I really feel like I just wrote my 2019 post. It was a whole trip around the sun ago and as I wrote that one, 365 days ago, I never predicted how the following 365 would go.
We started out 2020 living in our RV, Ace. We were in Albuquerque, New Mexico, just for the night, on our way to Texas. We spent the next four months traveling through Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, Kentucky, and Ohio before heading back home to New York. In those 4 months, we explored national parks, like Big Bend and the Everglades, as well as the major cities in each state, like Houston and Miami. We visited friends, made new friends, and learned as much as we could. We experienced two tornados, one in San Antonio and one in Nashville. We saw bears, alligators, and wild boars. We ate like the locals whether that was puffy tacos, hush puppies, beaver nuggets, gumbo, or peach cobbler.
We came back to Rochester on April 1 to a pandemic, quarantines, isolation, social distancing, masks, gloves, and closures. We used our first month back to hunker down at home and fix the house that was destroyed while we were gone. There was a lot of work to be done. We waited until May to see our friends and take our lives back.
In June, Vanessa finished high school and was overwhelmed with deciding which path to follow. Together we decided that buying a business would be good for her. I applied for a home equity loan and we started the search for businesses for sale. James Brown’s Place accepted our offer in early August and it took over our lives. The kids and I started working there almost immediately. For three months, I learned all the ins and outs of starting a business, running a diner, and felt like I earned a law degree with all the “lessons” I ran across. Everything became official on November 9; we were proud new restaurant owners!
We fit a year’s worth of lessons in 2020 from November 9 through December 31 alone. Some of the hurdles we jumped in that time included burst pipes (yup, plural), grease trap floods (yup, plural), a gas leak, broken heat, and being declared in the “orange zone” by our governor and therefore eliminating indoor dining. Even those things can’t hold back the Joyce family, we put on our (waist high, waterproof) boots and trudged through- and actually had fun doing so!
*The Joyce kids at James Brown’s Place, 2020