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Hats Off    |    by
Column dedicated to sharing news about community activities, service projects, and other events that are important to the life of the residents of our "mountain."

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published on 11/05/2005

Hats off . . . to the GRAPEViNE

By staff writer

My daughter-in-law called the other day to check on her baby daughter. Feeling a little sad and missing her, she said she is really trying hard to live in the present, to accept things as they are.

After eight weeks of living the life of a stay-at-home mom, she is now back at work full time. Feeling blessed to have her mom, me and her husband, our son, as full-time caregivers during the work week, she still feels the pull to go back to the way it was a few weeks ago.

I can’t really blame her. Like her I’m beginning a new phase in life. I sometimes think I would like to go back to the way things were ten years ago. Ten years ago I had brown hair (yes, it was dyed) and no bifocals. Lunch with friends at a quaint restaurant in Reynolda Village was not unusual. I served on committees at my church, rang bells in a choir, and volunteered in the community for several organizations. And then we moved to Chattanooga . . . and as they say the rest is history.

Ten years ago this month our family opened the GRAPEViNE. Chinese philosopher Lao Tsu, an older contemporary of Confucius said, “To see things in the seed, that is genius.” I credit my husband for coming up with the idea that we start our own business. Together we invited our two oldest sons to join us in this venture and today we have three stores and a thriving family business.

I am proud of the GRAPEViNE but I am more proud of my family. And even though the other members of the family are not directly involved in the day-to-day running of the stores, their presence in our lives is vital to our success. I am also very grateful that we have, as a family, had the freedom to discover the wonder of all that we are capable of doing. Neighbors and friends we left were worried and afraid for us coming to a new community with no friends or network of support.

But as Hannah More Kohaus’ poem is titled, “I Am Stronger Than My Fears,” we never doubted that our decision was not right for us. We were never alone. And today we have become part of this community loving it like we grew up here. And so my life has changed as has the GRAPEViNE, and yet we are still the same. We may not have a big party or celebration but our family knows that ten years is important and so I say congratulations and thank you to my children Jennifer and Kevin, Jason, Brian, Daniel and Debbie (and baby Paige) but most especially the genius behind us all, my husband Mark. And of course, we couldn’t be where we are today without the Chattanooga community welcoming us with open arms. THANK YOU EVERYONE!!