Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Table for ten
Dayton, OH, January 2009
It's a restaurant that no longer exists, in a place we passed through one cold winter's night as we sped through the very middle of Middle America on our way home.
Despite its very temporary presence in the life of our family, it strangely sticks in our collective memory almost two years later. I'm not entirely sure why. Perhaps it was the novelty of the place - we didn't have anything like it at home - or the fact that we came across it during the kind of family adventure that gets us raised eyebrows when we tell friends about it: "You drove HOW far...?"
Or perhaps because it was a Fuddruckers, a build-your-own burger place that our kids had first experienced years earlier in Florida and had always wanted to revisit. Only they couldn't, because the place went bankrupt in the wake of a bunch of hurricanes Rita and Wilma (2005 was a bad year, for that.) Not a huge, headline-grabbing life experience by any stretch of the imagination, but one that mattered to them all the same, because small experiences aren't any less significant just because they're small.
We were lucky enough to find this otherwise non-descript place in a suburban strip mall, the proverbial needle in a haystack in the middle of a 2,400 km drive. All the way home from Florida, the kids talked about maybe finding a Fuddruckers. So I played with our GPS unit's points-of-interest database and voila, there it was, just a couple of kilometres off of our route. Fate, perhaps?
We'll never know, of course. But for 90 minutes on this night, we hung around and drank it in, because we didn't know if we'd be able to do so again. History, sadly, proved us right.
Your turn: Ever stumble upon a memorable place while travelling. Want to share?