I caught up with Patrick at the Royal Pig, a gastropub in downtown Fort Lauderdale. The place was new to me. He picked it for the buffalo shrimp. I was skeptical. And I was wrong. Blue cheese and ranch dressing have a way of enhancing shrimp fried in buffalo sauce. Then there was the bacon mac and cheese and honey buttered corn bread. Comfort food was a great way to reconnect with an old friend and to pass the extra night in Florida. Thanks, stormy weather, for the flight change and unexpected chance to say hello.
It was also the chance to say goodbye. Patrick is moving to L.A. in a few weeks. Sadly, another friend is leaving the area, taking with him good memories and one more connection to this part of the world. Yet, the move seems like a really good one for him. He’s been here 19 years, and as he put it, it’s time to get out and try something different. Indeed.
Funny, Patrick and I could have easily never become friends and never had this dinner. We met in passing at the wine bar where I worked, and only hung out a few times before I moved away. We never got the chance to know each other that well. Yet, there we were, years later, hanging out as friends bonded over some pretty serious life events we have in common. Like the loss of our moms, or leaving a city and people we love. From such a random beginning came my dinner date, ride to the airport, and new place to crash in L.A. And from it came some fond memories of a little bit of life shared.
I am grateful for the people who have come in and out of my life. I am grateful for what has been given me, what has been taken away, and what has been left behind. And I am grateful for buffalo shrimp on a rainy night at the beach.