It was time for a change, for the old to be replaced by new. Driving down College Avenue, you know my family’s newest building is nearly “there.” New building done, old building to be torn away to create important parking. I have mixed emotions about the original building my family built, a classic 1950s design—long red brick and cedar shingles. White and maroon are the prominent colors; my family’s love of Texas A&M shining. The sign—Callaway-Jones—hearkens back to simplicity of the 1950s.
I put my hands on the outside of the building, wanting a tactile communication with yesteryear. “Integrity.” “Security.” “Love.” All three words came to mind as I walked the perimeter of history, surveying what was once, and was about to be no more. The love was the same, the family the same.
Looking across the street, clouds filling the blue sky overwhelmed me. This was the same sky they saw. What were their hopes 50 years ago, as their dream was being built? Carrying on a family tradition means taking four decades of lessons they passed on to my grandfather, to my father, then to me, plus what I have learned in my first decade of leading our business, and planning for the future.
Thanks to love, education, dedication to community, service to others, faith in things hoped for but not yet seen, we will be demolishing the old building, while preserving the values that were the mainstay of their business all those years. Standing with my back to the golf course, surveying the sandbags that protected the building from water damage in June, the new building is built immediately next door, but on much higher ground. We now move forward, preserving our core values, presenting our best selves to you to have faith and trust in every day we occupy the new building. Ever so gently, we will break through the old as we move to higher ground.
It’s the only building I’ve ever known as belonging to our family, the one currently with our name on it. Despite the Texas heat, this week I was drawn to leave the office and walk around the outside, around the entire block. I completely ignored the inconvenience of the sweltering summer day and stood firm, staring at the ‘old’…surveying the beauty and wonder of five generations. I walked up to the bricks and cedar shake siding so popular in the 1950s.
Touching the bricks, sturdy, thin in design, much more decorative than today’s uniform design, it must have been quite “the sight” to behold when the doors first opened for business. The bricks are not very porous at all, holding in the elements and protecting the sanctity of the inside against the disturbances of the outside. What did these bricks comprise? What was their significance? Were they “just bricks” or were they more? Were they the gatekeepers of the past?
The old building had many large windows but most of the time, the shades were pulled down over those windows, keeping privacy in and prying eyes out. For the new building, I went with a design that had plenty of natural sunlight to bring in warmth, but the light comes in at the top of the room so that privacy is maintained but the warmth can enter each room.
It’s been no secret that we have long needed a new building. Many of you have said as much, gently, in recent years. Still, so many of you have allowed our family to serve your family for generations have stayed alongside us, loyally, until we could begin to plan for our next 50 years of serving you. My family entrusted me with the leadership of this business over 10 years ago and I hit the ground running to step in and do what my dad had always hoped that I’d do.
Working with my grandfather, Raymond, experiences that would fill an entire blog post or column—next week perhaps, was a graduate master class in serving your community as a businessman and head of a family. But we all have our own way of doing things, and I was given the freedom to add my identity and ideas to shape the future of the business, in its physical plant as well as in our service to our friends and neighbors here.
The beautiful new building is anchored in history, while being built on sturdy new concrete. Landscaping that surrounds the old building will become more prominent in visibility when the old building is removed. The rich pink/purple crepe myrtles will appear suddenly “out of nowhere,” even when they’ve been there all along. You haven’t been able to see them while you survey the stark contrast between the old and the new, side by side there, for so many months.
Inside the old building, the air was filled with years of beautiful words of comfort shared between friends and family. The hundreds of thousands of handshakes and hugs exchanged, embraces offered, tissues for those who wept dispensed. Every emotion under the sun was in that building. Together, we all got through those tears, conquered the fears, and have drawn closer as friends and trusted business associates with you as you have come to know us over the years.
Music rang out from a sound system or a piano to undergird a means of saying goodbye to loved ones in song. Guest soloists would come to sing at the request of family members who knew that very dear residents in town were gifted with amazing voices. When they’d come in to sing someone into heaven, that is exactly what they did.
Many times through the years that you’ve attended funerals in the old building, you may not remember the names or the faces of those who have served you and your family as the generations have all taken turns opening the door and welcoming you in to our home here, but we are all members of the same family, with the same family traditions.
Just because we’re moving into our new building and the wrecking ball will strike through the past home, loudly, and permanently, envision if you will the love, the care, and the warmth of days gone by, yesteryear, yesterday, will all travel with the speed of the light that flows into the new building and fill it up with history, memory, and abiding expectations for the future of our business and the continuation of our friendship with you and the impact we hope to continue to make on our Brazos Valley area, our Bryan-College Station home.
Let the shining of light begin, in 3…2…1
Cody D. Jones ‘02
Owner and Community Member