The next morning we awoke to the sizzling sounds of a happy kitchen. The inn owner, Jack, was standing over a skillet making what he called a “sloppy omelet.” We called it a “what-we’ll-still-be-craving-a-year-from-now omelet.” He pointed us toward our table, which was glazed with a spread of fruit, homemade jam and fresh doughnuts. We pulled out the paper, I poured my coffee and then Jack brought our food. We quickly realized the story we really wanted to experience was Jack. He’s a retired principal, but he refers to himself as a “recovering principal.” While some spend retirement golfing into the dusk, Jack took a different turn with retirement. He bought a termite-infested “shell of a house,” as he told us, and made it into something that was a soul of a house. So much so, Tony Dungy has even rested his head on a pillow in the inn. But, even the stars who have stayed at the inn don’t shine with the same excitement that Jack does. There he sat, talking to us about books, stories, movies, and the old cars he buys and restores, including that truck in the driveway. He told us the steps it took (two years worth of steps) to turn a place that didn’t have running water into the roof that sheltered us so warmly for the hours we were there.
Then Jack told us of his dreams, his aspirations, how he’s blending a successful business model with his background in education to help save failing school systems. Every word he said was delivered with a passionate energy and a matching smile.
He told us, “I always wanted to travel the world, to meet people from all over. Now, I have this inn where people all over the world come and visit.”