Pansies in pots? Check. Party supplies secured? Check. Picking up pulled pork and smoked chicken to make sliders was my last errand of the day. The restaurant was about 20 minutes from home but I didn’t mind the drive as it was mostly on two country roads that wind through vineyards and past beautiful homes. I’d told the server who took my order that I’d be there before 5 pm. My plan was to come home, pull out the platters I’d need, finish sweeping the front patio and settle in front of the t.v. with a glass of wine by 6 to watch the Virginia-Duke game.
I arrived before my order was ready and found a seat near the front window of the restaurant to sit, wait, and people watch. The place was mostly empty. A group of four sat at a table in the middle of the room drinking beer and making proclamations about the game- who’d step up, what the score would be, how Kryzewski would interact with the refs.
A tall, thin man appeared from behind the kitchen doors, my order in his arms. He walked quickly and started apologizing before I even stood up. I smiled and said, “Please don’t worry. I’m not in a hurry. Thank you so much for doing this.”
His face relaxed and he asked “Big occasion?”
“Having friends in tomorrow so my daughter can see some of her favorite people before she moves to San Francisco this week to start her first job. And she requested barbeque sliders- with your pulled pork”
“Wow,” he replied. I don’t think he was referring to the pork.
“Yes,” I responded. I could feel the lump in my throat that has come and gone hundreds of times the last few weeks. One word answers were easier than anything more. I looked up at him and asked, “What do I owe you?” in a tone that might have been a tad too cheerful for such a matter-of-fact question.
He handed me the bill. I paid.
“Good luck mama. She’ll be fine. She’ll be back. She’ll miss you. She’ll miss the pulled pork too.”
“Yes,” I replied and smiled.