Thanksgiving is a time when people in this country get together with friends and family to celebrate all the blessings they have in life. It’s a time of minor festivity and major amounts of overindulgent eating that I can only assume is the reason behind the creation of New Year’s resolutions. The point is, Thanksgiving is a supremely ultimate statement of the enduring right of all Americans to eat the things they want in quantities that would make the starving peoples of the world shake a fist in jealous rage; or at least they would cringe if their gross malnutrition would allow for the extra expenditure of energy such an action would demand.
So it is with this knowledge that I endeavored to share our good favors and my own personal blessings with a stranger I had met whilst traveling to Vancouver, British Columbia. My business trip just happened to fall over our Thanksgiving holiday week. I was traveling alone but undeterred, and having met an enjoyable companion the night before whilst having a drink at a local bar, I managed to make my Thanksgiving in Canada a table-for-two holiday of my own at The Keg.
Now I like to consider myself a connoisseur of fine steaks (though in reality I just like to eat red meat and be snobbish about it) and at first was planning on going to a much more formal dining location, dressed to the nines and ready to party all night at various cocktail bars and lounges. In truth, if I had been dining myself that is exactly what I would have done, finding friends for the night wherever I might end up and loving life. But the lady who I “asked out” felt more comfortable in jeans and a simple black blouse and that to me screamed: “The Keg.”
So off I walked to the restaurant a few blocks away and met my date along the way as she was getting off the bus. Thankfully, I was not drunk the previous evening and thus was not stricken with a sudden onset of memory loss; this girl actually looked good. Proceeding to the door and opening it for my date, we entered into the dark and cavernous motif The Keg is famous for, glanced the menu and ordered our first round of drinks. Seeing as I was at a steakhouse (and I’m a steak-snob), I ordered a glass of red wine while my date proceeded to order the second cheapest beer in the house. If there is such a thing as “house beer” this would be it, but I figured that hey, she’s not as knowledgeable as I am on these matters and will quickly realize that house beer doesn’t tend to pair with any known cut of beef.
After some comfortable small talk, we settled in to choose our Thanksgiving feast (sadly, turkey was not on the menu). It was then that the truth came out as sure as the words from her very mouth when she sheepishly eyed the prices of the dinners and admitted to never having eaten anything that cost that much. Cost THAT much?! The meals at the Keg are reasonably priced for the type of establishment that it is…and for what you get. I mean, their menu has sides included: no a la carte ordering here.
I assured her she could order whatever she wanted and that I was covering the bill. She gleefully chose a steak based off of my recommendation, still unsure of how to react to the whole situation. I was bemused. Never had I even thought that this simple meal would bring someone so much joy, that it would mean so much to them. While we ate, she went on and on about how good it was with the utmost sincerity, regaling me with stories of her poor upbringing and how her mother could never afford to get them steak. She was so very happy that she even saved half of it for later and proclaimed how she was going to call her mom to tell her all about the delicious and elite-reserved dinner she had finally been able to consume.
Shocked and completely charmed with the situation, I simply sat and marinated in what was something entirely new and amazing to this person I had known a mere 24 hours. I must admit that I felt pretty good about the whole evening. I had not gotten to sit around with my family, but instead I had sat with a stranger, sharing my blessings with her and reveling in her delight at that which I took for granted. Thanksgiving this year was truly sublime.
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