Only once a year, I have the opportunity to see my great niece little Miss Haley Marie Swanson who has recently turned 10. Her mother, Sgt. Lisa Marie Swanson has been in the US Army for 12 years, and has been separated from her two children on two separate occasions for over a year each time while serving in Afghanistan and Korea. The Swanson family now resides in South Carolina, and it makes it difficult to see the children. Miss Haley has come to visit here at the Bernards Inn since the age of 4. This is very special to her, as this is about the only time they are able to get away. Miss Haley and I love being together, and I would like to think I am an inspiration to her, I can tell you, she is the love of my life and truly inspires my world.
So, Haley comes to work with me, and we have our little ritual of having lunch at the same table every year. When I say have lunch, I should say when we order soup and bread. Haley loves our corn chowder, and even though she only weighs about 55 pounds, she usually will eat at least three pieces of our house made bread. She is always asking me to send our bread down to her home in South Carolina. You see, this is not a pitch about our bread or food, this is about creating the most special and treasured memories for a beautiful child and myself. Haley looks forward to coming to the Bernards Inn every year to sit at our special table, help me with wine deliveries, and meet some of our loyal patrons. She has learned how to crumb tables, pour sodas, pour wine (in our homes), and other details of the hospitality business. She loves to cook and bake, and likes to watch the Chef’s in the kitchen. So now it remains a tradition for us, and even some of our patrons will have me call them to make them aware when Haley will be visiting so they can arrange their schedule to be here.
I will continue to take pictures at our special table, and reflect back on these special times in a child’s life while seeing her grow in to a young women.