We met when our daughters were in preschool. Now they’re in college. She grew up here, I always manage to feel like I’m from out of town. I’m East Columbia, she’s West Columbia. She’s vegan, I eat just about everything. We’ve been friends for sixteen years.
We got together last night for our first meal in a restaurant since the before times. I mean, the kind of restaurant where one can order grown-up drinks. The chosen location was the Ale House. We wanted to be able to sit outside. I must say we were in the minority on that front. They were doing a brisk business inside with what appeared to be a happy, relaxed, almost all unmasked crowd.
I haven’t been to the Ale House in years and in my opinion it is much improved. I never used to be able to find anything on the menu that was right for me; now there is much more of a variety of different kinds of food. On the other hand, it was nearly impossible for my vegan companion. Service was fabulous and our table was in the shade. There was even a bit of a breeze.
I was having so much fun that I forgot to photograph my first gin and tonic post-pandemic for posterity. That’s what having old friends is all about.
Table topics included local village board politics, the future of housing in Columbia, what local teachers went through during the pandemic, the women who are making change in our community, addressing racism…you know, just the average things you talk about after not seeing a friend for several years. Truth in advertising, we also talked about our hopes and dreams, and our kids. As you do.
One thing that came up in our conversation was that we were in complete agreement that all the people who are doing outstanding, transformative community work right now in Columbia/HoCo are women. I’d go into more detail but I think that’s a blog post unto itself.
The Ale House, with its casual outdoor eat-while-looking-at-the-parking-lot vibe was just the right location for a reunion of old friends. I’m really hoping it won’t be so long before we get together again.