Opinion: Carol’s news bittersweet; essence is in Middlebury

Hearing that John Melanson is expanding on his business is very pleasing to me. I can remember when John and Carol were in our house discussing potential plans for their business, and they were dreaming big. Hopes included having a shop in downtown Middlebury and eventually opening a shop north or south of town where commuters could get their caffeine fix quick. Sound familiar? I know all this because Carol was my mother and I was living at home while attending college.
The current exciting news from Carol’s coupled with the fact that they celebrated their 10th anniversary this summer come as bittersweet for me. It reminds me that she died just weeks before seeing her dream of many years come to fruition. Now another element of her dreams with John is becoming reality. It stirs up those emotions all over again. At the same time I am very happy and thankful for every day that Carol’s is open.
It was 21 years ago this past June that my parents moved our family to Middlebury. Little did they know that this town would be their final home town. My dad lived until 1999, and was followed by my mom six years later. In those 11 years my mom quickly became involved in several organizations and groups and made many friends, a fact that I am reminded of often, especially at my work, the Middlebury Natural Foods Co-op. Even with the loss of her husband, Carol continued to build her community presence to the point that she became ready to be a business owner. She had no intentions of leaving Middlebury.
John had a couple of opportunities to walk away from Carol’s dream, the first one being when she passed away. He has chosen repeatedly to stay the course with the Hungry Mind Café and keep it as a mainstay of Middlebury. He entered this venture with Carol knowing full well that not many coffee shops survive very long. He is again facing tough decisions with the impending railroad work and dynamics of business, but he is determined to keep Carol’s in downtown Middlebury.
Mine is an emotional investment in the Hungry Mind, but I feel there are many others out there who would agree that Carol’s Hungry Mind Café has made its mark on Middlebury and deserves to remain in town as long as John sees fit. My mother made Middlebury her Community, had many Conversations here, and very much enjoyed her Coffee!
Ian Ross

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