Monologues: Wake Up Your Dreams
This is a story about my oldest brother Arron and how he followed a dream of his . But first let me start by going back to when we were youngsters growing up in the little seaside village called Devonport...right at the heart of where my brother's dream is currently playing out.
So I've got two older half-brothers. We've got the same mum, but different dads - but I've never seen them as half anything. While Arron and Arlo had their dad around for many years until he sadly passed, my dad was never on the scene since I was born. And, to be honest that's never been an issue for me. There hasn't been a moment where I felt like there's something missing in my life or the urge to track down my father. The way I look at it, you can't miss something you never had. And what I did have were my rad older brothers to look up to and admire.
These two ratbags Arron and Arlo entertained me daily while growing up...and still do. From my very young years, there are countless memories that continue to make me smile today at the age of 31. From learning to skate on our ramp my middle brother Arlo built in our backyard, to stealing chocolate from mum's hiding spot (she at the time was making chocolate lollipops) and staying up late when Mum was out and my brothers were meant to be putting me to bed. One of my favourites was when the brothers thought it would be thrilling to try out some new WWF moves they'd seen Hulk Hogan do on TV and DDT me on the couch. I think I've finally got those lost brain cells back.
I had such a blessed upbringing even in amongst a backdrop of challenging times. The reality was our incredible Mum was bringing up 3 boys all on her own, while dealing with some fairly significant health battles. Talk about strength. Mum did what she knew best, that was to make her kids her priority and even today, she lives a life of service to others. It's inspiring and she continues to make such an impact on humans wherever she goes. Just the other day I got a random message from two foreign flight attendants that met mum on the ferry, to which Mum offered to be their personal tour guide around Devonport. That humble trait of being at service has flowed through our whole family.
We all have dreams and they're such a precious and beautiful thing when they're new and still obtain the world of possibility. As time goes by however we let circumstance stop us from turning that dream into a tangible reality and that dream starts to fade away and we simply accept that as part of life. And it would be fair to say by-and-large, that's what happens. It's a bummer. But for those that hold on to it strongly and don't let it slip away, the dream becomes a matter of when, not never. It's about waking the dream up at the right moment.
Arron's ultimate dream would have been to be a professional guitarist, playing alongside the likes of Slash from GnR's. From the age of 12 Arron has been shredding the guitar and he's exceptional (I'll get a video up on my social I have of him playing Bad by MJ). But there's another passion of his. It's coffee. That liquid gold we all crave and need daily. For quite a few years now Arron has wanted to open a little space where he can serve up some brews to the people and it's been a test of commitment to the dream mixed with a good dose of patience.
Timing is often the trick and it just so happened an opportunity came up to take over a humble spot in Cheltenham that needed an injection of some local love and personality. Arron and his brilliant wife Emma were just the right people to do it. The Cheltenham Milk Bar takes its cue from the good old 1970's where it's all about the shakes, services, and sipping on hot coffee. Then throw in some homemade cheese toasties, fresh pastries, locally made breads, smoothies, classic kiwi pies and gelato and you've got a slice of paradise that everyone needs to have on their weekend adventure list.
The location is prime too, a heartbeat away from the sensational Summer spot Cheltenham Beach so I can't wait to go for a dip and grab a chocolate milkshake to cool off after, and let's face it I'll be working some of my weekends helping out, it's a family business after all and even our mum is involved. She told me the other day she's been doing a fantastic job of advertising the Milk Bar, but I'm still the better looking ad man. The cheek of her!
The great thing about a small village like Devonport is the people. The locals rally together and support local initiatives, and the Barnetts have been around for quite a few decades so I'm always blown away but the number of people that rock in during my visits who know the family and are genuienly excited by this little corner store and the colour it brings to the neighbourhood. And when you get the kids' seal of approval, you know you're doing a good thing.
It's hard yakka setting up shop, taking the risks, figuring it out, finding the balance in what people want, creating something unique, working at it 7 days - it becomes all-consuming. But it's all worth it and I know this because I can see how much joy my brother is getting from it all. His face says it all. I'm ecstatic he is giving his dream his best shot, and he's not going at it alone with loads of support from family & friends alike. I'm even on the roster to make the milkshakes.
Of course with such a vibrant spot on offer I took the opportunity to grab a coffee, eat some donuts, oh and shoot some looks in and around the Milk Bar. It just so happened too that some of the bright colours from the bar were mirrored in the fashion (check out the donut and my Guess tee to see what I mean!).
If you're into milkshakes, donuts, toasties, pastries, gelato, pies, smoothies, and coffee all served by a local lad - my brother - then do swing by for a visit. You'll love it!
Let Arron know I sent ya.