A girlfriend, Deidra, came to visit me last Friday from out-of-town. We planned to attend the Chicago Community Chorus performance at Harris Theater that following Saturday night.
I was not feeling great, having been diagnosed with severe allergic reactions to springtime in the air. (Really? Spring, oh, spring, where art thou?) During the week, Maja Rios, a jazz singer, had asked me to come hear her that Friday night at the Good To Go restaurant at 711 Howard St. in Evanston. When I mentioned this to Deidra, she was interested in going. So, away we went in the cold and the rain (with my purse full of tissues).
We were pleasantly surprised when we walked into the Good To Go restaurant. It has two fantastic rooms, one with a bar and the other with lots of tables for dining or drinking. Deidra and I were seated in the large room with the tables, the room in which Maja performed. We ordered some food from the menu. The food was absolutely delicious and served in generous proportions. Maja joined us between sets. Her accompanist, Joel Burt, is an amazing pianist. Together they are known as the Jazz and Beyond Duo.
A young woman passed our table and sat down at a table with some folks already there. “Hmm,” I thought, “She looks familiar.” After a while, she came over and sat down next to me. I recognized her as soon as she started to talk. This was the daughter of a late friend whom I had not seen for more than 10 years. “Oh, my gosh,” I gurgled, “I think I’m going to cry.” “Please don’t cry. She said. “Or I will, too.” We hugged and hugged. I gave her my phone number, saying that it was the same number I had always had. She told me that she now had her late mother’s phone number. We promised to stay in touch. We hugged again, and she returned to her friends.
A Happy Birthday song arose from a big table (several tables put together) with lots of people. Deidra and I joined in the singing and clapping when it ended. By then, since both of us were tired, we decided it was time to leave. When Maja came over, we told her we were leaving and said goodnight. Deidra, who walked ahead of me as we left, stopped to give the birthday-lady a happy-birthday greeting. I followed her with the same intention. As the woman turned to thank me, we recognized each other, not by name, but by memories of when we used to see each other and talk. I had not seen this woman since I don’t know when. She mentioned the area in which I lived to confirm our history together. We whooped and whooped and hugged and hugged. Her family smiled at us. I apologized for making so much noise, but her family said it was all right. We said good night.
As Deidra and I walked out of the restaurant, Deidra’s take on the evening was that my being at the restaurant on that night was because it was meant to be. Well, it certainly was an evening I will not forget. It was Good I Went to Good To Go.
“Man is a knot, a web, a mesh into which relationships are tied.” (Antoine de Saint-Exupery, 1900-44; French author and aviator)
‘I am a part of all that I have met. (Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 1809-92; English poet; poet laureate 1850-92)