Every year about this time I come down with a vicious case of Ohio Valley Lung Rot…and I lose my voice.   It happened again this year.   I feel just fine, but I can’t talk. I still get hungry so I did something I almost never do.  I went out to eat by myself, at a family restaurant.    I always wonder about people who come to family restaurants by themselves, yet there I was.  All by myself.

 In the next booth was the lion’s share of a couple of families.  Two moms, three very young children and a grandpa.

 There was constant stream of babbling coming from the children who were the focus of the adult's attention.  All of them.  No adult conservation at all.  Just constant babbling.  No, it wasn’t annoying in this case.  It was terrific because the moms were actually listening to the babbling coming from the kids, understanding it and interacting with it.

 “Were you hungry?”

 “Babble, babble”

 “Are you full?”

 “Babble, babble.”

 “Was it good?”

 “Babble, babble.”

 “What was the best food?”

 “Babble, babble.”

 When, the babble got a little loud, mom would say, “Now that’s loud enough, a little softer.”

 Note, she did NOT say, “Shut up!”

 One of the little ones stood up and turned around to where I was sitting, back turned to their booth.  The sprout started babbling in my direction,

 “No honey, that’s not OK. Sit down and talk with us.”

 “Babble, babble”

 No fuss, no yelling.  Just patient, direct, respectful feedback from a loving, highly skilled mom.

 The two moms,  the kids and grandpa got up to leave at the end of the meal Grandpa taking up the rear.  Turning my way as he passed by, he quietly said, “Sorry”.

 I gave him a big smile, “Not necessary.”

 They disappeared around the corner and were gone.  Back to my coffee.

 Moments later Mom re-appeared around the corner with one of the toddlers.

 “You left your picture?  Let’s find it.”

 “Where did you sit?” she asked.  Knowing perfectly well where the kid sat.

 “Is anything there?”

 “Babble, babble.”

 “There it is.”

 “Is that it?”


 “Let’s look.”

 “Turn it over.”

 “Is that your picture?”

 “Babble, babble.”


 “We found it!”   Mom said like she’d just discovered the missing continent.

 “Very good job.”

 “Babble, Babble.”

 She picked up the sprout and disappeared around the corner again.

Now I know why people sometimes come to family restaurants alone.  It’s so they can observe the continuity of life, before they themselves disappear around the corner.



Category:general -- posted at: 12:38pm CST





March 2019
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