It's More than Just Great Food For Us
Flannery O’Connor said it best, “A good man is hard to find.” God knew what He was doing when He brought Kelly Dalton into our lives. God has put my husband, our daughters, and me on the greatest adventure!
The story begins on our honeymoon on our way to North Carolina. Kelly leaned over and said, “Amy, I want to ask you something?” I intently listened as my husband shared his heart. He endearingly said, “I have always wanted to have a restaurant; that dream has become more and more pressing since the closing of Dalton’s and Ember’s. I don’t know that I ever will. I just want to know if I decide to do this, will I have your support.” Seeing the joy of my husband’s face to share his dream, made me realize more the treasure of a man he is. I responded, “If it’s something that will make you happy, then go for it. I’ve learned life is too short not to be happy.”
The next day Kelly and I are walking around in the small quaint town of Brevard, North Carolina. We walked into a little shop, and there hung on the wall 2 pictures of chickens. My favorite was the crazy-haired chicken, and the serious, calm, and collected chicken, definitely emulated Kelly’s personality.
I had a few things in my hand, and while I was walking around, Kelly told me he would go outside to wait on me. As I stood in line, I looked back at the paintings. I walked over and picked the serious chicken off the wall as a gift for my husband. As I got to the counter, the lady began to tell me that a local girl painted each animal, naming them, and all proceeds from the sale went to the local Boys and Girls Club. She turned the picture over and said, “Ah, you chose Melvin.” I smiled, finished paying, and walked out the door.
I walked up to Kelly, sitting on a bench, and said, meet Melvin. He said, “Amy, you didn’t.” I said, “Eh, consider it your first piece for when you officially decide to open the restaurant.” He said, “But you like the crazy looking one.” I told him it wasn’t about what I wanted but what he wanted.
We continued walking and went into a toy store where I was buying some things for the girls. Kelly slipped off for a minute, and upon his return, he looks at me, holding up the other chicken painting, and says, “Meet Carl.” I laughed, asking why in the world he did that. His response, “Melvin fits me in all my seriousness, Carl…. well, he fits you.”
We have since created sandwiches for the NEW Dalton’s Restaurant—one being called the Melvin, grilled to perfection, and the other Carl, of course, will be a bit spicy. The two paintings of Melvin and Carl will be hanging in the restaurant. They will serve as a staple in Dalton’s as a reminder of who Kelly and I are; the serious Melvin is Kelly, and me being Carl with all my craziness. Opposites certainly do attract.
Little did we know, though, that on June 6, 2022, a huge part of our world would quickly turn to ash. Kelly and I stood there that night and watched the smoke billow from the roof as firefighters fought to tame the beast that tried to defeat us. Notice I say, “The beast that tried to defeat us.” You see, that night we stood there watching and waiting, wondering, scared of what we would do. We had not only our own family to worry about, but we also had our employees, who, in all honesty, are our family too.
Fast forward sometime later, with the reopening of our “home location” on Rowland Drive, and we are still surviving.
Isaiah 61:2-3 says,
2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,
And the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all who mourn,
3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”
The beast did not defeat us, and from the ashes, Carl and Melvin, as you can all see, made it, and now hang as a reminder to us that we made it through.
From the beginning of our dream becoming a reality on March 15, 2021, until the night of June 6, 2022, when Kelly and I stood in fear, not knowing what was to come, we now stand firm in glorifying the Lord; from the opening of Dalton’s Downtown to the addition of Dalton’s Catering since the fire. What burned into ashes that night has now turned to joy because the spirit of heaviness is no longer our cross to bear.