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Old 12-25-2009, 06:26 AM
 
12,869 posts, read 13,983,881 times
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Restaurant News - by Ed Hitzel
A late Christmas tale...you write the ending...

She had an unfocused elegance about her, as if we were looking at her in an old fashioned mirror. She was blond and thin and wore white, a long dress, and in the dark holiday light of the December evening, we could not guess her age. Nineteen? Twenty years older than that? She sat by herself and concentrated on her dinner. She did not return a hello from the eyes. When she spoke it was with that same misty elegance, songlike. She dined alone.

We ordered, conscious of the time, our Christmas shopping expedition not finished yet. In the cacophony of what would become a Christmas tale, I have forgotten what we ordered. We discussed everything that two friends discuss two weeks before Christmas.

Family. Presents. Life. Relationships. The next year. The recent one. The owner, a kind man, sat near the door with paperwork. He concentrated, greeted guests, concentrated, made the rounds at tables, talked to his mom. Occasionally we glanced at the woman in white, two tables away. She had finished her dinner. It was her birthday, we heard her tell the server. The server said she would bring her a cake, which she did. I turned to my friend, and said to her, "She's dining alone on her birthday. That's so sad. What is that all about?" I repeated it in a whisper to the server, who told us "I'll tell you the whole story in a minute. It's an amazing story", and disappeared into the kitchen. I turned to the woman and said "happy birthday". She acknowledged in that birdlike voice, "thank you," and a smile flickered. Her head moved in the shadows but I still could not determine her age.

She got up, and left, said goodbye to the server and the owner, and the server then came over to us to explain. The restaurant suddenly seemed like a holy and romantic place, inhabited by O'Henry himself. I felt a rush of holiday something. She was homeless, and sick and hungry, and broke, and had come into the restaurant some weeks ago and asked for a free meal. The owner said yes, but it had to be pasta. How much could that cost? I looked over at the owner and wanted to go hug him or shake his hand. What a nice guy. How many business owners would do that? It's not even the money, but the presence of someone unknown in the establishment of a hard working person.

She comes in every Wednesday, the server told us, eats pasta and leaves. Usually she sits in the back but there is a Christmas party there tonight. So she is out front with the rest of the regular guests. The waitress is tearing up. I want to go over to the owner and tell him I will pay for the meals. I'll do that, I say to myself. I will send him a check each month.

He passes by the table and I ask about the girl. He repeats the story the server told us. He shrugs. She came in and was hungry and I feed her. Every Wednesday. How much can pasta cost? The world seems like such a great place at that moment. The meaning of Christmas is clear to us. There is room at the Inn.

*** *** ***

I am reluctant to tell the rest of this tale, and it remains a Christmas story, although the plot alters a bit with the passing of the evening. We continue our shopping, although as it must be obvious by now, we are keeping the name of the town, the restaurant and the people to ourselves. We are also telling you how we reacted in the order that it happened, although some of the more cynical among you have already guessed that the picture will alter as seen from everyone's eyes so far. It is indeed a cheery town, with shops open late, music playing, lights everywhere, and the good will of the season evident. Christmas truly is a state of mind and we are totally immersed. I wonder, I tell my friend, where the blond went.

She's right there, I am told, and indeed she is, in front of a shop window, in an alcove, away from the visibility of the main street. She is talking on a cell phone, staccato, urgent, animated. Like two amateur detectives, we make believe we are shopping and hide behind the adjacent store window. Point at things, my friend tells me, and we both point at objects behind the window.

I feel foolish, as the true nature of her identity morphs from what we imagined, and we both strain to listen. We hear that she shops at Wal Mart and dislikes the heat in her apartment. The pianissimo strain of elegance is vanished from her voice, replaced by the strum of a copper pipe. My immediate urge is to run back and tell the restaurant owner. We are both thinking the same thing, but the tale could still be true. She does indeed talk about the problems of an illness but the information is vague. The good feeling I had from witnessing a real life Christmas tale has cracked like an ornament falling from a tree. She has no idea we are listening and shows no signs of recognizing us, as she chatters into the phone.

