My friends Dave and Donna emailed last week to let me know they had arrived safely back to their Kentucky home, not to be confused with “My Old Kentucky Home.” But then I can’t be certain. I have not seen their house.
I can read your mind. I can. You’re thinking, “You’ve never been to their house, but you call them ‘friends?’”
New friends. Dave and Donna are our new friends and email pen pals. They happened to be at the French Goat, one of my favorite restaurants in Lewisburg, at the same time we dined there with our family.
The couple sat at a table for two across from our table of seven. They caught my attention when, now and then, their heads inclined toward one another as though they were sharing secrets.
Then, I heard the gentleman mention Prime 44 while talking with the server.
“We have reservations there tomorrow night,” he said.
That’s when I jumped into the conversation, which wouldn’t surprise anyone who knows me.
“Prime 44?” I asked. “We’ll be there tomorrow night as well.”
The Mr. and Mrs.—we had yet to exchange names—smiled with delight. “Really,” said the Mr. “What a coincidence,” said his Mrs.
Prime 44 is another restaurant that will feed you well. It’s named for the jersey number of famed WVU basketball star Jerry West. Both the jersey and the restaurant can be found at the historic Greenbrier, a West Virginia treasure.
But I digress.
When the couple stood to leave, the Mr. put on a WVU hat. I laughed out loud. Any time two or more WVU fans discover each other, a lively conversation follows.
After we covered all things sports, the Mrs. reminded Gary and me that we would all dine at the same restaurant the next night. “Maybe we’ll see you there,” she said.
“See you there” turned out to key words. Words that could have been surpassed only by, “See you everywhere” because that’s what happened.
The next morning, 800 people checked into The Greenbrier resort. Those numbers and the building’s expanse mattered not. Somehow, our family wound up at the same time in the same Dorothy Draper-decorated corridors and spaces as the couple we had met the previous evening.
Whether we were together or apart, our family members bumped into the Mr. and Mrs.—at check-in, in the shops, at tea, while relaxing in the lobby, and when walking outdoors. And, yes, we saw them at dinner that first night. Each of us passed by their table and shared quick snippets of conversation throughout the evening.
In a “Where’s Waldo” kind of way, Gary, the kids, and I enjoyed reporting sightings of and conversations with the couple over the next few days. It was as if we were destined to be friends.
The evening before our departure, Gary and I spotted them—the Mr. sporting gold socks with the flying WV—relaxing on a sofa in the main ballroom. We chatted, laughed, and finally introduced ourselves. Not only did we find out that the Mr. and Mrs. were Dave and Donna from Kentucky, but we also discovered they had recently subscribed to The Exponent Telegram. Dave wanted to keep up with West Virginia and WVU sports.
When I told them that I wrote for the Exponent, Donna said, “We knew you looked familiar.”
I could say we became friends after running into each other those first couple of times. I could say our friendship began upon making our formal introductions. I could say a great many things, but I won’t.
The truth is that the minute the Mr. donned his WVU cap at The French Goat, Dave and Donna from Kentucky became our friends for life.
writer, blogger, columnist