The Maple Tree is going to sleep for the winter, and the group of six who started out talking, are now doing. They are working through the winter and planning a Grand Opening for Sally’s Restaurant come spring.
And Joyce is leaving them to their destiny.
A Recap, plus the next job for Twinkie.
August, the hottest month of summer: yet in Ollie’s backyard the maple tree held out its arms, and its leaves, delicate green umbrellas, held the six people beneath in cool comfort—with the help of the ice cubes in their glasses.
Besides offering relief from the heat, the tree was a haven from the cares of the world and beneath it, a soft place to fall for the six people who had taken a hit in recent years.
At first, it was for them, coffee, iced-tea, a snack, and occasionally vino in celebration when someone had a breakthrough—like Simad, who published a book.
One day, Shal suggested that they meditate daily for one week to see what would come of it. One week, they could manage that, no matter how much their brain complained or chattered to them.
From that week of meditating, Twinkie got the courage to go for what she had dreamed of—to become a glassblower. “Not the little trinkets," she told them, "but learning to use the big kilns, the blow rod, and make large objects like sculptures and vases." She signed up for classes at the coast, which meant an hour-and-a-half drive each Saturday.
It turned out that the teacher was as appealing as the learning.
Life happens. It circles, grows, develops, and over the weeks, with us acting like a fly on the wall and me as a recorder, we listened as six people shared their “Conversations Under the Maple.”
And then came Sally's tears.
Sally's business was going under. The group who thought that Sally's Italian cooking deserved a Michelin Star, decided, after much deliberation, to join in rebuilding her business.
Harvey had property. Shal had negotiating skills, and with the funds left over after all bills were paid, Harvey and Shal chose to build an Industrial kitchen for Sally. She would have an inside kitchen and an outside restaurant, such as meals served in the courtyards and vineyards of Tuscany.
This would be a shareholder business, with the group providing grunt equity as a buy-in.
"Italian food!" exclaimed Alan, the glassblower and now Twinkie's romantic interest, "Who doesn't love Italian? I could build a wood-burning oven for her. Pizza and focaccia bread baked in a wood oven, slathered with olive oil and salt—it makes my mouth water."
"I got my start on Kickstarter," Alan told Twinkie.
Twinkie knew he was still making globes, such as the Japanese glass floats, as rewards for people who pledged funds. His goal was met, and he got funded. Kickstarter is an all or nothing endeavor. The applicant’s goals are either met or it’s a no-go.
With his funds, Alan rented his space, built a kiln, bought equipment, and now, besides selling projects, he teaches classes.
He suggested to Twinkie that she write a Kickstarter project for funding and support as she builds a website, writes a blog, creates advertising, and markets Sally’s Restaurant.
All this was brought to life by a group of people who one day decided to meet, support each other, heal, and share their lives.
P.S. To read the 10 installments of "Conversations Under the Maple," please go to
P.S.P.S. An ad: “Hundreds of headlines from AI."
I will stick with my crappy ones thank you very much.