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    Illustration by Kendall Swann

    Each month, we send our staff a memo that poses them a question. In our July issue, we asked them to recognize someone in their everyday life who deserves a Best of Louisville award.

     

    The late-night line cook at La Bamba always lets me practice speaking Spanish without judgment and obliges my need for extra verde. 

    — Katie Molck, contributing writer

     

    Many animals have passed through my front door in the last 10 years. Strays, rescues, foster dogs that never left. Some had medical issues and most had behavioral problems. Throughout it all, my veterinarian, Dr. Missy Jewell, has never, ever told me my fears about the animals were unfounded, or my questions too idiotic for her to answer.

    She has been instrumental in helping with the animal-welfare projects I’ve been involved with. She has sat on the floor with me while we euthanized my pets whose time on this planet had come to an end, and cried with me as we marveled at the very thin line that separates this life and the next. She is as thorough with a pet whose owners live on the street as she is with one whose owners live far off it. She doesn’t judge either one. To her, all animal lives are sacred, and every human, no matter the circumstance, is deserving of their love.

    — Julie Crutcher, business director

     

    This spring, I witnessed my four-year-old conquer a fear in real time. Wearing her Wonder Woman swimsuit, toes curled over the edge of the Jewish Community Center’s indoor pool, Emilia clapped five times, said “I can do it this” out loud, and launched into the deep end. She rolled onto her back and into the “starfish” position, just like Scotty taught her.

    — Josh Moss, editor

     

    I only go to Noosh Nosh sporadically, but the bar manager always remembers my to-go order: turkey sandwich without the pumpkin butter or cranberry chutney, add lettuce, tomato and mayo, and include a side of mayo for my Parmesan fries.

    — Brooke Wyrosdick, operations assistant

     

    The guy in the Germantown Kroger deli with the funky glasses invented by an old optometrist. Joyce, the Stockyards teller who has deposited my checks for more than a decade. The guy at Keith’s Hardware who is a little saucy but always quick and accurate. And last but not least, my neighbor Don. (I hope it’s Don. I know you share a name with my uncle, but I have an uncle Ron as well.)

    — Suki Anderson, art director

     

    My academic advisor at U of L, Sarah Springer, has dealt with my shenanigans of figuring out what I want to do with my life. I probably wouldn’t graduate if it wasn’t for her.

    — Megan Brewer, editorial intern

     

    My dog had a stye back in February, and I had to drive 40 minutes to get ointment at the Feeders Supply Wellness Clinic way out in the East End. On the way home on back roads, I made a too-wide turn in the darkness and sprinkling rain and ripped a giant hole in my front passenger-side tire against a curb. I hobbled into a well-lit McDonald’s parking lot nearby and struggled with the tiny jack and wrench in my Yaris. A couple stopped to help me, getting their own knees wet and muddy with their real-sized jack. They even gave my dog a pat.

    — Jenny Kiefer, associate writer

     

    Our nearest relatives live in New Jersey, so my two young kids have no grandparents, aunts or uncles to regularly dote on them and (much to my dismay) take them for an afternoon or evening. Luckily, I have great neighbors — Steve and Collette. When my toddler son hollers at Steve to come out of his house, he usually does. Steve, who is retired, taught my daughter and son how to properly shake hands and loves to visit with the kids. Collette always treats them to gifts on holidays and a popsicle on a hot summer afternoon.

    Another set of pseudo-grandparents who my kids actually call “Papa” and “Gigi” are kin to good friends of ours. But the way my kids light up around them, and how my son leaps into Papa’s arms and squeezes his neck every time he sees him, you’d never know they didn’t share blood.

    — Anne Marshall, senior writer

     

    No matter how early in the morning or late in the day, my favorite barista at Safai Coffee Shop has a welcoming smile and an encouraging mantra. Her name is Amy, and she is a radiant person. I’m a working mother and student, and sometimes I have to haul my children with me to study or do homework. Amy breaks out crafts for the kids, puts a few extra sprinkles on a hot chocolate.

    — Nikayla Edmondson, editorial intern

     

    Kashmir from Kashmir Indian Restaurant is part of a tradition for my son and me. I went at least once a week when I was pregnant. Once Owen was born, we still went frequently. Kashmir has watched Owen grow up over the last nine years, and he never fails to ask about him if he’s not with me — though he often is because now it’s his favorite restaurant too.

    — Mickie Winters, photographer

     

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