I cannot tell you how many times in the last month I have typed the phrase, "I'm sorry for the delay."
Some background information. On May 6th, my grandma (Martha Jackson, my mom's mom) passed away after a long battle with some very aggressive melanoma. On May 20th, my grandpa (Larry Jackson, my mom's step-dad who lost his wife exactly two weeks prior) was in a severe motorcycle accident and has since been in critical condition in the ICU at St. Vincent in Toledo. To say this has been a rough month for my family does not even begin to cut it.
I am often behind on my emails. I am often running around like a crazy person. I am often trying to make sure that my fiancé, my dad, and my brother have everything they need so they can get their job's done. I am often trying to make sure all of the billing is still getting done while we are short a member of our team. I am often thinking about 12 things and working on at least 3 things and then wondering why I feel scatterbrained.
I have a lot on my plate. All of us do. But through this trying time, I have also found just how strong the partnership is between all those involved in local food.
The "partnership" is a phrase I have heard several times throughout the course of this difficult month. While trying to juggle so many things, mistakes have happened. But every mistake has been fixed thanks to the partnership. The partnership has been helpful and encouraging in every way. So what is the partnership?
When I didn't go on the Indianapolis delivery route because I was at my grandma's funeral and the Green BEAN order of 35 boxes accidentally got dropped off at Seven Sons in Roanoke, I had no idea how I was going to fix the problem without having my employees drive back to Roanoke and then back to Indy again. I called Brooks with Seven Sons and he said he could handle it. He sorted the Green BEAN order that was sitting at their place and talked to Piazza Produce to get them to deliver it to Green BEAN for us. I was able to turn off my phone for the funeral and know that because of the work and communication of Seven Sons, Piazza Produce, and Green BEAN, Green BEAN would still get their order for the week.
When I talked to the guys from Seven Sons and Piazza Produce, I thanked them so much for handling the situation for me while I was hours away and with my family. Both of them had nearly identical responses. "It wasn't a problem at all. That's what the partnership is for. We help each other any way we can." That is the partnership.
The partnership goes beyond helping each other when possible. I see the true sincerity of the partnership in nearly every work email I receive. Just in the last hour I have received these two emails from great customers who I am thankful to call friends.
Even better than the emails are when I get to see my customers on the Fort Wayne and Indianapolis route. Most ask me about my grandpa before they even look at their order. Hattie, the pastry chef at Vida, asked if she could give me chocolate because chocolate can make even the worst days a little better. (She didn't just give me chocolate either, she loaded up a whole to-go container full of dessert. Totally spoiled me.) Thomas at Union 50 seemed as tore up about my grandpa as I did. Casey at Livery wouldn't even let me ask him about his next order before I told him about my grandpa's condition.
This is what the partnership is about. These aren't just people I work with and correspond with. They are people who sincerely care about me and my family.
Maybe my coping mechanism is to throw myself into my work and keep myself busy. However, because of the people in my partnership, I feel it is a healthy coping mechanism. I stay busy while still getting to talk about the hardships my family is facing, so I don't ignore the problem.
My dad, my brother, my fiancé, and myself have been working crazy hours to keep everything running the past few weeks and none of it would be possible without the partnership we have with every company we work with. I could write a whole separate blog post about how extremely proud I am of Dad, Evan, and Ed as they have put in countless hours to make sure everything gets done. Even throughout the craziness, the four of us have found numerous occasions to smile and countless moments of pride and camaraderie as we have accomplished more than we all thought we would be capable of.
I am so thankful to be a part of this partnership and to work with so many genuine individuals and companies. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for all of your support and thank you for being our partners.
Allow your passion to become your purpose and it will one day become your profession.
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