I have heard that song title sung to me many many times over the years in reference to my first name. But none I remember who it came from, except one. It came out of a very young girl’s mouth. She was dressed in funky clothes and I believe she was sporting a cigarette. I was a waitress or maybe the manager at Arnold’s and was leaving work one night. She was sitting at a table right by the bars front door, looked up with her cute little face and just blankly said “Help Help Me Ronda”. The bar all cracked up and even I laughed. Usually I say something like, “Gee, I have never heard that before”. I think we were all amazed this radical girl even knew the song.
Laura is a great customer’s daughter, Pat Harrell. Over the years Laura came and went and was no special big part of my life. That is until 8 years ago. It was a wonderful time and a bad time in my life. I was getting married and trying to recover Arnold’s from the 2001 riots (which took nearly 4 years before seeing a slow upward swing). Laura worked at a place called Mullane’s which did not survive the riots. She was looking for a job and called me a few days before I was to go on my honeymoon. I said I hope you can hold on, I would love for you to work for at Arnold's. Because things always happen for a reason, Laura came to work at Arnold’s the week I went on my honeymoon. I’m not even sure what she started out as, busser, host or server. She worked her way up to bartender and then to manager.
Laura will be leaving us today. She wants to start another chapter in her life. Her daughter is growing up and life is way too short. I knew for a long time Laura needed a change but I didn’t want her to leave. Laura came to me and said she needed something else, she needed to leave Arnold’s. This was a tough decision for Laura and I am proud of her for making it. She is leaving for what is best for her and her family. Restaurant life is hard and sometimes you just need a change of pace even if it is to another restaurant with a different position or different hours.
Early in this blog post I wrote “this radical girl” by that, I mean Laura has passion and heart the size of an elephant. When she lives life she lives it like there is no tomorrow. When there is a cause or a person she cares about we all hear it loud and clear. When she loves you, she hugs and kisses you. When she’s pissed at you, you always know, she talks it out and gets on with it. I trust her with my business and my heart. She, like a daughter I never had, pulled at those heart strings many many times. My heart strings were pulled when she said she had to go but I knew it was time.
Laura knows, like a family member she will always have a home at Arnold’s.