Most of LaBelle knows the inspirational, hardworking, Vicki Reynolds, as one of the owners of Two Peas Café and Relay for Life LaBelle’s biggest organizers. When asking her family and friends to describe her, the central theme remained about how astonishingly kind and generous she is and has always been. She is never too far away from her bestie of nearly 45 years, and Two Peas Cafe co-owner, Debbie Klemmer, and the two of them are a force to be reckoned with, for sure.
Starting her days early and often ending them in the wee hours of the night, this seemingly tireless, Energizer bunny with a heart of gold, says of a typical day in her life, “Well that clock goes off at 4 a.m. and I am at work somewhere between 5 and 5:30. I help the girls get the cafe ready to open. My responsibilities are to keep the front end running smoothly. Debbie prepares all the pies and either prepares or instructs the preparation of all other food.” After a long and busy day of serving customers, answering the phone that is almost always ringing, running the register, and anything in between, this endlessly optimistic and unstoppable lady closes the café, and then works for hours, creating her famous specialty desserts. Her addictive fudge, delicious cheesecakes, and the to-die-for cannoli, are just a few of her specialties, not to mention her coveted Giant Ding Dong Cake that is only available for the most special of occasions.
Having lived in LaBelle since around the start of fifth grade, Vicki says her best childhood memories all center around time spent with family. Her father being one of her biggest influences, teaching her not only the value of hard work but also instilled her unfathomable work ethic. She says of her father, “When I need advice, he is who I look to. We might disagree on things but the truth is he has always been right, but don’t tell him I said that.”
She also credits her LaBelle High School Librarian, Mrs. Ann Duff, as someone who helped get her through those tough teenage times. “I wasn’t the ideal student. I had no desire to be in school and to tell the truth I was just there because I had to be and I was a pretty rebellious teenager. I apologize now to my mom often. I was taken out of physical education permanently by our doctor at the time because of a back injury. I was placed in the library as an aide during that period for the rest of my high school years. Mrs. Duff was a kind lady and never gave up on me. She pushed me hard to do my studies and made it her mission that I graduate. I did graduate and I will never forget her.”
While Vicki says she was never really one to have a set dream or goal, her biggest desire in life has been to make sure she lives life as a “decent human being” she says. She is most proud of her children, “When my first child was born. In that second my whole life changed. It was now so much bigger than me.” She says they have grown up to be awesome human beings. How could they not, with a mother like Vicki whose personal philosophy is, “When you can be anything at all be kind.”
When asked about her life goals, “I want to go to sleep at night knowing that I did my best that day to be better than I was the day before. My dreams are that my children and my grandchildren will be happy and successful in whatever path they choose. They are kind, loving and giving. They are successful in the paths they have chosen and I could not be more proud of them. I find my inspiration in the eyes of my grandchildren. I see so much wonder in their eyes and joy in their hearts. Their innocence amazes me and I want so much for them in this life.”
I also asked her what she might do differently, if given the opportunity. She says, “I have asked myself that many times because we all have things that have happened in our lives that we wish we could change. But the truth is if anything were different then we wouldn’t be who or where we are now, so all that to say the only thing I think I wish I could re-do is my relationship with Jesus. I wish I had found that earlier in my life, I spend a lot of time talking to God. I fall asleep at night praying or just talking to him and asking him to guide me through those troubled waters.”
What advice can she offer? “Treat others how you want to be treated, always stay humble, spend time with your parents and grandparents soak up their knowledge and experiences. Give of your time and your resources the peace that comes from that is immeasurable.”
She went on to describe what her idea of a perfect day would be, “A perfect day would be all of our family, I mean everybody hangin’ out on mom and dads back porch eating blue crabs and shrimp, the kids running around laughing making a ton of noise, bluegrass music in the background. That would be like heaven on earth.”
She has her hands in many projects throughout our small but awesome little community, but her passion is Relay for Life. “I am the event lead for LaBelle’s Relay and have been for the past three years. Relay is very personal to me and I am at times very consumed by it.” Having just barely finished this year’s Relay, which raised around $58,000, she has already committed herself to the 2020 season, saying she will take a little breather and then go head first into getting teams together in early July. This woman is definitely an inspiration. Thank you, Vicki, for inspiring LaBelle to strive to be better, to do better, every day.