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Dave McBride: Unplanned visits net good times | Local News

I know I’ve written at least two columns concerning restaurants and several people — mostly of the male variety — who regularly gather there for a lot of coffee and a lot of jabber.

And I know there are several of you saying right this minute that enough is enough.

But, not all restaurant gatherings and not all visits to restaurants are dedicated to the light-hearted side of life. And by that I mean the same groups made up of the same people sitting at the same tables and carrying on conversations that seldom leave the tables when it’s time to pack up and step on some more serious ground.

My bride always liked to say I never met a stranger and I guess, perhaps, that’s partly true. I do have a gift for gab and a lot of folks will back up that admission.

It was just recently that I was sitting alone in a small restaurant when a gentleman I did not know walked in and sat down at a table near mine. It wasn’t long before we spoke and a conversation soon developed.

One thing led to another and it wasn’t long before I learned he was born and raised in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and he learned I spent a few years in Kingsport, Tennessee, where I started my long career in journalism.

From there it was discovered we both had a strong fondness for mountains and mountain travel, with one of his favorites being the Lookout Mountain area and mine being the mountains near Gatlinburg.

And so it was. A chance meeting, some meaningful conversation, a budding friendship and a parting that possibly could last forever.

Then there was the drug store I was walking through when I spotted a stranger looking at a novel display of realistic toy cars and trucks. I had stopped at the same display more than once and figured the stranger was also a grandfather like myself.

“Nice collection of toy vehicles, isn’t it?” I volunteered.

“Is it ever?” the stranger replied. “I’ve got a grandson that would like to have every one of them.”

“Same here,” I said. “But that was several years ago.”

But an elderly grandfather and one several years younger thoroughly enjoyed their mutual interests and the two reverted back to the times when they were also young. With the grandsons not around, they sorted through the large selection of toy cars and trucks, anxiously cited some of their favorites and it almost seemed they were little boys again.

Returning to reality, I shared a handshake with the stranger, thanked him for the nice visit and ventured on back toward the pharmacy where I would pick up my memory medicine, my vision booster and anything I could find to stop aging.

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Category: Restaurant News

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