Tonight was a strange sort of night.
Our exchange student of 6 weeks moved out as our time as "welcome family" had come to an end. A permanent house was found for him, in a location he was less than thrilled about. He went kicking and screaming. He's leaving what was essentially a personal dorm room with few restrictions and minimal supervision for a crammed room with 3 other students and a host mom that quickly introduced him to the LINES in the house which he was not to cross under any circumstances. Like the line across the entrance into the kitchen, for example. DO NOT ENTER.
Feeling a little bit for the student, we are now enjoying a tremendous sense of personal relief as we have regained our largest bedroom and can begin to repopulate it with a child and her belongings that have been lingering in various crammed locations for the past several weeks.
So naturally, we went out for dinner. A remodeled Baker's Square reopened across from the old Ford Plant, so we grabbed a coupon and headed out. I'd never been to a Baker's Square, but the line-up of blue-heads and walkers did not disappoint. We got a table smack in the middle of the restaurant, and had one of those really nice restaurant experiences you manage only now and then with little kids. Everyone was happy with the meal, ate a lot, and stayed entertained.
When I say "everyone," I mean at our table AND the tables that all had a nice clear view of us. In fact, 2 old timers complimented us on our nice family (I try to stifle thoughts in my mind that go something like, "Yeah, but you should have seen what such-and-such did 2 hours ago!!" and just enjoy the moment). The real jaw-dropper was the old guy sitting by himself that I noticed noticing us. I wasn't sure if he was watching with disapproval as things were very active at our table while waiting for food, or if he was reliving personal memories. Sometimes you can practically see the video reels rolling in old people's eyes.
And so, as he got up to leave he swept over to our table, dropped something by my husband's plate, and said, "This is for your beautiful family. I have 4 of my own," and hurried away.
What was it he left by my husband's plate? A $20 bill. What made him do that? Lots of stories I can imagine that might inspire a person that way. But the key is to remember it, and to repeat the kindness with another family when I am a blue-haired old lady watching the mayhem of young children over my coffee mug.
So, I'm not planning to post after this, unless it's to announce where to find me now. I have some ideas cooking (ha! cooking!) that I might bring to life one of these days. Or not. Happy cooking either way.