A Friday Night Out
Last night, I met a friend from work, F, at his favorite bar on the upper east side to hang out for a few hours. While I was there, I ate a real "home made" medium-rare hamburger perched on top of a thick slab of fresh tomato and with jack cheese melted delicately over the top. It was so yummy I thought I was having another one of my food dreams, but no, I opened my eyes and found the cheeseburger still sitting there, along with a lovely golden heap of fries, looking and tasting absolutely delicious. With every magical bite, I could barely restrain myself from repeating "Oh my gawd, this is so so soooo good!" I felt like a pig. The fries were so fabulous that I just had to share some with F and a few other people sitting nearby at the bar.
During these moments of pure delight, I resolved to stop hoarding every dime that I have to support myself in the future and instead, go out once in awhile, even if only for a cheeseburger, fries and um, half a dozen drinks. Ahem.
While I was at F's favorite watering hole, a dog walked in, stood up, put his paws on my lap and introduced himself. I am always surprised that certain pubs in NYC allow animals inside (either that, or they look the other way when an animal, usually a dog, enters), but it turned out that this golden retriever was no ordinary dog; this was Theodore, the talented son of the famous Bear, the police officer who rescued the few survivors trapped in the rubble from the World Trade Towers that collapsed three years ago today. Unfortunately, Bear died a year later from injuries sustained from that work, a loss that his handler still feels very keenly. Like his famous father, Theodore is a search and rescue dog for the NYPD, but he was off-duty last night, so he only wore his police badge and ID tag and left his red vest at home for the night.
I caressed Theodore's silken fur that glowed like burnished gold in the gloom of the pub as I met and spoke with Theodore's handler, Scott Shields. Later, Scott gave me an embroidered arm patch advertizing the Bear Search and Rescue Foundation and a copy of the book about Bear's life. While we were talking, Theodore grabbed the napkin from my lap, ate it and then coughed it up on the floor, as if to remind us that he is, after all, a dog. Scott picked up the soggy remains and ruffled Theodore's fuzzy head.
As I was leaving several hours later, I just had to say goodbye to Theodore, even though I was probably breaking some unwritten NYC rule about invading famous people's (and dogs'!) privacy when they are out in public. I tried to kneel down unobtrusively to stroke Theodore's soft head while looking into his chestnut colored eyes, but he had other plans. He pushed me over so I landed on my butt while he snuffled and slobbered all over my face. Everyone, even Scott and his guests, laughed good-naturedly.
Suddenly, layer upon layer of worry and stress cracked and melted away. I felt like myself again. Thank you all for your kindness, Theodore and Scott and my pal, F. It was a lovely and much-needed evening that I will hold close to my heart.
tags: NYC Life
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