Last week, Jemil’s Big Easy food truck ceased operations. Saying goodbye is hard. Over the years, we become attached to businesses and at some point, we stop being customers and become family. Jemil always has a kind word and generous heart. He taught my son how to make pasta. He laughed at my jokes when they weren’t funny. He fed me more food than I can describe. I’m happy for him and the business but I wasn’t ready for it to be over.
I made it to the truck for their last day at Westlake Park. Each week, people choose to wait at Jemil’s instead of going to trucks with shorter lines. On their last day, a handful of us were there waiting for the truck. It was beautiful to see them pull up and wave at everyone. Candace and the rest of the staff said their goodbyes to customers with hugs, kind words, and pictures.
I bought tons of food that day – jambalaya, chicken strips, fried okra, red beans, and the last Snicker’s cake made by Diane. I think that’s the most food I’ve ever ordered off the truck at once. Okay. That may or may not be true.
That wasn’t enough. Although I had plans that Saturday, I moved things around so I could visit the truck one last time at the Des Moines Waterfront Farmers Market. When I arrived, Jemil was there getting set up. I heard a couple talking to him. He had catered their wedding years ago and they wanted a picture with him. I heard many stories that day as I sat and ate my last special – shrimp and grits, one of my favorites!
I know it’s not really goodbye because they’ll still do catering and are working on a restaurant. But, I’ve been hanging out at the truck for six years. It’s the end of an era and a new beginning. I can’t wait to see what’s next!