And everything changed.
Back Up to Last Summer. Last summer (if you’ve been following along and remember – last summer I was still looking for a place that would house The Butter Churn). I knew already that our original plans of renting/leasing/buying a building were no longer an option and that we were going to have to build. Turns out there was one patch of commercial property on the main street of Woodhull left. And the last anyone could remember, it used to be a bowling alley about 30some years ago. But more recently it was used to house all the snow that would be plowed during the winter. (And let me tell you! This year I got the business about how I took away the best sledding area EVER)
Nobody thought the owner of the lot would sell it.
I don’t do very well with 3rd party information though, and I’m a big believer in going to the source. So, I called the guy who owned the land and asked if he would sell it.
He said… “Sure.” Just.Like.That.
So thanks to the internet fundraising (which raised 2 things: 1. enough money for me to get started with this and 2. no end of speculation and rumors about me.) I bought the land that The Butter Churn was someday going to live on.
Now that brought up the next thing. I was going to have to get a building up on there.
So y’all realize that I spend most of my adult life doing a few things… I raise my kids. I teach grown-ups about having babies. I help mamas bring babies into the world. And I do a lot with food. Kids, Babies, Food. You may notice that building buildings is not a part of that list. So I was getting a crash course on building.
Oy. I met with lots of builders, contractors, and companies. I explored pole barns, shipping containers, stick buildings. And by the beginning of August I was tired. Like, don’t know what to do, emotionally tired. And I sat down at the end of my Grandma’s driveway and cried.
After a few minutes of the big, ugly, splotchy-face crying, I put my head in my hands and said “God. I do not know what to do. But I am here doing this thing because I believe this is Yours. I need something abundantly clear about what to do next”
I had one last meeting before I was supposed to go back to California and get my kids started for the new school year. And I have to be honest, I was dragging my feet on it. The guy I was meeting… well. I knew it wouldn’t be like working with the other guys I had met.
And he wasn’t.
We got in his truck to go around town and look at some of the other buildings he had built. Before I got in the truck he looked at me said “Now listen. I don’t want you messin’ up my truck”
“Uhm…. Okay.” I thought.
And I opened up the door and looked at him.
He had the biggest grin on his face, and said “Well. Maybe you can’t make it any worse”
His truck was the way that trucks should be. It was muddy. Tools, and other important stuff all over the floor. With a bench seat you knew you could get dirty, because it already was. It smelled delicious. Like a real truck. I think about the Hummers I see driving around my Willow Glen neighborhood in CA and shake my head. Those things aren’t even trucks, and I know they smell like new car smell, not like animals and earth and work. Which is how a truck should smell. He took me around town in his truck to show me some of the other buildings he had built.
We came back to town and parked. He looked at me and said “I’d really like to build that building for you. I’d do a good job and I’d like to see you succeed.”
I just stared at him.
All the other folks I had met with had quotes, mock-ups, and fancy business brochures.
This guy drew out a building on a yellow legal pad with thick pencil lines.
The other folks have websites, emails, cell phones, social media.
This guy – notsomuch.
We didn’t sign contracts. We shook hands. And I knew he would do right by his word, and he trusted me to do right by mine.
In a time where litigation and fear is often the cornerstone of any project, this is a story that strikes disbelief and in-credulousness in a lot of people.
Unless you take a minute to remember it doesn’t have to be like that. Love isn’t rational, and Leaps of Faith are just that.
Thank you Charlie.
Thank you for not being worried what people would say. Thank you for building me a strong beautiful building even though I look wild girl with my tattoos and dreadlocks. Thank you for loving your town like the way I love your town. Thanks for putting up with me even though I’m terrible on the phone. Thanks for marrying a woman who makes me smile every time I’m in your business and whom I also think the world of.
The building is almost up. And the countdown is on and official. We have a (cross your fingers) Grand Opening Date of July 18.