This past weekend I drove to the Oregon coast to escape the valley heat, which was predicted to be 100+. I was not alone. Traffic jams, crowds of people, but still space on our beautiful beaches. I spent the day enjoying the views and feeling the cool breezes.
Time was getting short and I ended up in Florence, which is only an hour’s drive to my home. It was dinner time and I decided to try a restaurant I hadn’t eaten in before…namely because it had a clear view of the Siuslaw River and was pretty quiet. They seated me at a nice table, although the chairs were very low. I realized they were all patio furniture, which gave an outdoorsy feeling to the place without actually being outside. I settled in, perused the menu and ordered a glass of Pinot Noir from River’s Edge, an Oregon winery I was not familiar with, but it seemed appropriate, as I was at the river’s edge. The waiter took my order and I leaned back to relax with my wine.
A little later a fiftyish woman came in with an elderly man with a walker, and they were going to sit at the table next to the window. I moved the chair at my table out-of-the-way of his path and held on, because I knew he would lean on the chair…and he did. She got him seated. When he sat down…and it was really down…he looked at me and we shared a giggle. It was a table for four, so obviously two more people were coming. The woman (I’ll call her Jane) ordered wine for the table. Another man presently came and sat down, and said happy birthday to “Jane”. Guess it was her birthday they were celebrating. “Jane” ordered some starters and began talking very quickly to the middle-aged man (let’s call him Bill), who ordered a big martini, by the way. And the conversation went on and on. Once in a while the woman would glance at her father (by this time I knew that the elderly gentleman was her father) and nod and continue the chatter. My salad arrived, so I was busy eating, but couldn’t help noticing that the chattering went on and on between “Jane” and “Bill”. Soon the fourth man arrived. Middle aged, rather dower expression, sat down, but did not acknowledge any of the other three people seated at the table. He sat there fiddling with his glasses or something and glancing at “Bill” once in a while. “Jane’s” father was not included in the conversation at all, although he was very attentive. He even asked “Bill” a question. “Bill” gave him an answer, but did not follow-up so they could discuss what the father wanted to talk about. My main course arrived. I ate slowly to enjoy the fish. I had the feeling the father might start yelling “Stop ignoring me! Just because I’m old, doesn’t mean I don’t have something to contribute to the conversation.”
Their starters arrived and I was finished with my fish and wine, so did not see the conclusion of their interaction. Perhaps it was a family trait. Perhaps not. It did remind me that we elders need to be treated with courtesy and included in any conversation, unless we don’t want to be. By the way…the fourth man never did speak either. Hmmm…