Reader Dear, The Yard Man and I were looking for a restaurant in Newport News, Virginia. We had already booked a hotel room for the night and it was a wet and chilly evening. We drove down Warwick Boulevard (a street that carried us past several landmarks of my youth. There was the building that housed my father's various businesses "Aha! It's still here!" I exclaimed.
(It's now a [car] body shop in the rear, and a nail salon up front*)
*Up front--it's where I spent my time as a teenager at my first job. That's where I sat my transistor radio atop a filing cabinet I rarely used, and sat myself behind a desk to answer the phones for my father's two business partners: Mr. H, a Frenchman who paced the floor, smoking nervously, and slammed down the phone when upset (though he was a sweetheart most of the time). And Mr. M, a middle-aged Jewish man with a lot of daughters. **
** (At lunchtime I'd take Mr. M's big boat of a car and bring him back two schnitzels with kraut in a paper bag, perched on the seat beside me.)
At the other side of this building was the carpenter shop that my father also helped to establish.
(It's now "The Total Grace and Love World Center" [Oh.my.goodness])
Further down the road was the high school I attended. I believe it's now owned by a college. I don't know. It didn't look the same.
We came to Hilton Village. The theater is still there, as are the row of peaked-roof houses built about a hundred years ago. Since, Reader Dear, I'm giving you so much history already, I'll just add this, too:
"Hilton Village is a planned, English-village-style neighborhood in Newport News, Virginia. Recognized as a pioneering development in urban planning, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The neighborhood was built between 1918 and 1921 in response to the need for housing during World War I for employees of Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Company. It is recognized as the United States' first Federal war-housing project."
Okay, okay, back to the story at hand! The Yard Man and I found a very delightful restaurant (the choices were few). This one serves a Mediterranean menu. The owner was dressed in a suit and tie and personally delivered each meal to his patrons. "What is your country of origin?" I asked him.
"Afghanistan," he told me.
He seemed so pleased by our visit, served us a complimentary appetizer. And we, likewise, were so pleased by the fabulous food. "Oh, too bad, we can't bring our friends here," I rued to The Yard Man. "You know they would love this place. Especially Elias!"
Once again, Dear Reader, I'll have to interrupt this tale and continue later. The Yard Man and I had a surprise awaiting (we kept getting clues as we ate our meal [but I'm going to stop right now and leave you filled with suspense (or possibly yawning)])