"Thank you for always supporting us!" That was the last text I received from my friend, Craig Noone.
Craig and I met at Mississippi College, and formed a bond only smuggled booze at a small Baptist school can create. I left for law school, he went off to culinary school, and years later we found ourselves in yet another small, tight-knit community, sharing dreams of a new Downtown and beer that no longer needed hiding.
Parlor Market is the physical manifestation of one of Craig's Downtown visions. And as wonderful as the food is, as unique as the drink selection is, the people of Parlor Market are better. As we gathered Friday evening, bartender extraordinaire Robert Arender shared something with me that Craig had once said to him. Craig, justifiably proud of his staff, told Robert, "I'm the best hirer." Well, as Craig's fellow Mississippi legend Dizzy Dean correctly said, it ain't bragging if you back it up. And back it up Craig did.
Craig, through his tireless efforts and his brilliance, transformed perceptions of Downtown Jackson and the palates of Mississippians. He created a place of which we could boast; a source of pride for us Downtown dwellers. He took to his task with abandon, and succeeded wildly.
Many with whom I have spoken have mentioned the void that Craig's absence will create in our Capital City. I prefer to look at the presence he created. It is certainly the way he would have wanted it.
Upon opening, Parlor Market became the center of Downtown Jackson life. It is where we go to celebrate birthdays, get engaged, woo clients, share with friends, and twist off the stress of a long day at work. It is, in many ways, a foundational pillar of Jackson life.
And that's what gets me about that last text I received from my friend. I should have been the one saying that to him.