written by: Bradley Jean
The last three Summers we have joyfully spent our time at George’s Farmers Market, every year it being picture perfect. Fresh corn on the cobb, juicy watermelon, peaches for making ice cream and the tastiest tomatoes you can find in East Alabama, told to us often by our happy customers.
And all this goodness was being sold in our family store on our farm. A setting like no other filled with luscious grass and corn fields, kids and moms and dads and strawberry ice cream and cold bottle soda and smiles and laughs and that sweet farm feeling that’s hard to come by. It was beautiful and good and we loved every minute of it.
Each 4th of July, we would close up shop tired but happy and thankful for our customers and the good work we did. We would meet over at our family cabin, just in time for barbecue, and shoot fireworks over our pond. It was sweetly southern, and we’d soon head home, to rest and prepare to open back up the following day, all 5 of us.
This year is quite different, as we have taken a back seat to a large endeavor. We will head to Montgomery today to attend a minor league baseball game with the Montgomery Biscuits. There are many nostalgic things about being American including farming, but baseball, I have no words to explain its greatness in our history.
One huge thing I learned from owning George’s is that you have to create what you want. My husband wanted to sell produce, so he created a store. I wanted to market the fire out of it, so I created George’s and a rooster to go with it. Together we created a fun space for families that told a story, and all these things together created life and community beyond our wildest dreams.
The Farmer and I would joke often saying, “We’re living the dream!” We would laugh and keep moving and keep working towards good. It is an American dream. To own your own business and work hard and serve the people around you. The greatest piece of an American puzzle is the story and I loved our story, every minute of it.
What we created at George’s was next to perfect, but as a result, what was created at home was tension and weight. I’m not one to seek confrontation, so I assumed it would just fix itself and get better. Until one day my good husband said, “Honey, I think we need to change things up for our family.”
I didn’t want our story to end and praise the good Lord it’s not.
One of our greatest freedoms is that of choice. We can choose to create whatever our hearts desire. We have a choice to create what life we want for our family. We have the freedom to take dreams and ideas and visions and put them into practice. We can choose to create whatever story we want, despite circumstance and obstacles.
We were given a choice, to continue with our pristine chartered path, or to change it into something better for our family. Better did not equal easy and better did not equal guaranteed, but we chose better.
Our founding fathers wrote, that among our rights are “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Can I get an Amen that these guys found this to be so valuable they put it in the very beginning of our Declaration of Independence?
Thank you, Benjamin Franklin. Thank you, Samuel Adams. Thank you, John Hancock. You gentlemen knew exactly what we need to hear some 200 years plus later.
The life we create is up to us. It is our liberty and freedom to pursue happiness.
This is the new path we are choosing for our family. We hope closing our store isn’t permanent, but it could be. So we start a new chapter and a new journey, one that has been imbedded in me since I was 4 years old. No lie.
It’s funny how you have vivid memories of things that happened in your past that directly tell your future. I do not have a good memory at all, but one that holds true and has been with me all these years is this…
I’m very young and sitting in a tiny rocking chair in my grandparents tiny living room in Birmingham, AL. I have the eyes and attention of everyone in the room, and I’m rocking gently back and forth and telling a story. A made-up story filled with many words and expressions and emotions. I don’t know what the story was, but I remember how much I loved sitting in that chair and telling it. I remember my grandparents smiling back at me in delight. I remember the joy I felt sharing something from deep inside of me. I can recall this event as if it was yesterday. I can close my eyes and see myself right back into that moment. This vision has played on repeat like a tape player ever since.
I have had stories upon stories laid upon my heart for years, with no where for them to go and no time to get them out. I have dreams too wild to mention of places to visit and lives to share. Real lives. I stay awake at night itching to tell the good and the hard stories of life. It’s endless.
I have no idea what this future will hold. It’s not going to be easy and there’s no guaranteed success.
But I’m going anyways. Trusting from the deepest part of my soul that this path is good. I’m choosing life and I’m choosing to pursue happiness. My friend Lauryn taught me this. We are not always equipped with joy, but somehow we find it and put it on, so we can spend our days enjoying what we have.
Welcome to George’s Journal. Where the possibilities, freedoms and pursuits are endless. Where stories great and small can be shared. Where laughter can be written into the same space at tears. Where food and family will always be a foundation for life.
What story do you want to create for your family?
What is your pursuit of happiness?
We have a choice of beautiful new beginnings, and we choose that.