I guess they’re my quarantine pod. Four of us, all over 60, get together once a week. Going to each other’s homes has been fun but now we’re branching out to places where we can sit outside.
Last Friday found us at a local brewery. We had no reason to think this was a novel idea but the full parking lot surprised us. I circled around and when we got close to the place, Judy yelped, “There’s a fire pit with nobody by it! And chairs!” There was no time for discussion as she was out of the car before I’d even fully stopped. Naturally enthusiastic, she’s surprisingly nimble for her age.
The rest of us piled out of the car and looked for our friend. She didn’t need to wave frantically with both arms but, of course, she did.
It was a chilly evening and inside the place was packed. There were only a dozen people outside and what looked to be the remains of a pizza party. The other patio-dwellers were pretty dressed up and we speculated it might be homecoming for the local college.
We asked a young man if he was using two chairs and he graciously helped move them. A crisp fall evening, a blazing fire, four chairs and great beer — what more could we want?
A photo, of course! So Judy asked a young woman in a satin dress to take a picture. This sweet girl obliged, trudging through pea gravel in 4-inch heels but I was not satisfied. I asked her to take one from an angle I considered more flattering. She was a trouper and we got our way.
A 20-something fellow came from inside and asked if we needed anything. He joked about keeping us warm so we’d order more beer and piled wood on the fire. We were living large.
The young people had gone and our only company now was two 40-ish guys drinking beer while their kids chased one another (why is that always the go-to for bored children?)
I went up to check on the food truck offerings and headed back to tell my friends what I’d found. And that’s when I noticed the sign. It was on the sidewalk that we breezed by in our quest for a spot. “Patio Closed for Wedding Rehearsal.”
Suddenly I thought back over the evening. The guy who moved chairs for us. The young woman who took our photo. The fellow with the wood.
Why didn’t they say something? Why didn’t they point out the sign and ask us to leave? They would have been well within their rights to do so but I think I know why they didn’t.
We remind them of their parents.
I run into this situation a lot, especially when I visit my kids in Seattle. Like any big city, people walk past one another without a glance. But let me ask one of them for directions, or anything really, and they are eager to help.
You hear about millennials railing at us Boomers on the Internet but, in person, I’ve yet to encounter one of them who is less than generous with their time and attention to folks my age.
Millennials, we love you too. You are responsible and caring — about the environment, about social justice, and about us. Besides, you look just like our kids.