A series of anecdotes with or without any connection to the running of a restaurant.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Today, I cried...

I was working in the kitchen at around 11.3o am. I got a phone call from the butcher.
I thought: "He can't deliver the meat before we start service! I can't believe it! Bloody deliveries! Never there when you need them!"
And then I remembered that his delivery girl had already been at 10am.
"What does he want now?"
And then I remembered that Eric, our butcher was in hospital with pneumonia.
I picked up the phone.
Eric's right hand man, Dave was on the line.
"I've rung to tell you that Eric died at 10.30 this morning! You're the first one I've told!"
I was floored!
I mumbled all sorts of incoherent stuff. Like: "I just spoke to him on Tuesday! And he sounded ok!"
I put the phone down. Adam had heard my reaction. I told him Eric had passed away. He was shocked.
By the time I walked from the bar to the kitchen, my eyes had welled up and I had to force myself to tell Kevin the bad news.
I left him standing and locked myself in the office.
Eric had been my butcher for the last twenty years. He knew our entire restaurant history and followed us along our tiny expansion. The latest addition, Casa del Mar gave him nightmares because he knew we required Spanish things. But he researched the whole thing and managed to get us exactly what we needed.
When you deal with someone who knows exactly what meat or poultry to send you to ensure that you satisfy your customers, it is hard not to build a bond with him. We talked often about other things than meat. Like the French house his wife had bought two years ago and renovated for their retirement. Eric had always worked hard with very little time for holidays but he had just begun enjoying the odd week near Le Mans. And we compared notes about my own escapades to the Costa Blanca.
"You should start driving there, you know and then you and Karen could stop at ours for a night or two!" He often said.

Eric often commented:"I'd love to have a few more customers like you! I know exactly how much you need from one week to the next! You never complain. You don't give me grief!"
"It's because you give me exactly what I ask for, Eric!"

True enough, if I found something wrong with one of his products, he replaced it instantly.
We totally trusted each other. If he happened to forget to include an invoice in his monthly statement, I just added it to the total. If he found that he had overcharged me, he simply phoned and deducted the difference from the next bill.

Over the years, I have had many other butchers and meat companies offer me free samples to try and get me to buy from them. The answer has always been the same. "I am happy with Eric!"

This morning all this played out in my mind.
I cried!


Blogger Brian the Mennonite said...

Eric sounds like a good man...a life well-lived.
I'm sorry for his family's loss. You included.
Shared mourning is good, natural, and healthy. Thanks for letting us in, Cream.

12/2/06 3:44 AM  
Blogger merlinprincesse said...

To cry is a good thing when you loose a friend. Let it go! Sending you lots of good thoughts! For you and all his friends!

12/2/06 5:59 AM  
Blogger isay said...

i am sorry for your loss and for his family, too.

12/2/06 10:27 AM  
Blogger DCveR said...

Sorry for your loss cream.

12/2/06 12:16 PM  
Blogger juliana said...

Crying is good. You feel better afterwards. Sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. I wish there were more people like him in the world.

12/2/06 2:31 PM  
Blogger Caroline said...

He sounds like he is a loss on many fronts for you - as both a person and part of your business. Pneumonia can still take people with little notice - its how my mother died.

I send my condolences to all.

12/2/06 3:56 PM  
Blogger Janet said...

I am so sorry, for you and for Erics' family..

12/2/06 5:16 PM  
Blogger Wendy said...

Oh that is sad...I am sorry. What a tragic thing - imagine dying from pneumonia in this day and age. I don't get it. And his poor family...darn that sucks.

12/2/06 6:00 PM  
Blogger Viking054 said...

Sorry Cream. It's not easy losing a good friend like that.

12/2/06 10:30 PM  
Blogger Guyana-Gyal said...

From me and my ma, our deepest sympathies, Cream. The suddeness of it makes it even worse. How is Eric's wife?

13/2/06 12:11 AM  
Blogger Hayden said...

I am so sorry. my heart hurts to hear this.

13/2/06 12:54 AM  
Blogger hobbes said...

I'm so sorry to hear that Cream

13/2/06 4:33 AM  
Blogger cream said...

Thank you all for your kind words.
Eric's passing away goes to show that nothing is eternal and we really have to seize the day.

13/2/06 9:04 AM  
Blogger Toni Kelly said...

Please accept my sympathies for you and Eric's family.

13/2/06 12:11 PM  
Blogger Christine said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, Cream.

13/2/06 2:32 PM  
Blogger wandering-woman said...

I, too, was sorry to read this, cream. I'm with brianthemennonite, sounds like a life well lived. A wonderful role model for all of us...

13/2/06 8:09 PM  
Blogger ValGalArt said...

oh Cream, I am so sorry! I know this must have been so painful to even write... but you are so correct about seizing the day and Thank You for sharing this and reminding us!

14/2/06 5:49 AM  
Blogger cream said...

Thank you all for your kind words!

Yes, Val this comes to remind us to seize the day. I was worried about getting away for two weeks but Eric's passing has reminded me that anybody can be done without.

14/2/06 8:28 AM  

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