Jan 11, 2012
January 11, 2012
I first met Jerry when he applied for work shortly after giving up his first restaurant, Cafe Krohn. It was a small place over on Newport Ave. I will admit being a bit intimidated by him at first as I knew he knew much more about the business than I did but I brought him on because I needed a good cook and his knowledge of the game might be beneficial.....and it was. Jerry openly shared his expertise never asking for anything extra in return.
He was quiet in nature but I would not call him a gentleman. There was a sort of rough side about him. Lets just say he had his opinion on things and was not afraid to let you know. I respect that in a person. But more important, he was an honorable man. When he said he would do something....it got done. And when he was working, I never had to worry. He would not be taking excessive breaks (contrary, I don't recall him taking any) and his plates or product was always done with care.
Jerry worked for me not once but twice. Neither time leaving on harsh terms. I believe that he felt it was just his time to move on. From time to time, Jerry would stop in to say hi. Always with a smile but more importantly, always with one or both of his kids alongside.
Jerry was a single parent. I never knew the reason only that it was evident that he loved them and just as he did his work, he knew that they were his responsibility......
I went to his service yesterday. I often speak in services like this one but for some reason, I could not form the words that were in my heart....I could only watch. I watched his children....his legacy as they picked out songs that reminded them of their father and they both spoke. Melissa had that spunk that I have often seen even as a young child and Jeremy.....well, it was like seeing a younger version of his father as he walked up to the podium. He spoke quietly but with a purpose as he related that as a youth, he did not want to be like his father working so hard, sometimes in three jobs but as he grew up into a man, he realized that he was and that being like his father was actually a pretty good thing.
I didn't realize until after his passing on that one of Jerry's last jobs was baking for the school district. I always knew his skill there, however, and as I looked at the kids, I could easily relate his job with them to those skills.
For a good baker must first take the ingredients and blend them carefully, his oven must be at the right temperature and his timing must be just right. If he does his job right, what comes out will be a great finished product. And Jerry's batches were always done well.
As I looked over at his kids....his legacy....I could not help but be impressed. I remembered back at how when he would come back into the diner, he always had one of them with him.....nurturing....teaching.....being a father. And I could see that these two would be OK.
Job well done, Jerry. You baked a good batch.