The wind swirled and danced about the bluffs, kicking up a red-tinged, talcum-powder-like dust storm. The gritty gusts blew about the parking lot, disturbing our dinner guests both coming and going. Those minute dust particles are known to seek out any opening and settle in restricted areas. Despite the incoming gale, our patrons (although pasted with dust) were in a good humor. Rose, our cashier guessed rain, then backed away from her prediction when the dark clouds she was tracking passed on by. Shortly thereafter came a reverberating clap of thunder and a brilliant flash of lightning which caused the lights to flicker and made everyone in the café hunker down. Another fast moving thunderstorm had sneaked up on us from the northwest.
|Twin Rocks Business Baskets|
The storm rolled over the top of the mighty Twin Rocks and the adjacent sandstone cliffs, bringing a deluge. As the downpour hit, everyone in the restaurant seemed to focus solely on the rain, their eyes drawn to this powerful and rare occurrence, not a dish rattled or a person peeped. Mother nature had us in her spell, and man was she putting on a show! As we all watched, thunder boomed as if live cannon rounds were being set off from the buttress walls above our heads. Lightning snapped, crackled and popped all about us, leaving erratically etched images of electric current imprinted upon our minds and the back of our eyelids. The storm was exciting and frightening at the same time.
It did not take long before the mini-monsoon passed by and tracked off in a southeasterly direction. Life returned to normal, and several patrons moved out onto our wide, covered porch to eat, enjoy the refreshing air and express awe over the departing disruptor. I returned to my duties as manager, which includes brooming, busing and "BS'ing". As I cleaned up after a large group in the back, a song came on over the radio, an oldie but goody by Leroy Van Dyke, called, "Who's gonna run the truck stop in Tuba City when I'm gone?
I mused over the music because someone had asked me a similar question earlier that day; "Who's gonna run the Trading Post and Cafe in Bluff City when you Craig and Steve are gone?" First of all, we don't plan on going anywhere anytime soon. However, as I listened to the lyrics, "Keep the back bar clean and the place looking pretty," I wondered if we too would become just a vague memory, a flash in the proverbial pan, in the history of our hometown. I saw how when Laurie's father "Grandpa Clem" passed, Washburn Enterprises began to fade. It was not that his adoring family did not want to uphold his legacy, they simply did not, could not, share his passion for raising cattle. I know because of many sleepless, tear-filled nights that if Laurie could have sustained her father's efforts on her own she surely would have done so.
Leroy continued, "Tell jokes to the folks, keep the conversation witty." I also see how our own parents are struggling with finding a solution to jobbing out their Blue Mountain RV Park and Trading Post. They would dearly love to work things out with a grandchild, but the timing looks all-wrong. Our children have ideas, hopes and dreams of their own, and they do not have anything to do with Trading-post-ology. No one else runs a business quite like Duke anyway, and no one else is as unrelentingly supportive and patient as Rose. So, the place will never be the same anyway. Transitions such as this are never easy, and are always rife with emotion.
The storm was now but a distant memory, and the sun dipped under the clouds just in time for us to witness a highly refractive sunset before it settled in for the night. The song ended with the refrain, "When it get's right down to the utter nitty gritty, who's gonna run the Truck Stop in Tuba City when I'm gone?" Therein lies the question, I thought to myself. After further contemplation, I have decided not to give it too much more thought. This business is the dream of my brothers and me. If one or more of our children discover a similar path, so much the better. If not, so be it. Our families have predicted they are going to have to haul us out of here feet first anyway, so let the last one standing decide who's gonna run the Trading Post and Cafe in Bluff City when we're gone.
With warm regards,Barry, Steve and The Team
Great New Items! This week's selection of Native American art!