The Diner Dream
Becomes A Reality

Dateline: 1 January 2015

Well, I’m finally back to blogging here after my nearly-two-month absence. I left to focus my writing efforts on my son and daughter-in-law’s GoFundMe campaign. If you have followed the campaign, and read the 27 Updates that I posted there since November 5th, you have pretty much continued to read this blog, though in a different format.

I wrote about my family. I reminisced about people I knew and events that happened in my life decades ago. I even wrote about the rutabagas I grew this year in my garden. Oh, and I posted some updates about Jimmy & Bekah’s Diner Dream, telling how the gifts that so many people gave were being used.

And if you have read the Updates, you know that I have not been idle in my Deliberate Agrarian blogging absence. I made a new Specials chalk board at the diner. I helped my son remodel the restroom. Then we launched into some renovations to the dining room, which are ongoing (we will be working there all day today and tomorrow). For those who haven’t read the GoFundMe updates, here are a few pictures (click on pictures to see enlarged views)…

The "specials" chalk board before.
The new "specials" chalk board.
The restroom was dark and stark before we made it
look like you see in this picture. We put in a new
sink, new lighting, new mirror, new ceiling, new
flooring, new exhaust fan, new baseboard and
wainscot paneling. We also rerouted the ugly
exposed copper water pipes into the wall.
This is a before view of one section of the dining room,
with the wallpaper border removed.
This is an after-view of the other half of the dining room.
Note the wide baseboard, beaded wainscot paneling, and
chair rail molding. There are now sills on the windows,
and the fresh coat of paint is refreshing, to say
the least. Marlene is making new valence curtains.
And speaking of rutabagas, here are some that I
harvested from my garden in November.

Reflections on the GoFundMe Campaign

The GoFundme campaign for Jimmy & Bekah's Diner Dream officially raised $4,005. Around $500 more came into the project in the form of checks and cash. I kicked off the campaign with a $500 donation. So, if I take that out of the equation, the campaign actually raised $4,000. 

The gifts ranged from a low of $5 to a high of $300 (from a person who gave twice). Readers of this blog gave approximately half of the money that came into the campaign.

From an analytical perspective, I was surprised by the response of blog readers. I expected to get a lot of smaller donations, like in the $20 (give or take) range. That's what I would typically give if a blogger I followed had a similar fund-raiser. But in the final analysis, we received some such donations, along with a few much larger ($50 and more) donations.

The other surprise was the $680 in donations that came from high school friends, some of whom I have not seen or heard from in 40 years (Class of '76). 

Not surprising were the gifts that came from family members ($530), and the gifts that came from friends of Jimmy and Bekah, including diner customer friends ($795).

The comments that came with the donations were very nice to read, ranging from the note (and $10 check) from Chuck and Carole, an older couple who reads this blog out in Kansas, to regular diner customer, Linda G., who wrote:

"This place is my home away from home, not just because of the good food, but your family makes me feel like family."

It is worth noting here that Linda G. was at Jimmy & Bekah's wedding back in May of this year, as were several other non-family customers of the diner. 

There is a "community aspect" to operating a small-town, rural diner. You get to know your regular customers pretty well. They become a part of your life, and you become a part of theirs.  It is something rare and special in this world of social disconnections. It is powerfully endearing. I expect to write more about it here in the future.

In nearly 16 years of Deliberate Agrarian blogging, I have never asked for help from readers of this blog for my family. This GoFundMe campaign was a first. I took some criticism for doing it, but I sure don't regret it. It has been a great experience. However, I don't forsee doing anything like this again.

With that in mind, I'd like to say thank you very much to everyone who reads this and donated to Jimmy & Bekah's Diner Dream. When I left blogging here back on November 5th, I wrote that this project was important to me... and you responded with your generous donations. Your donations truly made a big difference. Jimmy & Bekah were able to do some things to get ready for their new opening that they otherwise wouldn't have been able to do. 

The new Glenside Diner in Moravia, NY will be opening for business on January 6th. We have lots to do before then to get everything shipshape. And it's time for me to get to work down to the diner on this first day of the new year.....


If you are interested in reading the 27 GoFundMe updates I wrote, you can find them by going to the Diner Dream Campaign web page. The most recent Update is at the top of the campaign. At the bottom of the Update, you will see a link where you can click "Show More." When you do that, several previous Updates will show. You can keep clicking "Show More" and go all the way back to Update #1. The screen shot below shows where to click.


Jim said...

Happy New Year and congratulations to your son and his wife on making great progress and the upcoming opening of the café. I know how much hard work goes into this type of endeavor as I opened and operated a small café several years ago. Good luck and God bless to you all in the upcoming year.

Everett R Littlefield said...

Hey Herrick, Am I glad to see a new blog here! I have come here every day since you went "on vacation" as it were, to see if you were back. Kept trying to find the Update site but never could get it to come up. Oh well, maybe I can get to it now and read them in retrospect.

The diner looks wonderful and apparently much 'lighter' than before. I love diners of all sorts and make sure to hit a couple on the mainland every time I'm over there in America.

So again, where should I go to read all the Update posts? I'm getting more senile by the day I think!

Herrick Kimball said...

Thank you. Yes, God bless us all (meaning all who read this) in 2016.

Well, I'm glad to be back here. Sorry you missed the Updates. I have added a picture and explanation to the bottom of this blog post, telling how to get to the 27 Updates I posted to the GoFundMe campaign.

Thank you very much for the last minute donation. It is very much appreciated!

I'm curious... On average, how many times a year do you get over to America?

Elizabeth L. Johnson said...

