February 14, 2008
Swamp Scum, February 14, 2008
Thank you for your phone call yesterday. I do apologize, though.
I truly though when Jeff passed away, that I had contacted all of our Michigan Hot Sauce Club store vendors. Even though our conversation was brief, you really saved the day for me. Hearing how much you enjoyed talking with Jeff and your very accurate impression of him as an always happy, upbeat guy, was right on.
I remember when Hurricane Katrina hit, and he tried diligently for a few weeks to get a hold of you. He was relieved that you were ok, and mentioned some warehouse damage to me. As we watched reports of the devastation, Jeff was already wishing he could go down to New Orleans and help. Unfortunately, his health was already failing, and we knew that it was not a realistic goal.
Michigan Hot Sauce Club was founded for two main reasons. Jeff was disabled and could no longer work at his job, and the sitting at home was driving him crazy. He had a passion for hot sauce, and I really didn’t give him much choice in the matter. I just announced we were opening a hot sauce store and that was that. Jeff really enjoyed the camaraderie of the hot sauce world. He loved talking to vendors all over the country. He loved manning the store 3 days a week and talking to customers. Swamp Scum was one of our best sellers; a truly phenomenal product. Jeff and I came up with so many great ideas and unique ways to use Swamp Scum. I even made a green chili for a cook-off at work with it. Once folks got over the color, they loved it.
It sometimes still surprises me when I look back on how well things went for us during this difficult time. And it still surprises me, that even though I know God has a greater plan for each of us, how everything ends up connected.
You see, the reason that I am writing to you, is that Jeff was a dreamer. I think in his heart he knew he would never make it to New Orleans to help, but he talked about it often and even encouraged me to go without him. I did not. I was too afraid of leaving him. I wanted to have every second I could with him, because we knew that our time together would be short.
So just in case you are having one of those days where you’re wondering if what you do really matters, I am here to answer “Yes.”
If you had not sent Jeff that first sample box, we wouldn’t have had such a popular item in our store; we wouldn’t have felt that connection to Louisiana. Jeff would not have planted the dream of helping to rebuild New Orleans in my head. And I never would have made that significant healing trip. I don’t take it lightly that you happened to call on Valentine’s Day. It truly brought me joy to hear that you enjoyed speaking with him. I’ve heard from many vendors who only spoke to Jeff on the phone, and some who only knew Jeff from email, and so many of you have said the same thing. That it was always a pleasure to talk to him.
I am hoping to return to New Orleans with the same mission group, Get In The Car. There is a March trip, which I am not sure I can make, but I am really trying. There will also be an October trip, which I am committed to. If you are interested, you can go to www.getinthecar.org to learn more about the group, and to see pictures.
Wishing you continued blessings and great success.
Mrs. Jodi A. Korte
Posted by jaselin at February 14, 2008 01:48 AM