It was a Saturday night. Steve was in his apartment getting ready to head downstairs to have dinner. He had plans to meet up with Laurie Jo, who he met whiling working as a server in the very restaurant where he was to have dinner. Knowing Laurie Jo did not finish her shift until 10:00pm, Steve thought he would go down early, sit at the bar with his favorite barkeeper, Carol and have a bite. Laurie Jo, worked in the kitchen of this popular downtown hotspot. She and Steve met when he worked there and had become good friends. The plan for this evening was to meet after her shift, go upstairs to Steve’s cool downtown apartment, conveniently located three flights up from the restaurant, have a couple drinks and venture out for to one or more downtown’s many bars and clubs.
On the west side of the city, Harry and Jo, Steve’s parents were getting ready for their own night on the town. They were heading to one of their favorite haunts, The F&N Steakhouse for dinner. They had been there many times and were looking forward to the deep fried eggplant and one of the best steaks in the city. The F&N was one of those ‘old fashion’ restaurants, with small quiet rooms and big over-stuffed booths. You know, the ones with just a little imagination, you would find Frank, Sammy, Dean and Joey sitting in the corner booth sipping on martinis!
Over on the south side of town, Dottie was ironing her black skirt and white blouse, prepping herself for her shift as a waitress at The F&N Steakhouse. She had worked in restaurants all her life and she was damn good at it! Her Saturday night shift was her most prosperous and busy – the restaurant would be packed with many regulars and friends. (If Rat Pack had met Dottie they never would have included Shirley MacLaine.)
Sharing an ironing board with Dottie was her son, Rob. He too was getting himself together for his shift in a small popular downtown restaurant. Waiting tables is something that Dottie never wanted Rob to do – but he had had enough of school and he wanted a little down time – he had some life learning to do, so he took this job.
The evening had begun. Everyone was ready for what they thought would be a typical Saturday night.
Back downtown, as Steve was just about to take the first bite of his dinner, Laurie Jo came out from the kitchen to confirm their evening plans. “Absolutely”, Steve said.
Over at the F&N Steakhouse, the hostess greeted Harry and Jo, confirmed their reservation and showed them to their table on the second floor of the restaurant.
Back downtown, Rob skillfully moved from table to table serving up many a gourmet burger and cocktail to his customers. He had to go up to the bar to get his drinks and he couldn’t help but notice the single guy sitting there.
Harry and Jo were greeted by a vibrant red-head shortly after they were seated. She gave each of them a menu and asked what she could get them from the bar. Dottie had worked that second floor dining room for many years and had never met this couple, so when she returned with the drinks, she asked, “Is this your first time here?” “Oh no”, Harry said, “but this is the first time we’ve ever been seated upstairs. We are usually downstairs near the fireplace.” Dottie replied, “It’s much better up here – you’re going to love it!”
Downtown, Rob walked into the kitchen and asked Laurie Jo about the guy sitting at the bar. “I saw you talking with that guy, what’s his story?” “He used to work here as a server and the two of us are going out for a few drinks after my shift.” “Order in!” another server cried.
Harry was a jokester and he loved to volley with the servers. Dottie was no exception. As their evening progressed, their time at the restaurant became more like a visit with old friends. They each put their real self out there and found a mutual connection.
Laurie Jo and Rob were getting ready to finish their shifts for the evening. Laurie Jo said, “Hey, would you like to join Steve and me tonight?” “Sure!” said Rob. Laurie Jo called Steve just to let him know they both were coming up. Congenial as ever, Steve said, “Sure, bring him along.” Laurie Jo and Rob climbed the long winding staircase to Steve’s third floor apartment where the three of them met over a drink then headed out on the town. One drink here; another drink there; dancing; Pac-Man and lots of great conversations and laughs made for a fantastic evening.
Everyone made it home safely that evening, each holding great memories and stories about the times they had , the food they’d eaten and more importantly, the people they had met.
The next morning, over coffee, Dottie was telling Rob about this very nice couple she met at the restaurant the night before. She told him how much fun they had and how the man, Harry, was a big ham. Rob told Dottie he too had a great time the night before. – He had gone out with one friend who introduced him to one of her friends. “Nice guy, I hope I’ll see him again,” Rob said. “Me too,” said Dottie about the couple, – “they said they would request me the next time they were in.”
Over on the west side, Steve had just arrived at his parent’s home for brunch. He asked them about their dinner at The F&N. Harry said, “We had a great time with this fiery little redheaded waitress named Dottie. She was great!” Steve told them that he had hung out with his old friend Laurie Jo who worked at the restaurant downstairs from the apartment. She introduced him to a guy named Rob, who just started working there. “A really nice guy! I’m glad he joined us!”
The weekend I speak of was in February, 1986. Today, Steve and Rob are getting ready to celebrate a huge milestone in anyone’s life – 30 years together. Over the past years, Harry, Jo and Dottie (along with Steve & Rob) had many a dinner, lunch, Christmas and summer picnic together. All of them celebrating life in all its forms.
The Simple Step was taking the chance to say YES to opening up to someone new.
The Real Change is thirty years of love, happiness and success.