Valentine's Day is about people you love. Sometimes those people are complete strangers you are lucky enough to know for a little while but remember always… this is about one of those brief but memorable encounters.
Dining out with Sam can be tricky business. Though he has some basic civilization skills and loves to eat, he dislikes the loud noise inherent to restaurant dining. Ever resourceful, he has a solution: over power all noise with a much louder noise of his own.
This begins what I like to think of as dueling tables: neighboring parties escalate their volume followed by Sam escalating his until some sort of crescendo is reached, making us quite unpopular with family, most friends and other diners.
Faced with a possible eternity of dining alone, I decided to work on dining skills at a new trendy spot, early one Tuesday night.
To my delight we arrived to an empty restaurant. So far, so good. Everything went well until two older women entered. Well groomed and elegantly dressed in an understated way, they were seated two tables away from us. I felt a sense of impending doom.
The women began to chat, paying little notice to us. Sam happily took this as his cue to start talking and drown them out. I leaned into Sam and asked for a quiet voice but unfortunately Sam had left that voice at home.
I glanced at the neighboring table, knowing we wouldn’t go unnoticed much longer. I quickly resorted to plan B: Eat quickly and leave. Sam, who normally inhales food, suddenly embraced the concept of leisurely dining and refused to rush – all while chattering away endlessly.
“SHUSH!” I said, a little exasperated. Sam responded by giggling loudly, "Be quiet!"
I could see from my peripheral vision the two women were now watching us.
Finally, the older of the two womn leaned over. Here it comes, I thought. She completely surprised me when she said, “Honey, stop shushing that boy. Clearly he has something important to say.” Smiling she added, “I have friends that talk way more than he does and they aren't nearly as interesting.”
Addressing Sam she said, “Now what's your name? Sam? Don't you listen to your mom. You talk as much as you want. I want to hear everything you have to say.” Turning to me she added, “You have a delightful boy. Relax and enjoy your dinner – and don't let him skip the chocolate cake. It's divine.”
Sam smiled. Finally someone wanted him to do what he did best: make noise and eat chocolate cake. It turned out to be the perfect night – I met two wonderful women who were clearly heaven sent; Sam found the chocolate cake to be heavenly, too.
I will always remember those two lovely ladies. Their kindness meant the world to a stressed out mom. Wherever you are, we’re sending you lots of love and hopes for chocolate cake this Valentine’s Day. Sam and I will never forget you.
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