Saturday wasn't all about baby showers. During the afternoon, I got the craziest email. It all started last week, when in one of her final posts on the Dining@Large blog, Elizabeth Large wrote about whether she'd ever been recognized.
A commenter, who identified himself as "Robert in Annapolis" revealed that he'd waited on her once way, way back in the day (and by that I mean the early 70s). He told her he worked at Auberge de France on Main Street - which happened to be one of my parents' favorite restaurants (at some point, it became India Palace and then it burned down and still hasn't been replaced). And their favorite waiter happened to be named Robert.
I had a feeling it was the same guy, so I wrote a comment on the blog, mentioning that when my mom was in the hospital after just having had me, my grandfather and dad went to Auberge to celebrate. Upon hearing the big news, Robert sent my dad to the hospital with a dish of chocolate mousse and a spoon for my mom. It made an enormous impression (among other things - apparently he was one of the Last Great Waiters).
So back to the weekend. On Friday, I got an email from Robert's son confirming that yes, he was that Robert. And on Saturday, I got an email from Robert himself, asking me what my parents' and grandparents' names were.
I told him and he absolutely remembered them - as it turns out, not only were my parents regular customers, but during the winter of 1976-77, my dad went over to Robert's house to help teach him how to split wood. Robert's comment, "What I got out of that experience was the knowledge to order pre-split wood!" My dad still, occasionally, splits some wood. It's ridiculous.
These days, Robert is still in and around Annapolis for much of the year - he owns a title company (where his son also works) and his wife runs the green market in West Annapolis.
Once the market starts back up in April, I'm hoping to get down there one weekend and to meet Robert and his wife. I grew up on stories of his commitment to his profession and his mastery of it - he set the bar high for other waiters. So even just emailing with him has been kind of a thrill.