We want dessert and there is another well known restaurant across the street. Maybe she goes to a different restaurant each night of the week, telling the same tale, feeding herself.

What a gig, I think, even admiring what might be her M.O. In the restaurant we ask the server if he has ever seen the blond, he says no, but another man comes in asking for money for train fare, and the server gives it to him. How do you know he's using it for the train, I ask. He shrugs and says itís not that much. At a coffee shop, an employee is outside emptying trash and we ask about the blond. The employee says the blond is in the store all the time, and asks for water with lemon, and her request is always granted. She doesnít buy the homeless story. Water with lemon. What could that be about? We think we might come back the following Wednesday, but we do not. It is not for us to disturb the blond's world, which remains unexplained to us, and it is especially not for us to interrupt the random acts of kindness given by a restaurant owner, a server and a coffee shop employee. A belated Merry Christmas and a thank you to all of you for your good hearts.

merry christmas to all of the good hearted americans.

Last edited by floridasandy; 12-25-2009 at 07:08 AM..
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Old 12-25-2009, 03:25 PM
 
Location: Conejo Valley, CA
12,470 posts, read 18,614,039 times
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What in the world does that drivel had to do with this forum?
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Old 12-26-2009, 05:09 AM
 
12,869 posts, read 13,983,881 times
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we are going to be experiencing some hard economic times ahead, due to some incredibly bad decision making and lack of foresight, and it is good to remember that there are a lot of decent good-hearted americans out there. the story was a reminder, appropriate for christmas day.
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Old 12-26-2009, 05:30 AM
 
10,494 posts, read 25,099,628 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by floridasandy View Post
we are going to be experiencing some hard economic times ahead, due to some incredibly bad decision making and lack of foresight, and it is good to remember that there are a lot of decent good-hearted americans out there. the story was a reminder, appropriate for christmas day.
Seriously, and I mean this in a nice way. You have to be the most miserable, negative person I have ever met. Every single one of your posts are like this. I am a realist myself, but this needs to stop. Every post you make is doom and gloom. Take it from me, look at ALL your posts and you will see what I mean. Please post something positive at least once, because your negativity is killing us who have to read it daily.
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Old 12-26-2009, 05:35 AM
 
12,869 posts, read 13,983,881 times
Reputation: 4453
i am sure that you meant that in a nice way , but i certainly see some people WITH AN AGENDA telling other people that things are just great and they need to rush out and buy housing, stocks, cars, etc. i think some people are being misled and i think they are entitled to all the facts before they make life changing decisions. of course, people are going to make their choices freely, but there should have been posters warning people before the last implosion. if you consider me miserable for that, i can live with it. people need to be able to protect what entire generations of families have worked for. i am 100% in favor of supporting local businesses, buying american, and helping each other out.

sorry you didn't see the christmas story post as a positive post.

Last edited by floridasandy; 12-26-2009 at 06:12 AM..
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Old 12-26-2009, 10:59 AM
 
12,869 posts, read 13,983,881 times
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okay, here is a happy story that involves money:

Good Samaritans Return Wallet Stuffed With $5,000
Saturday, December 26, 2009

A last-minute shopper who lost a wallet stuffed with $5,000 in cash at Bloomingdale's got a Christmas present he'll never forget when an honest couple returned the billfold with every last dollar.

The happy return ended a miserable ordeal for Robert Slatkin, who was certain the wallet was gone for good in the frenetic sea of tourists and holiday shoppers Wednesday evening.

another act of kindness and another happy ending!
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Old 12-26-2009, 04:41 PM
 
Location: Fairfield, CT
6,531 posts, read 9,675,007 times
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I can't say I really see this as a positive story. It is a story about somebody taking advantage of the kindness of others in an unethical way. Stories like this are the reason many of us, including myself, are cynical about people claiming to need charity and somewhat reluctant to help without knowing the whole story. People like this blonde take away from those who are truly in need through no fault of their own.
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