hail Mary or ave ashley

For the first time in four months or so, I’ve been able to stop for a brief moment to take in the gravity of what happened in the same amount of time. A brief summary to follow, I believe we have a bright future ahead of us with Hail Mary. If anything, 2018 showed me that resiliency lies in our capacity to rise in the face of the toughest challenges, and that vulnerability can be one of our greatest strengths. Only when it seems there was nothing left to lose, did this become evident with any clarity. 

And while it’s still coming in to focus, I wanna start sharing our story. Who we are, and why we do what we do and so on. But in this moment I realized that I wanted to start with something personal because well, it is personal. 2018 was a swift fucking kick in the nuts. 2019 is the rebound. 

The desire to share the personal side of it comes from a hope that by doing so, others will find some inspiration, consolation, or whatever the hell they may find. It may also help with my own fight with mental health and emotional well being. Just know, dear reader, it is simply to be taken in, and taken for whatever worth you make of it. 

WIth that being said, I took the better part of the last couple of days to evaluate. There is no way to sum up all that went down (learning from failures, burned bridges and gasoline dreams, lost love, single parenting gone awry, transparent relationships, a return of brutal honesty, laughter at the absurdity of the spectacle, and a renewed sense of freedom and on and on and on…), so I will simply share an opening tidbit that has been on my mind. 

We closed Journeymen on August 20th, 2018. The previous Friday, I had finally seen weeks and months of stagnation culminate in some bold print writing on the wall. There were shitty phone calls, and a sense of “oh fuck” mixed with a tinge of relief. Journeymen was a project. An overly ambitious directive of three aspiring restaurateurs that for lack of a better description, simply forgot the fundamentals of hospitality in exchange for ideas and grandeur. But that’s not what this is about, that’s another story…

No, this is about a moment of slightly drunken and heavily stoned inspiration. A moment sitting with my best friend and lawyer. A man who finds as much comedy in the absurdity of it all as I do. In that moment, Hail Mary was born. A moment of letting go by deciding to show up in the face of adversity. Shit gets hard, real hard, and we all make mistakes. But you show up if you care. You follow through if you truly want it. 

What I didn’t realize until the other day, after four months of digging deeper than I ever have, was that we reopened on August 24th. On that day, my older sister would have been 46. She died in a car accident 18 years prior. Why this is special to me beyond the obvious is that my relationship with my sister taught me a lot about the importance of forgiveness, of moving on, of showing up for those you love, for the follow through when shit is tough. 

There is always just enough auspicious glimmerings when you need it. We all have those people, moments, reminders. Sometimes we are so buried in the avalanche of waves keeping us gasping for air that we can’t see it clearly, but it’s always there. We are also those beacons for others. We are tribes and family. We can inspire and love and show up for each other. Shine so bright the darkness will be overcome and walk right through it. 

It is the day to day showing up that is the toughest. In a world full of distractions and ways to pursue “happiness”, we forget that by facing the tough challenges, we become stronger, together. My sister, Ashley, was never afraid to deal with the intense or tough shit life threw at her, and she would do it with an infectious joy and a consistent laugh. She fostered community and care for those around her. I learned the importance of being challenged as support. That growth isn’t always easy. That facing our challenges, being real, is where beauty resides. 

I don’t need to wind this up with some clever tie in to Hail Mary. I’ll share more about us in other ways soon. I was working tonight after taking the last couple days off and spending time with my son instead of doing all the things I “should be” doing. Because at the end of the day, this will all pan out as it is supposed to. As I was working tonight on plans for the year, how to share who we are, how we got here, the turn around that Hail Mary has been, and all the other morsels, I realized that if 2019 was the year it gets personal, i should start by sharing what was going on in my head and heart tonight. 

Sandwiches and catering, podcast and opinions, some special dinners and cooking classes, and so much more to come. But tonight, this was just to open up to you, and let you know, it’s so much more than food or drinks. It’s about people and connections. It’s whatever you want it to be. So please, choose with love and care. 


a shitty pic mostly of me, but she always encouraged me to shine

a shitty pic mostly of me, but she always encouraged me to shine

david Wilcox