2021 is over and it’s about time to get you an update. It was such a busy year and it felt like it flew by. It wasn’t without its ups and downs.
On the family front, 2021 started out a little rough in the Joyce household. Rebecca was dealing with some mental health issues and behavioral issues that caused a lot of stress and drama in the house. She was the one going through it, but it was hard on everyone, especially the other kids. The changes came on quickly and escalated quickly until March when she left home. We hated to see her go, but it brought peace back to our home. Unfortunately things haven’t been going well for her since she left, hopefully 2022 will be less of a struggle for her. Vanessa thrived in 2021, she began waitressing which came naturally to her. She turned 21, got her license, and is off having fun with friends more often than not. Julian turned 18 and has really become a man. He takes such good care of his Momma and sisters and has become a natural at the diner, both behind the grill and with the customers. The “three littles” aren’t so little anymore. Joanna is 16, Jazmine is 15, and Allena will be 14 this month. They’ve become so responsible and grown up. They work at the restaurant and enjoy “sibling dates” on their days off where Vanessa drives all the kids to dinner and a movie. The girls get all dressed up and do their hair, they’re very typical teenagers.
We spent a lot of our time at the restaurant in 2021. I think the experience of owning the diner and working together on it has brought us closer, if that’s possible. The kids who aren’t working, will walk down to eat breakfast together when the weather is nice, sometimes even when it isn’t. They’ve always gotten along well, but this seems to have added a layer of respect and compatibility amongst them. We took some time off in the fall for a family vacation which included crossing “Kingda Ka” off of their bucket lists. It’s the tallest and fastest rollercoaster in America and we missed out on going there when covid hit. I even rode it, although only once for me.
James Brown’s had a big year as well. It was our first full year in business. We started the year out in “the orange zone” which prevented us from having dine in customers. We took that opportunity to make some changes like clearing it out, cleaning, getting a new fire suppression system, redoing the floor, etc. We started using Doordash and GrubHub. In the spring, we replaced the kitchen floor right down to the studs and ended up having to replace the walls as well. We’ve gotten a lot closer to opening up the back area. We finished connecting the two buildings; the bathrooms are built and ready for the public; the gas, electric, and water is run to the back; and the doorways are cut and finished, waiting for customers to walk through them. I feel like each day we make a little more progress on the path to where we’re going. More important than the expansion, are our guests. I’m thankful to have met some really great people in 2021. Getting to talk to and develop a relationship with my customers has been such a blessing. It’s what makes my work feel like less a job and more of an opportunity.
I’ll promise not to let another year go by before the next update from me. Stay tuned and subscribe or follow me for a notification of the next post, which will be about my goals for 2022.
*pic is Patrick. He joined our family in 2021 and is the sweetest, most loving little boy