Brian Loy and Susan Greene enjoy feasting their eyes on those faraway diamonds, whose combined brightness illuminates the couple’s surroundings. Brian and Susan sit on the tailgate of their pickup, taking the magnificent show all in during the dark evening before the park closes.
Brian said he saw shooting stars on these occasional outings that he and Susan take – priceless.
The couple own and operate the Calliham Store and the Real Tasty Food barbecue and pizza take-out place on Recreation Road on the way to the state park.
Brian, who is from West Virginia and the Appalachian Mountains, remembers stars in the sky, but Susan who was born in the Bronx, New York City, marvels at the spectacle, not having ever seen them when she was growing up.
The stars are just one element that binds the couple. Business might be the first consideration.
“I bought my first restaurant at 17. I was still in high school,” Brian says.
He says he went from owning a couple of different restaurants to selling satellite systems in 1981-82.
“I purchased some equipment out of New Brunswick, N.J. The biggest problem was freight,” he says.
But in 1983-84, that changed because the company set up distribution centers and changed from wholesale to retail.
“They went public, and I moved from West Virginia to New Jersey,” Brian says.
He became the company’s director of engineering.
“I started doing large antennae – five- to 21-meter Earth Station antennae,” he says.
Then, in 1985, he got a contract with a company specializing in mobile antennae, and he went to work for $100 a day.
“I bought my first satellite truck. I paid $250,000 for it. I was scared I couldn’t make the payments of $632 a month. But my first month, I made $30,000 and then built two more trucks,” he says.
His clients were the big news corporations.
“I was 40 minutes from New York City. I did really well, was married and had kids and a house,” he says.
But then 9/11 happened “and everything went to a standstill.”
Digital compression happened. “You can get better pictures out of a laptop than you can a satellite,” he says.
A friend of Brian’s in Junction convinced him to come to Texas after he went through a divorce.
“I went to Calliham and saw the store for sale,” he says.
Back in New Jersey, he had met Susan, who was a realtor.
“She had a listing that I was interested in. She was recently divorced and reluctant at first to come to Texas,” he says.
“Now she goes to San Antonio once a week to get back to her culture.”
Susan was graduated from the High School of Art and Design and earned an art degree from Queens College, part of the City University of New York.
She ran her own consulting firm for years and dabbled in interior design.
Now Susan is making jewelry ... beautiful jewelry, much like those diamonds in the sky. The Calliham Store features many of her custom made jewelry pieces.
She also works there as one of the employees.
“We like to walk. We’ve been known to get a bag of popcorn, go to a park bench and watch the sun go down,” Brian says.
“And we are very happy we have the movie theater. Susan also is a big reader and friends of the library,” he says.
Susan and Brian also go out to do some two-stepping once in a while. Brian there’s nothing wrong with dancing.
Brian says four or five years ago, he took a trailer out and started selling breakfast tacos.
“I always wanted to build a restaurant. We refinanced the store to build it,” he says.
Brian says a 4,400 square-foot pad was poured. “It was going to be under one roof,” he says.
But he was required to do several revisions in the construction plan to meet state regulations, and that took all the money he had.
“I said if I can’t have a restaurant, give me a kitchen, so I got a 450 square-foot kitchen with a gas deck and pizza oven.
“We got in and got it up. We have great pizza and great barbecue. We have a following,” he says.
He also caters.
Brian is a certified judge with the Kansas City Barbecue Society, so he knows good barbecue.
And he hasn’t given up on the idea of a restaurant.
“In the not-so-distant future, we will get this restaurant up. We took baby steps,” he says.
Planned is around 100 seats, a rib night and other features.
Brian and Susan say they like Texas because most people “don’t put on airs like up north.”
“Once I spotted a baby gator. I thought it was a log at first, but its eyes were blinking. Some kids lassoed this thing, and it began thrashing around. The kids dressed the gator in a T-shirt,” Susan says.
“I called friends in New Jersey and said, ‘You won’t believe what they do down here’ – hysterical,” she says.
Then there are those outings to watch the stars.
“We talk about life and relive the events of the day. Yes, it can be romantic,” Brian says.
“But besides being husband and wife, we’re pals.”