Guess who’s not coming to dinner

Having dinner with friends at a nice restaurant is a wonderful event. You are with people you love, being served excellent food that arrives without any effort by you in the kitchen. The air is filled with laughter and storytelling, and time rolls backward as you reconnect with friends with youthful exuberance.

I joined five friends recently for just such a marvelous evening that had all of these great things and more.

Arriving at the restaurant we found the place  buzzing and busy, with hostesses taking names of eager diners and every table taken. But two of our group had arrived early and threaded us, skillfully as scouts, to a temporary table in the bar area. The evening was on, and so were we — funny stories, delicious hors d’oeuvres, and cheerful but persistent offers from some fellows standing nearby to pay us if we gave them our table. It was a super supper time. After waiting a while for our dining room table we gave into their persistence, and our timing was perfect — it was just as a hostess came to guide us to the dining room.

someones-not-coming-to-dinner

Before leaving the bar area we heard a train and saw someone outside in the dark. The restaurant had once been a railroad station and the trains still trundle by, tinkling the wine glasses and surprising the diners. We didn’t know why this man was out there but as the train slowed down it seemed likely that he might be catching a free ride, from the outside of our fancy restaurant to the outside of somewhere else.

I took a photo of that moment, when my heart wobbled from joyful camaraderie to wanting more — not for me but for this man, and everyone who’s not yet coming to dinner.

It is good to have times of feasting and celebration, and important to work with compassion and determination toward a future when more of us will have enough.

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