Wednesday, August 26, 2009

water-colored memories

The year was 1974. August. Richard Nixon was still president -- for one more day.

I was driving from my assignment in Greece to a new one in the United Kingdom. But the night was mine.

My dinner companions, contacts for the past year, joined me in Vouliagmeni. We chose a new restaurant -- one with a deck overlooking the boat basin.

There was something that struck me as particularly special about that night.

I remember the sun setting over the gulf. But almost everything else has faded. Except for one strange fact. I remember the waiter bringing a bottle of water.

Funny. What was so memorable about that?

The next day I was on my way through Greece, Italy, and France to my new job. Gerald Ford was the new president. And before I reached the United Kingdom, two of my dining partners were dead.

Last Thursday my neighbor asked me to join him for dinner in Barra de Navidad. We sat on a balcony overlooking Navidad Bay.

We had a great conversation. Absolutely the best meal I have had in Mexico during the past four months.

As we were finishing dinner, the waiter brought a bottle of water to my neighbor. And that night 35 years ago played out in my mind.

I have no idea why. There were some similarities. But I had almost forgotten about the old memory.

I do know that both nights will be filed away together under the tab "great meals with friends." And I hope to be able to pull both of them out for many similar future nights.


Felipe said...

I figured you were going to say that the neighbor was dead the following day. But you did not!

Uh, why were those two dining partners dead?

Islagringo said...

Let's hope history doesn't repeat itself!

Babs said...

Interesting the things that stick in our minds.....and, the things that should, that don't!

Constantino said...

So, is the H2 Oh,Oh? Have a pivotal point in this, during your first overlook dinner? And how was the CIA involved?

glorv1 said...

I feel your sadness Steve, in telling this story. How sad about your friends, but you have the memories of a great dinner and conversation with them that will stay with you forever. Take care and have a great Thursday.

Anonymous said...


When we dine in Salem together this fall, I am not ordering a bottle of water, post hoc propter hoc fallacy or not.

A Nony Moose

jennifer rose said...

Steve's neighbor may be politely waiting for Steve to leave town before dying. The bottle of water may be but a red herring.

Steve Cotton said...

Felipe -- A fact. But a MacGuffin.

Islagringo -- History seldom repeats itself. But I do. I do.

Babs -- If I tried to figure out what I recall and why I recall it, I would -- have a functioning memory.

Constantino -- No one associated with any intelligence agency would write a tale so transparent.

Gloria -- I did not say they were friends.

A Nony Moose -- And what signal will the waiter use then?

Jennifer -- But we put the red herrings to sleep in the 90s. Certainly you must recall.

glorv1 said...

Oh I see. I thought they were friends since you called them "companions" for over a year. My mistake. Have a great day.

Anonymous said...

I feel appropriately MacGuffined, but still want to know how your dinner companions died.