I had to do something really hard today. It reminded me of Uncle Frank. He used to tell a story about a dog he had and how he had to shoot the dog. He said his dad told him he had to shoot the dog. I can no longer remember why but it had to be a good reason, perhaps the dog was sick. He described how he took the dog down by the stream, under a tree and then again my memory fails me. What I do remember is that whenever Frank had to do something he didn’t really want to do he would tell the story. After a while he would just say, I had to shoot a dog today and I would know what he meant. I had a dog of my own to shoot today.
I remember certain times: when he had to fire his friend Billy Middaugh who designed the Loves Park Bridge, or when he had to have Father Gordon arrested for running an illegal Bingo game. Raymond forgave him for that one. But you could tell that it was never the same between them.
I had a situation like that where someone I counted on for years could no longer carry the load. It broke my heart but I had to do what I had to do. It was for the good of the business overall and I have more lives and jobs to think about than just one. I think all my other help understood and supported me but that still didn’t make it any easier.
Knowing that something is right or necessary doesn’t help when there are long term friendships involved. Years of having someone to count on and know what you want and then suddenly not having that person to count on anymore. Wanting it not to be the way it is but knowing all the time that it cannot be any other way, any other way at all.
The only person I could talk to about it was my son but he is in Budapest so instead I had to send him an email. The next day he called. We seem to know when we need each other. Whenever he is feeling really low, I get a call and I listen quietly. Usually he has all the answers already worked out but he just wants a sounding board. I just wanted to share my pain. I started the email with the two paragraphs that start this blog.
Things like this and times like this always take me back to Frank. I respect his memory because he was one of the finest men I ever knew. When I was young, brash and ambitious, I sometimes didn’t understand why he did or did not do something, something so obvious in my estimation he should have dealt with in a certain manner. Only years later do I realize that he had a lot more sense about the world than I did or for that matter than do today. Now I often ask myself, what would he have done. Many times, I tell my staff, especially Yasmin, this is what Uncle Frank would have said.
I am going to make some changes here at the Rose. For most of you the changes will be inconsequential since most of you come here to eat before 10 PM. I have come to a point in my life where I just want things to be more simple. I am no longer looking to expand the business, just run it. For that it is more profitable for us to close the full kitchen at ten PM, but we will still be here seven days a week to serve you.
We will still have a late-night menu but it will be simple, cheap and able to be put together by our servers. We will serve that five-item menu until we close the bar at midnight during the week and at 2 AM on the weekends. One of the items will be our homemade polish sausage in a sandwich for only 5.95. We will also have chicken and vegetarian selections for similar prices. We are hoping to serve the younger bar crowd that are hungry and looking for something reasonable to eat, late. We are hoping to sell a few more drinks. I would like to add, that with the exception of the Cubs and certain election nights, our business has been wonderful and for that we thank you all. Looking forward to a wonderful holiday season. See you at Baconfest on Thursday.