SideWalk Ghosts / Interview 18: A Tale of Tri Tip and Smiles From Heaven

Nicke, Hawaii Regular and 8 year Henri’s Veteran

I’m needing to make tonight’s entry rather short and sweet.

Quite a day today. I won’t go into details, but one note to share. I’ve been telling everyone about 365. A few ask me, “why are you doing this?”

There are two general answers: First, “loving meeting people and am learning a tremendous amount about others and myself,” and secondly, “because I’m just a little bit crazy.”

Either way. The more people I tell about 365, the more committed I am to seeing it to the end. And I’ve already handed out a hundred cards or so.

That said, Let’s move on and meet today’s new friend.

There is a place, not too far from my house, that brings nostalgic dining back to life: Henri’s diner, home to Nicke the friendliest waitress in the area.

My meeting with her is quite by chance. This is one of those off camber evenings for me. You know the kind; call home, friend or whoever, to coordinate the day’s end. For me, it’s my wife. 7sh and I’m in the final miles of my commute home. I call the house with that general questions all husbands, spouses or significant others place high of the list of priorities, “what’s for dinner?”

Brave call on this particular evening. Proves to be the wrong conversation opener. Probably would have been much better to ask, “how was your day?” What can I say, other than, “I’m from Mars.”

Now please do not jump to the wrong conclusion. I have a lovely companion: Very talented, loving, patient and  kind. A delight in most instances, but the mix of today’s stresses and distractions, blended with my unthoughtful question, “What for dinner?” left me feeling like Jim Carey in Liar Liar. You may know the elevator scene that I’m talking about.

Bottom line, I’m on my own for this evenings meal, my fallback, to meet my daughter at one of our local eateries where she was having dinner with a friend.

“Hey Radstone! You told me this was going to be a short entry. Quit the run-on already! OK, OK, I’ll summarize. Keep you’re shoes on.

Back to Henri’s.

I walk in, and it’s like walking into room full of friendly conversation. Here is the bullet play-by-play of the scene.

• Daughter sitting with friend and her father (by the way, he manages Henri’s).
• A little slow, yet all the tables are chatting with each other.
• Nicke knows everyone.
• Order my Tri-Tip
• Sit back and observe Nicke at work. It’s a magical thing watching her interact with the room. All smiles and first names. Where in life do you go to eat these days where the waitress knows you by name, and asks about your family. I love this girl.
• Cannot pass up inviting her to 365.
• Without a flinch, she says OK.
• Ask her to sit with me for a moment so we can have an informal interview.
• She says, “I’d rather stand.”
• I decide it’s not personal that she does not want to sit across from me. I don’t think I’m scary. Although I’m sure there are still a few from Lanark Park who may beg to differ (Read 365 Day 4 / Fish Out Of Water Saved By Francis the Key Guy).
• Take photo and chat at counter for a bit.

My take away.

Nicke, you’re a sweetheart!

10:33pm. Still have not caught up with my lovely wife. Time to ask her, “How was your day?

Until tomorrow!