I have missed your blogs so much! Then I saw where you would come back after the end of the gofundme. Oh, was I glad. And I didn't realize there were blogs on your gofundme. Thanks for including the directions Everett asked about. I can't wait to read them. I'm pleased to see your pictures and the happy young couple; especially off on a good foot. You know that all your writings boil down to one thing: how Americans have lost touch with one another; the lack of relationships. I see this wonderful Glenside diner as a ministry to help people get back together for relationships. A noble purpose, indeed. What satisfaction that will bring in the midst of their hard work. Isn't that what we are down here on earth for: to regain relationship with the Father and with each other.

Chris said...

Glad to see you back. Now the countdown is on to January 6. It's January 3 in Australia, today. :)

I really liked what you both did to the bathroom. Is there only one toilet, or are there more? Can you perhaps explain a little more, for your overseas readers, what a diner is? I've seen them in movies, where they're often smaller than a cafe, in a demountable style building. Is there a special history behind "diners" in the US?

Everett R Littlefield said...

Hi Herrick, Well it all depends how how many times one or both of us have doctors appointments, operations on the machinery, or got on the boat by accident! Other than those reasons I don't bother going there just to be there! Of course when we go for a Dr's appt, we manage to stuff in a lot of grocery shopping etc, as a gallon of milk is about $6.25 here an glad you're back! Everett

Herrick Kimball said...

Hi Elizabeth—

The GoFundMe Updates were pseudo blog posts. Not the real thing. :-)

You are right about a small-town diner serving as a vehicle for developing community relationships. It just happens naturally if you are a regular customer. I'm amazed at all the local people (older people in particular) that James knows on a first name basis. And he doesn't just know their names. He seems to know their life history too!

There is (or can be) a definite ministry aspect to owning a diner. By that I mean that you are in a position to be a blessing to people who are lonely (as many single older people are) and come into the diner for some human contact, as much as food. That's just one way that comes to mind.

Bekah told me recently about an old man who lived alone and came in every morning for breakfast. One day he told her that he had prescription eyedrops but he couldn't put them in his eyes himself. He asked her if she would help him. Well, she was glad to help him and every morning after that when he came into the diner, she put eye drops in his eyes. That's a powerfully endearing story.

I'm not tapped into the "diner culture" of my town, like Jimmy & Bekah are, but the more I hear, the more I realize that the two of them, via the diner, are weaving themselves into the fabric of this community is a very good way.

Herrick Kimball said...

Hello Chris—

It's tomorrow in Australia already? That's amazing.

We're cramming to get ready for the 6th. I worked on the dining room for 13 hours today. Mostly painting. My middle son, Robert, helped me for 5 hours. Then Marlene helped later in the day for awhile. James & Bekah focused their efforts on the kitchen. Now that it is "their" kitchen, they are purging it of clutter and doing some deep cleaning.

As I was in the dining room painting by myself this evening, and they were working together in the kitchen, it was obvious to me from the banter and discussion that they were having a grand time. It did my heart good to know that they were working as a team. Precious few married couples in our day and age actually work TOGETHER every day. That family economy thing makes me happy every time I see it in action. :-)

Yes, there is only one restroom and one toilet. It's a small diner.

I'm afraid that I'm not much of an authority on diners, so I'm unable to define exactly what one is. I better do some research on this subject. It is, essentially, a small, informal restaurant. Maybe it's much the same as a cafe. The "classic" American diners that you see in movies are a different kind of structure. The Glenside is a regular wood frame building, like a house. As I'm writing this it occurs to me that one of the things that might define a diner is that they mostly serve just breakfast and lunch. I'll be Googling "diner" shortly....

By the way, I would assume that Chris is short for Christine? And that you and your husband are the "Australian dreamers" who so kindly donated to the Diner Dream. That was a real surprise. Thank you again!

Herrick Kimball said...


Hmmm. I hadn't considered the medical care (or lack of it) aspect of living on an island. With that in mind, I hope you don't need to get to the mainland very much this year.

Another question... I assume you have a car and take a ferry. Does the ferry make the trip from America to your island every day? And how long does it usually take for the trip?

Chris said...

We are the same Australian dreamers, though I'm sure there must be many in our country. :)

You guessed my name correctly too. My family, pretty much call me Chris though. Kind of like how James became Jimmy. They're interchangeable, but the shortened version probably gets used the most. I know it does in my family.

Thanks for the explanation on diners. I know they're a place to eat, but wondered what the specific variance is from cafe or restaurants. I'm not sure if we've ever caught on to calling food vendor establishments, diners, in Australia. So that's why I wondered if they had developed uniquely from US history. My husband is a chef, and he's fortunate to have a job where they don't serve past 6pm. That way he can get home at a reasonable hour. So its good that Jimmy and Bekah can have time for each other in the evenings.

Though they will most likely be doing other business related things. It's good they can work together. :)

Chris said...

PS: I was satisfied with your answer on diners. I hope I didn't make it sound like I wasn't.

Ezekiel Mossback said...

MR. Kimball,

Merry Christmas! And thank you for this story. Many of us for some reason think it's bad business to rely on help from others. This is ridiculous and prideful. We all depend on God's will in every moment, and Jesus says He (and thus His will) is present to us in our neighbors. To be too proud to ask for help from our neighbors is to be too proud to ask God for help.

Thank you for your witness to faith in God! And a witness of humility and love for neighbor.

Merry Christmas!

Joshua Mincher

Nick L said...

My 2 cents on diners; they usually have counter service with stools that swivel (a great memory when you are a kid cause you get to spin around while waiting for your food). You can always smell fresh coffee brewing. They have great pie. The waitresses are fun and will call you by name or come up with a nickname for you if you are a regular, otherwise they call you sweety, darlin or babe. If you go into one where the grill is behind the counter you will be amazed as the cook uses every inch of the grill filling multiple orders at the same time. Before I became lactose intolerant I loved the milk shakes served in a tall heavy glass.

Nick L