is a good thing…
Loyalty is just an important trait. People are going to make mistakes and disappoint us. That is human nature. It is easy to overlook the mistakes of those whom we hold in high esteem. At least, I think that is true… I could be wrong…
People sometimes abandon the most significant relationships in their life. People walk out on their spouses. Children are abandoned every single day. People leave churches that they have been a part of for years. It really is sad. I know there are very legitimate reasons to bail out of the ship, but it is still sad.
Perhaps I need to take the sentiments I have toward the Firehouse Restaurant and translate them to every important relationship in my life? No…I could be wrong again. I need to imitate the example of James and Juanita, because loyalty is a good thing. In fact, nearly 60 years of loyalty is a great thing. I will be back at the Firehouse after camp next week. I wonder who will be in there…There is really no telling. And there is no telling what I might learn from them. But for now, I know…loyalty is a good thing.