3641 – Monday, May 13, 2019

I had a great weekend.  Took Karen out for a Mother’s Day brunch at the Indian Head Restaurant in Balsam Lake.  Food was excellent.  It was a good thing that we had reservations because they were packed.  Coincidentally, Manfred Schonauer was playing there.  We had just been to Manfred’s Pipe Dream Music Center Saturday Night to see his “Peace, Love and Understanding Concert.”  Manfred lives in Comstock, Wisconsin.  The only bad thing about going to hear Manfred and his friends play is the drive home.  It is a very rural area between Comstock and Frederic.  You have to be extremely vigilant and keep your eyes peeled for deer or you will be wearing deer on your car.  We counted four separate groups of deer for a total of six deer on our way back to our home in Frederic at 9 PM.

Manfred is a unique individual and a treasure for the area.  He is a fantastic musician who epitomizes what I think are the two key qualities of greatness, whether for a performer, writer, artist, musician, chef, worker or business owner.  These two key qualities are passion and joy in their undertaking.  Watch any great singer or artist and you will see that when they work, they work with a dedication and intensity that goes beyond the norm.  The put their heart and soul into everything they do.  They strive for the peaks rather than just the average.  Nothing but their best will satisfy them.  But and this is a big but, despite their hours of practice, their intensity and their passion, they always seem to have fun with their efforts.  While many of us see such labors as a potential for mistakes and errors, people like Manfred are having too much fun with what they are doing to worry about the occasional errors or mistakes.  You can see this in the smiles on their faces.

Two things I really enjoy are food and music.  I once was living near a bakery in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, with some of the best pastry I had ever tasted.  One day when the bakery had some cannolis, (one of my favorite Italian pastries), I asked to speak to the baker.  Now I could understand having great Swedish pastry in Eau Claire, but I was surprised at finding great Italian pastry.  When the baker/owner came out, I told him how wonderful I thought all his pastries were and I asked him how he found his recipes.  He told me that once a year, he took a two-week vacation and he traveled all over the US, going to the best bakeries and talking to the bakers at each of these establishments.  He said that he loved finding new recipes and sharing his recipes in a quid pro quo.  This was a man who clearly had a passion and joy for what he was doing.

A few days ago, some of the guys at the library were complaining that at a local restaurant, they had some of the worst sausage gravy and biscuits in their lives.  Why, I wondered, would a restaurant serve something mediocre in a relatively inexpensive dish?  Have you ever had macaroni and cheese or a cheeseburger that uses a cheap generic cheese?  For just a little more money you can use an excellent two- or three-year aged cheddar.  You will be able to tell the difference and the difference will determine whether you have a great serving or an average serving.  Why not use the best you can?  We are not talking about a lot of money here.

The difference is more attitude than money.  It is more caring about what you do and wanting to do the best you can, whether it is performing, cooking or simply waiting on a customer.  How often have you been to a business where it seems like they wished you had stayed home?  “Don’t bother me, I am busy, I have no time for customers.”

I have been to many average restaurants and several wonderful restaurants. I almost always find that the best restaurants are family owned and not chains.  I also find that the owners are on-site making sure that everything is cooked right and that all the guests are very satisfied.  It is not unusual for the owner to stop at tables and check to see how things are going for their guests.  The average restaurants will have a survey on your table.  The poor restaurants will not even have a survey.  Greatness involves really caring about what you do.

“Greatness comes by doing a few small and smart things each and every day. Comes from taking little steps, consistently. Comes from making a few small chips against everything in your professional and personal life that is ordinary, so that a day eventually arrives when all that’s left is The Extraordinary.” — Robin S. Sharma

 

 

 

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Gladys Benson
    May 14, 2019 @ 14:27:24

    Nice – I enjoyed the read.

    Reply

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