It began in August when six people decided to meet once a week under the spreading canopy of a maple tree.
Besides offering relief from the heat, the tree was a haven from the cares of the world and a soft place to fall for the people who had taken a hit in recent years.
At first, it was coffee, tea, a snack, and occasionally vino in celebration when someone had a breakthrough—like Simad, who published a book.
One day, Shal suggested that they meditate daily for one week to see what would come of it. One week, they could manage that, no matter how much their brain complained or chattered to them.
From that week of meditating, Twinkie got the courage to go for what she had dreamed of—to become a glassblower. “Not the little trinkets,” she told them, “but learning to use the big kilns, the blow rod, and make large objects like sculptures and vases.” She signed up for classes at the coast, which meant an hour-and-a-half drive each Saturday. It turned out that the teacher was as appealing as the learning.
Life happens. It circles, grows, develops, and over the weeks, with us acting like a fly on the wall and me as a recorder, we listened as six people shared in “Conversations Under the Maple.”
And then came Sally’s tears.
Sally’s business was going under. The group who thought that Sally’s Italian cooking deserved a Michelin Star, decided, after much deliberation, to join in rebuilding her business.
Harvey had property. Shal had negotiating skills, and with the funds left over after all bills were paid, Harvey and Shal chose to build an Industrial kitchen for Sally. She would have an outside restaurant, such as meals served in the vineyards of Tuscany.
This would be a shareholder business, with the group providing grunt equity as buy-in.
“Italian food!” exclaimed Alan, the glassblower and now Twinkie’s romantic interest, “Who doesn’t love Italian? I could build a wood-burning oven for her. Pizza and focaccia bread baked in a wood oven, slathered with olive oil and salt—it makes my mouth water.”
“I got my start on Kickstarter,” Alan told Twinkie. Twinkie knew he was still making globes, such as the Japanese glass floats, as rewards for people who pledged funds. His goal was met, and he was funded. Kickstarter is all or nothing. The applicant’s goals are either met or it’s a no-go.
With his funds, Alan rented his space, built a kiln, bought equipment, and now, besides selling projects, he teaches classes.
Alan suggested to Twinkie that she write a Kickstarter project for funding to help with her building a website, writing a blog, and advertising the restaurant.
The kitchen, courtyard, overhead canopy, and restrooms will be on Harvey’s property, built by him and Shal. Ollie, a former Real Estate Agent, had connections for the sale of the building. There was much planning, architectural plans to be drawn, a landscape architect to be hired, licenses to be applied for, and a variance for the zoning that would allow a commercial business to be located on private property.
All this was brought to life by a group of people who one day decided to meet, support each other, heal, and share their lives.
What will the completed project look like? Let your imagination run wild.