"Happy Birthday!" is something one typically imagines hearing in chorus at a party of some sort. With streamers, candles, and (if you're lucky) a brightly wrapped gift or two. Some people like cake, some people like not cake, but all people like feeling loved and appreciated on the advent of their yearly trip around the sun. Well, dear readers, I am here today to celebrate a birthday. The honored one doesn't like cake so much. Or food. Ok, so the one celebrating their birthday isn't a person. It's a place.
Every First Friday in November, myself and those that I love celebrate another year of The Village being with us. That's right y'all, we're 8! It may seem strange to have such a strong emotional tie to a little cafe, but... if you've been here, you get it. The people who work here are more than just co-workers trying to make it through a day, and once you've worked here? The place is in your blood in a way that can't be shaken, even if you want it to. We've seen each other through the best and worst of times, and all the highs and lows that come with being a human on this planet. We're not just cooks and baristas looking for the next paycheck. We're friends who will answer the phone at 3AM. We're lovers who have finally found one another. We're a functional family that love the hell out of one another, and are always ready to jump back into the fray with those still working in the trenches, if they need a hand with the lunch shift.
The love doesn't end with the staff, though. Every morning, RIGHT at opening, there is a crew of gentlemen who sit together and try to solve the worlds problems. There are groups of friends who come here every Sunday morning for a pitcher of mimosas, and to get away from their problems. There are artists who come back every month to support the artist of the month the way they were supported when it was their turn to have art on the walls.
There is so much love in this place without even touching on my story. I came here just looking to help out a friend of my dad's for a few weeks, and found the home I didn't know I was looking for. I found my soulmate on my first day here (he walked into the kitchen, and swept me off my feet when he asked"who the hell are you?"), and we celebrated our marriage here. Our son took his first steps here. He's growing up here. I'M growing up here. The love that is in the very bones of The Village has affected us all for the better, and THAT is what we celebrate every November.
So, Happy Birthday to the place we always come back to. The place that has become our home when we don't know where that is anymore. The place that has held us together through the ups and downs of life. Village, we love you. It's been a wonderful 8 years. Here's to many more years of sheltering the bohemian hipster folk, artistic free spirits, and those who just need a place to belong. Happy Birthday!
(pics are from our wedding, at which almost the entire crew was gathered)