I recently saw a photo of a pile of rubble in my home town. The caption confirmed my suspicions. Ruby Tuesday had been destroyed in order to make room for a fast food restaurant.
For most people, the destruction of a restaurant is unimportant, but that building was part of my story.
It was 1999. I was a teenage mother going to school full time and waiting tables at Ruby Tuesday at night and on weekends to support myself.
He had recently left home and moved to the city, spending his days and nights working, learning the ins and outs of computer networks.
One day I noticed the well-dressed blue-eyed boy sitting at the bar. Something about him made me pause before running to refill a tea glass. We began to talk. One night after my shift we went to dinner at the Late Night Cafe. I was still in my work clothes and smelled of “restaurant kitchen” (you fellow servers know exactly what I’m talking about). He didn’t care. He continued to come into the restaurant regularly; single guys living away from home don’t cook for themselves very much. We began to spend more time together; eventually he met my son, and they loved each other. Then one day in March of 2000, that blue-eyed boy took me to dinner at The Veranda, got down on one knee, and asked me to be with him forever. We were married just over a year later, on July 21, 2001.
That pile of rubble is still part of my story. I’ll still tell my children and grandchildren the tale of a radiology student waiting tables to work her way through school and of a young man who was just a bit lost in the “big city”. I’ll tell them how they met and how it was nearly love at first sight. And I’ll tell them that love like that only comes along once in a lifetime; when they find it, they should grab it and hold on tight. Easy? No, of course not. Nothing worth holding on to forever is easy, not in the conventional sense at least. Worth every hard-fought day in the trenches with babies, and moving houses and countries, and sickness, and worry? You bet.
*Photo Credit Deidre Ruth Photography