Teacher friends love to get together for lunch during the summer. My little group includes some friends I still work with and some who are retired. We got together last week.
I arrive at the restaurant and wave at the one friend who’s already there as I rush to the restroom. Of course, she doesn’t see me- she’s wondering why we are all “late”. I run into a second friend in the restroom, and when we get to the table, another friend has arrived. As we start chatting, we realize we are one chair short if everyone shows up. The waitress comes to see what we want to drink (water with lemon all around- gotta save a little money somehow), and we ask about adding another seat. We explain that we aren’t 100 percent sure we will need it- one of our missing friends is getting kind of forgetful and might not show up if she didn’t write the date down. The other is always late… sometimes so late she never shows up. The waitress says “no problem” and sends over the hostess who pops out an extension to the table, brings a chair and another place setting and menu. This time, both friends show up in just a few minutes, so her effort wasn’t wasted.
We start ordering- spaghetti and meatballs, lasagna, spinach salad (one half-size and one full size), Italian beef sandwich with frites parmesan, and rigatoni with Italian sausage. I guess you can tell what kind of restaurant we were at! Two friends were sharing a “lunch for two” deal, and they got an appetizer (flatbread pizza), dessert (fresh strawberry pie), and a second entrée to take home. All the food was artfully served and tasted delicious.
It was the free-flowing conversation that made the lunch, though. The talk went from one direction to another, sometimes in smooth transitions, sometimes in surprising turns. We laughed at the image of our somewhat prim friend forced to potty by a bush, then sprint to catch back up to the car as she traveled to the beach with her son, daughter-in-law, and three grandchildren through an hours-long traffic jam from their home in the D.C. area to the Delaware coast. We sighed with envy at the travelogue of a recent trip to Ireland. We speculated on the likely mood of our principal as we return to school- after a news article about our district that revealed how several principals had been overpaid due to accounting errors, some for 5 years or more, and would have their salaries slashed this year. Talking about a college daughter and her first job, we reminisced about our own. We shook our heads at the antics of a young teen-age daughter who sneaked downtown with a group of friends without permission, only to realize they were in over their heads in the atmosphere that has led to teen violence and arrests in our city this summer-Dad went to their rescue and picked them up(thankfully, important lesson learned with no one hurt). We drooled over the strawberry pie when it arrived. We oohed and ahhed over pics of the baby twin niece and nephew one friend has coming for a long-awaited visit. Eventually, we got around to the inevitable question- “Are you going in early to work on your room?”
Before we broke up, we started commenting on how much we had enjoyed getting together and how little time we will have once school starts again. Guess what? We are meeting again this week! Wish you could join us- you’d fit right in!