The doors of Old B. open for dinner at 6:20pm, but when we got there (right on time), the line had already disappeared inside, and the house was full of people (students and parents) eating. Evidently they had opened early -- a near disaster for us, since the food (quesadillas and black beans and guacamole and salad) was almost gone.
They run their own shop there, so I guess they don't want to over-cook. And as a consequence, if you don't get there on time, you might be out of luck. Still there was enough to make us happy, and there was spicy hot chocolate that chased away the chill of the Midwestern fall evening.
There were people eating at tables in both living rooms. There were people eating on couches and sitting on the stairs with plates balanced on their laps. There were people eating on the veranda outside. And there were two people playing the piano. The three of us found a spot on the floor and leaned against the wall and chatted as we ate.
Afterwards, Ben gave us a tour of his domain. He's a kitchen-coordinator, and he showed us the refrigerators and freezers he monitors and the supply room in the basement where he keeps the cleaning supplies and other things in stock. He talked about their processes and procedures, and I took pictures of him explaining it all.
It hasn't been yet a full semester, but you can see the changes in even the little things he does. For example, as we were walking to thru the kitchen at the beginning of his tour, we passed a cabinet with an open door. As we walked by, he gently swung the door shut. One year ago, I doubt he would have noticed. But this is his place. He's invested in seeing the co-op run well. And so seeing a door ajar, he just reached over and shut it without even thinking.
Not in high school, anymore, that's for sure.
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And so our Saturday with Ben continued.
At the arboretum, Ben led us along paths that took us by an old stone water tower, around city drinking water supply ponds, thru the forest and by an old barn in the side of a hill. He said the school once planned to have a large gathering in that barn, until they realized that the beams holding up the floor were suspect, and that a mob of college students bouncing on them might not be a good plan. I wondered about the barn's ground floor but then had images of the beams falling in from above, and so I kept my thoughts to myself.
We came to a place where a path left the sidewalk and disappeared into the undergrowth along a creek. I pointed down the path and wondered aloud where it went. Ben wondered too and suggested we follow it. It lead us to a bridge that crossed the creek where a large Ginko tree stood on a green lawn covered with golden leaves.
We sat on the ground with our backs to the trunk of the Ginko tree as the sun set. We were early for dinner at the co-op, so we were in no rush. The weather that day had been spectacular, so the ground was not particularly cold to sit on. And in any event, my feet were sore, and I was grateful to be off them, so we just sat for a moment.
A smile came back to my face as my feet began to recover. Ben and I threw bunches of golden Ginko leaves into the air. Trudy captured it on the camera.
Most of my days pass with shockingly little left behind for me to remember. My life is a moving window: the future that I wonder and worry about but can do little about, the present that I try to live fully even though it's sometimes struggle to stay awake, and the past that fades into oblivion far too quickly. But this moment, sitting beneath the Ginko tree on that carpet of soft golden leaves with my college son and wife next to me and the sun setting before our eyes will not fade. This golden moment will stay with me for a very long time. Besides, Trudy captured it on the camera.
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