Friday, November 09, 2007

Dinner Company

After a long day of shopping at Houston's annual Nutcracker Market * yesterday, Bubba's Mom and I were in no shape to cook dinner (well, let's face it, I'm rarely in any shape to cook dinner, but anyway....). So the whole family headed to a small, local Italian restaurant for dinner. This place has been here for 40 years - just a bit longer than I have - and I've been eating there all my life. It's not a chain restaurant - but a great place to go for good, inexpensive Italian food. When we got to the restaurant there were only two other people there - an older man eating alone, and a youngish (30 maybe?) woman, also dining alone at a booth on the other side of the small room. We took our table for six somewhere between them, just as the woman was asking the man if she could join him. As we ordered and shared stories of the day, I noticed that the older man did not speak English very well. He had what sounded to me like a German or Russian accent. I strained to eavesdrop on their conversation over the chit chat of my husband, children, and parents - the young woman asked the man what brought him to town. "NASA" was his reply. And so they talked, her slowly, and him in broken English, and they shared a meal and a bottle of wine. I overheard a story of Chicago and of travels somewhere in Europe (why couldn't my family be quiet so I could hear better?!). I found myself wanting to join them, too. At the end of their meal they each paid their separate checks and parted ways. I like to think each of them went home with a smile on their face because they did not eat alone that night. Their lives intermingled for just a short time and it was good. You don't see that kind of thing too often anymore. I thought it was a neat thing to witness.

*Check out the link - it's a pretty awesome event!

7 comments:

Kitten said...

The scene you described between the two strangers sounded more like something you would see in an English or French movie...definitely not something American. I think we are probably more guarded about approaching strangers and asking to join them while they are eating...much less join them sitting on a park bench or next to them in a movie. We've had the bajeebers scared out of us by too many bad guys in our society. You never know WHO you might be sitting next to...anywhere! Just an observation.

D... said...

That's great. I'd never have the gumption to join a perfect stranger for dinner.

Patois said...

Good for her. Like D, I wish I had the nerve, too. Of course, I'm never alone, so there goes that idea. And, trust me, no one would ever want to join our tribe.

cjh said...

When traveling for business, you can usually meet up with other strangers at hotel or restaurant bars. When I was going to Miami all the time I ended up eating at a restaurant bar with the same business traveler on two seperate trips. Less inclined to join people at a table.

Stacey said...

Thanks for a warm story, BS. That's exactly as I'd imagine Jesus would have been here on earth--hoping to join the man or woman dining alone and getting to know what made them tick. Don't you think Jesus was probably smiling and nodding his head as this conversation progressed?

I'm very glad you had a great day, I went over to the link you provided--did you go SEE the Nutcracker? Or were you shopping? Both? xo

Misty Dawn said...

This is a great story. You're right, you just don't see that nowadays. That is so wonderful.

Bubba's Sis said...

Just shopping, Stacey. But we've seen the ballet many times, and when I was younger I was in it!