Our dear friend and firefly employee, Miranda, wrote a beautiful blog on her website https://mirandarosevineyard.wordpress.com/ about feeling grief and gratitude all at once. Something we have all found to be feeling over the past year. Enjoy her words below!
Welcome back, fireflies! 😍

It’s been a looong time! Though, I understand that time is simultaneously intrinsic and individualistic, depending on our uniquely lived experiences. One of the reasons we’ve parted ways for so long is because we’ve been grieving one of our own. Losing firefly co-founder’s stepfather, Greg, to COVID, halted us. Time slowed while our management team questioned how to navigate through their deeply personal loss and the pandemic itself. We mourned together, but separately. We wept for the life taken too soon while celebrating the beautiful life he lived earthside. His mischievous smile was, for a lack of a better word, BIG. And when his sparkling eyes matched his handsome smirk, the room came alive with that contagious energy! We took a humbling pause to reflect on his life, our grief, our restaurant, and our commitment of safety for our employees and also our guests.

The first evening of our soft reopening, after being closed for moooonths, another well seasoned server and I stood back in mesmerized awe. We were transfixed by the well choreographed movements and sounds of our finely tuned kitchen staff. They were oblivious to our wonderment. We discussed how well everyone flowed together. It truly was an exquisite dance. There was dish, prep, expo, salad, dessert, fry cooks and other chefs. Sprinkled in were some food runners and a server or two. You’ve got a multitude of people in a very tiny area, working seamlessly, with the ultimate goal to create delicious centerpieces and beautiful experiences for our sorely missed firefly friends.

That bustling excitement has been contagious, and our guests have been responding with the same level of energy. I met self proclaimed “starving artists” who were on a cross country road trip from New Mexico, back home to Buffalo, New York, when their vehicle broke down. They had been living out of a cheap hotel for the past week, and were completely dependent on the gentleman who pushed them off the side of the interstate. They chose to trust the man they’d just met to fix their vehicle. (Thanks, Kenny!) Even with their state of limbo, they chose to support our own local artists and OUR local mom and pop places. They chose to find the good in the situation, and their refreshing perspectives genuinely left a positive impact on my life. “Our hotel window opens! Like really opens! All the way!” As cheesy as it sounds, talk about a breath of fresh air.

I met a college student with his adorable family. They were traveling from Florida, and heading back up north. Their doggo was pretty cute, too. This family was ECSTATIC by their mom’s online discovery of firefly. I was pretty animated, too. I got the privilege to greet them outside on BEAUTIFUL Easter Sunday. It wasn’t my scheduled section. The sun and the atmosphere, combined with my happiness and their eagerness to listen to what we provided, made for a genuinely memorable experience for all of us.

I’ve gotten pulled into hugs by past favorite ‘regulars’, brand new to me guests, and even the co-owner. That may seem irresponsible during this time of uncertainty amidst the pandemic, but let me assure you, they were needed. Those hugs were reassuring. They were life giving, even. They helped me understand where we’ve come from, and they helped me see that the light isn’t really quite so far away. So many of us have been responsible, for so very long, tucked away, hidden behind closed doors, with our mental healths acutely struggling. Spring has sprinted along, and alongside its showers and shine, we are now starting to see the growth. We are all emerging from winter’s long hibernation, tentatively stepping outside, peeking out from behind the safety we’ve all known this last year. We share in our uncertainty, but we are all also here, together. This is a new year for all of us.

As humans, we’re multifaceted. We can simultaneously experience grief, uncertainty, and gratitude. My outlook has been refreshed by the power of being acknowledged, and by having the awareness to also acknowledge others. Connection is vital to one’s health. I personally thrive on intimate encounters. Sometimes, they are as simple as an almost stranger pulling me in for a hug and calling me daughter. I know my, “Good morning!” hugs are vital to my own children’s health. My mom passed away long ago, so the simplicity in sharing loving touch and genuine affection after being secluded for so long, genuinely lifts my spirits, and for that, I am filled with utmost gratitude.

*I asked consent before sharing the story of our “starving artists”. I took initiative, and asked for the painter’s web site. He shared it with me, and I’ll share it here in hopes that his art and ‘go with the flow’ spirit also inspires you. http://richardolsonartist.com