The Occasions Lady and The Deer Versus The Parsonage Chef
by Audrey Poff, illustration by Brittney Osborn
What do you get when a chef taking a leisurely bike ride in the park and a deer collide? Venison stew or a trip to the emergency room, depending on who came out on top.
One of my favorite things about working in Downtown Jonesboro is the sense of community that comes with having a business located in the heart of the city.
Unlike other places where employees typically stay within their own building or office space, business owners and their employees in Downtown Jonesboro are more like neighbors. We know many of the downtown business owners, employees and residents, because we see them almost daily. Likewise, they know our work family and what is going on in our lives because we frequent downtown businesses and enjoy visiting with the owners and staff.
We share the excitement when someone downtown does well, and we support each other when times are challenging. Sometimes we laugh together and sometimes we cry together – it literally depends on the events of the day.
Most recently, there has been an outpouring of concern for the owners of The Parsonage in Downtown Jonesboro after a freak accident forced the business to shut down temporarily. After service at The Parsonage on May 23, Chef John Myers opted for a bike ride at Craighead Forest Park – something he does frequently when his work is done for the day. After 30 minutes or so of riding, he opted for a mountain bike trail in the park. As he descended down the trail, a young doe traveling the same path landed on the bike with him, temporarily hitching a brief ride between the chef and the handlebars.
In a split second, Chef John says he tried to brace for impact. Once no longer entangled, the deer ran away. The guttural sounds of the doe, the warmth of the animal and the musty odor of the whitetail deer, however, still linger in the chef’s mind as he recalls the accident.
Once he was able to stand, the chef gathered his belongings and looked at his right shoulder. The brunt of the impact had dislocated his shoulder toward the front of his chest, so he attempted to pop it back into place. Nauseated and in severe pain, he says he knew he would need to make it out of the woods and back to the roadside to make it possible for help to find him. Once out of the woods, he was able to call his wife, Ramey, to pick him up and take him to the ER.
For loyal patrons of The Parsonage, there have been no soups, no waffles, no sandwiches or brunch since the collision. With his shoulder broken in three places, surgery has been scheduled, but recovery will take some time. Myers, however, is not one who likes to be down for long. Like most small business owners, the day-to-day operation of The Parsonage is the couple’s passion and their livelihood. Metal plates and screws can hopefully help mend his broken shoulder, but it will take the support of the community to help propel the business forward during the next few weeks.
The couple says they have been overwhelmed at the outpouring of support and offers from the community to help since the accident. Ramey has responded to hundreds of calls and texts since the downtown business was forced to close temporarily. For a couple who prides themselves on serving others in the community, John describes the care and concern shown to them as a very humbling experience for which they are grateful.
In the spirit of the Downtown Jonesboro community, a GoFundMe account has been established to help defray medical expenses and loss of income. For those who wish to contribute, go to https://gofund.me/a36e6d00 or visit the GoFundMe website and search for Chef John Myers.