The Hungry Minnow is Hibernating

1 04 2019

I miss The Hungry Minnow, or The Minnow as I sometimes call her. The Minnow is my snack bar at Children’s Beach in Nantucket.

She came to me almost by accident in 2017. I was spending another daunting winter on Nantucket trying not to completely freak out due to the lack of a winter job when I heard that the town was requesting bids to operate the snack bar concession. I figured what’s there to lose… I also never imagined I’d win.

I spent a good chunk of time writing up an engaging proposal and even basically pulled an all-nighter to get it done. Despite all my years working in restaurants as a manager, waiter, sommelier, host and of course wine director, I’d never wanted to own my own place. I knew better from seeing how hard my father had worked with his restaurant. I also had all the knowledge from my years getting a BS in Beverage Management at Cornell School. I remember vividly a lecture to us new students, perhaps it was Professor Chase? I can’t remember, but what I do remember so very vividly was their admonition to us.

“Most if you are going to want to open up a fine dining restaurant with your name on it and that is just not profitable.”

So I knew better. But this little snack bar had potential! At least to me. When I toured it I could see past the linoleum floors and the cracked ceilings where now I know former staff almost fell through while trying to get cups from the attic. I saw past the green AstroTurf lined track that bordered the walls, apparently there as a surface for balls so that they wouldn’t roll away (huh?! I still don’t get it). Instead of the peg board that was at toddler eye level covered in cheap plastic toys from China, I saw windows opening to the porch and the sand covered playground and just beyond that the beach and harbor.

Where there was a gravel pit I saw a sandy dining area with wood tables, umbrellas and a sofa and lounger. I saw summer breezes, hot dogs, chili, fresh brewed iced teas and Ritual coffee, organic snacks.

By the time I’d written up my proposal and submitted it something fascinating had happened. I’d envisioned things so vividly that I felt that The Hungry Minnow already existed. I’d breathed so much life into it, I’d written my PowerPoint as if I was there looking at it. It was so strangely real suddenly, and then there sitting in my car I’d left my dream in a Manila envelope on a desk in the office of the Town Manager.

I burst into tears because all of a sudden I realized what I’d created and how much I loved it.

I had no idea what to do and ended up reaching out to friends on Facebook for comfort. I wrote that I had just submitted a proposal for something that I really thought I wanted.

Still sitting there in the car not knowing what to do with myself I looked down to see a notification. It was curious as I’ve never gotten a message from Elsa before, but it seemed timely and important, and I know she is wise.

She said,

“Hi! Just read your post

Quick! Restate it! Instead of I think I want this opportunity or I think anything about it, restate it as if this is meant for my highest good, I ask for this with all my heart.

The Universe responds to specifics 😘”

So I did.

And The Hungry Minnow was born.

I won’t say it’s been easy, actually that first year was one of my most challenging ever. That said I absolutely love the place. It’s a happy place and I’ve made it mine. It’s become all that I’ve dreamed of in many ways in its quirky kitschy way.

I’ve been able to work with an incredible crew of teenagers and I’m watching them grow and learn. I’m interacting with my tiny human customers in a way I never thought I could have, and I like them in limited doses though I’m still glad to be able to be without the responsibilities of a child of my own.

I am now a line cook, or the octopus as Suzy my Camino partner called me last year when she’d work with me there. Making ten things at once in the 98 degree kitchen when a year prior I didn’t even know how the fryer worked.

There are long days and hard days and all kind of frustrations but I love it all.

I really do believe I was meant to take on the place, to shepherd it into a place where kids can have fun and families can make memories. In my tiny way my work really is for the greater good which is why I was granted this opportunity.

So as you set off on life’s journeys I implore you to think carefully about what you want and why. Don’t worry about the how, that’s not your job.

Just two weeks ago i was cleaning up and Came across a dream board I’d made a long time ago. I was pretty astonished by what was on it as it had sat forgotten and languishing for a few years, or so I thought because many of the items had been “delivered”.

There was a bag pasted into it from my favorite Spanish T-shirt Shop with a blue bull on it. It was so old that it was crumbling and when I went to clean it up it hit me. The store is called Kukuxumusu! When Suzy and I were in Pamplona weseparated for a few hours while Suzy looked for money. I ate a plate of Spanish anchovies and meanwhile Suzy was off looking for cash. When I got back to our Albergue Suzy had bought me a T-shirt to thank me for lending her money! It was from Kukuxumusu, and she didn’t know that it was my favorite brand of Spanish gift items… I even took a photo with this character in front of the store! The same bull was on the crumbling bag.

Inside the bag there was a realtor listing of homes in Nantucket, another thing on the board that the universe has graciously provided me. Photos of boquerones, (see above) my favorite white Spanish anchovies in oil and vinegar that were my staple food along the way. (I’d literally eat an entire container for breakfast!) and a photo of Jamon. A crocus on the cover of Spain Gourmetour Magazine. In the top right hand corner is the crest of the Town of Nantucket who is my landlord and technically my partner at The Hungry Minnow as they own the building!

There’s even a scrap of paper that says American Songwriter magazine… in 2017 I received an honorable mention for my lyrics of my song Carpe Diem whose word have totally foreshadowed my 2018 Camino de Santiago.

I wrote, “Well I can’t tell you where I’m going, I don’t remember where I’ve been, storm clouds seem to be blowing… I’m walking straight into the wind. I feel just like an apparition, a pilgrim in purgatory, on the way to the next Mission, seeds to sow and crops to reap.

But you can’t put me out to pasture, I’ve got many more miles to roam, there’s rosebuds yet to gather, days to seize ‘fore I go home.”

I need to start a new dream board but first I must implore the universe to help me finish my taxes tonight and get my papers and life organized so that my mind may be free and uninhibited and I can get back to the creative pursuits that I know in my heart are for my greatest good and can benefit others.

Find an intention, be specific and believe it’s already yours and see what happens. What’s the harm in believing in your dream if you know in your heart of hearts it’s what you really believe you should do?

Saw this crocus the other day… it’s going to be a great season. The Hungry Minnow will come out of hibernation soon and all those great ideas just now taking root will become fruitful and grow.

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