Hello and good day!
I had a reason to go to the big city yesterday. The big city around here is Seattle.
There is a luxury hotel in Seattle that wants us to do a chocolate pop up and I went there to explore the opportunity. I arrived 20 minutes early and had some time to kill.
If you are ever in Seattle, the Fairmont Olympic Hotel is a beauty. It is a beautiful old Victorian style hotel, filled with the wonderful and ornate woodworking typical of the time period. From the entrance, outside before walking in, you can look downhill two blocks and see Puget Sound.
Yesterday was a gray and gloomy day.
The ocean was dark gray, with white mist floating up over the water, hiding the islands that you can normally see in the distance.
The Olympic has one of the best hotel lobbies that I've ever seen.
Even if you aren't staying there, you could go in and sit in the lobby for half an hour and enjoy yourself quite a bit.
I love to people watch, and I could sit in that lobby all day long, drinking coffee, reading, and spying on folks.
The light was golden and romantic, a shade above dim, but far softer than bright.
A conference had just let out from one of the big banquet rooms and attendees came flooding down the stairs into the lobby.
Youngish people in business attire stood around chatting happily, loose and free now that the effort and strain of sitting and listening all day had come to an end.
There was a low, oval shaped bar in the middle of the room. I don't recall having seen a bar so low.
I approached and asked the bartender where I could get a cup of coffee.
"Right here," he said.
I sat at the low bar and waited.
While I was waiting, a fellow a little younger than me sat down on a short stool to my left. He wasn't from the conference. He was on his own.
He was thin and wiry, with tattooed arms, a clean-shaven head that shined in the gold light of the lobby, and a full brown beard.
It's funny what you might end up revealing to a stranger, if the stranger seems open and attentive and willing to hear you out.
I nodded at him when he sat down.
"You from around here?" I asked.
"Yes, but I moved away," he said.
"You like it?"
My coffee came. I thanked the barman and took a sip.
Before I'd even set my cup back down on its white saucer, my new friend was already talking.
"I'm in town visiting my mom," he said.
"That's nice. Is she a good mom?"
"Not really. No."
"No. I wouldn't even have come, but my dad is dying of cancer. He doesn't have much longer. After he is gone, she'll be the only family member I have left, and I want to see if I can put our relationship back together."
"When was the last time you saw her?"
"It's been a long time."
"Since I moved out of the house."
"When was that?"
"When I was fifteen."
"Why'd you move out so young?"
"My parents divorced, and I moved with my dad to Boston where he took a new job."
"You haven't seen her since then?"
"That's a long time."
"I've been pretty mad at her."
I took a breather and drank coffee.
I looked around the lobby, at the beautiful old woodwork, at the leather furniture placed artfully throughout the large room, at the tall widely arched ceiling, at the people.
You mysterious wonderful creatures.
Laughing. Drinking. Learning. Doing business. Traveling.
Holding lifelong grudges against your mother.
I shook my head and couldn't help but smile to myself.
Everybody has a story.
"What did she do that was so bad?" I asked.
"She worked all the time when we were young. She was never around. And then she left my dad," he said.
"My mom worked a lot too. She owned a theatre. And my parents were also divorced. I know how tough that can be."
"Do you still get along with your mom?" he asked me.
"Yeah. I do."
"Well, I've never been able to forgive my mom."
"Do you have any brothers or sisters?"
"Yeah, I have a sister."
"Does she get along with your mom?"
"Yeah, but she's always been a little mama's girl."
"So, you're in town to patch it up?"
"When will you see her?"
"How long are you in town for?"
I lifted my coffee cup and tilted it high against my lips to finish the coffee down to the last drop. The cup clinked against the saucer when I set it back down and the clink caught the attention of the bartender.
When he looked over, I scribbled against my hand to let him know that I wanted the check.
"You got kids?" I asked.
"Yes. I have two."
"Are you married?"
"Is your wife a good wife?"
"Yes. She is really good."
"What does your wife think about all of this?"
"She's the one who sent me."
"You've got a good wife man. That's a blessing."
The bartender came with my check. I paid.
I stood up and brushed down my dress shirt and pants to flatten out the wrinkles that formed while I was sitting.
After a good brushing down, I stuck out my hand.
"Nice to meet you. Thanks for telling me about yourself," I said.
"Nice to meet you too."
"Can I tell you one last thing before I go off to my meeting?" I asked.
"Sure. Go ahead."
"People work and people get divorced. It's common. I know how painful it is to see your parents split up and I know that when you are young, you want to be able to say whose fault it is."
I saw my contact from the hotel descending down a lovely, curved staircase at the far end of the lobby.
The stairs were carpeted in elegant dark blue plush with thick hand carved wooden banisters running down either side.
I waved at her. She waved back.
"And I know that once you've been locked into a position for so long, it's hard to change. But you only live once man. If you can find a way to make it right with your mom, I hope you will. She probably loves you and misses you so much more than you realize."
I gave him a pat on the side of the shoulder and walked away to meet my contact.
The meeting went well, and we'll probably do the pop up.
That little conversation was a reminder to me how fortunate I am to have a great relationship with my mom.
I'd never want that to go sideways.
Thank you so much for time today.
I hope that you have a truly blessed day!
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