Date Night Gone Awry

“If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans.” Woody Allen

Mother Goose doesn’t necessarily chase after the movies of Woody Allen, but the reviews for Blue Jasmine sounded interesting. I’m a modestly casual fan of Cate Blanchett, and Alec Baldwin’s Capital One commercials make me smile — good reasons to make plans to see a new movie.

With the film’s limited release on Friday, we could easily drive into the city, park near the Landmark Century Theater, catch a nice dinner beforehand at La Creperie and enjoy the movie together. What lovely plans! What a charming date night this could be!

We drove downtown in the Cadillac of Husband Goose and easily found a parking space on Diversey Parkway, just a block from the restaurant and theater. Husband Goose even checked with a Chicago policeman on his bicycle about whether this was a legal spot to park! The officer wholeheartedly agreed that this was a beautiful parking space.

We merrily skipped along to La Creperie.

We took this picture last year in June.  As I looked at the pix from that date night, I saw that I wore the same dress and we sat at the exact same table.

We took this picture last year in June. As I looked at the pix from that date night, I saw that I wore the same dress and we sat at the exact same table.

As you know, Mother Goose does not believe in accidents, coincidences or chance encounters…

I had read online that this quaint family-run French bistro would be closing its doors for the last time later this month. We wondered why they would close — surely business is always good with normal thirty minute waits on most nights. Forty-one years of serving delicious savory and sweet crepes, soup a l’oignon gratinee and an exciting array of fine wines — how on earth could they possibly be done?

While we waited to be seated outside on the back patio, we spotted the owner, Germain Roignant. He was acting as busy host for the night, not unusual at this long-lived northside bistro. Germain is an older gentleman, charming with his French accent and attentiveness to the ladies. We asked why he was closing his wonderful restaurant.

He explained that he had wanted to pass La Creperie on to his son, but after giving it a try, his son had decided it wasn’t for him and had moved to California with his wife. But then, the most heartbreaking…Germain told us that his son had now died, just the day before.

Of course, tears rolled down my cheeks as I listened to this news.

“Why are you here?” I asked.

“Somebody called in and couldn’t come to work, I need to be here,” he said with a sad shrug and then walked back towards the entrance to greet a new crowd of guests.

We stood speechless, absorbing this information and quietly relating it to our own families and children. How sad, how terrible to have to plan a funeral for a son… Germain’s wife Sara had passed away in 2002 — we could still read the grief on his face for losing his lifelong best friend and lover on the restaurant’s thirtieth anniversary.

How life can be so very short and confusing…

We had delicious food, of course, watching the precious proprietor rush back and forth through the restaurant, seating his company and receiving hugs and condolences from close friends who had heard the awful news.

When we finished our sumptious dinner crepes, our Bananas Sara and our coffees, we met Germain at the front door on our way out. “God bless you,” I whispered into his kindly old face. “Thank you, dear,” he replied and planted a warm kiss on my cheek.

Lost in our private thoughts, we walked silently to the theater…

But this was just the beginning. Incredibly, the date night continued to go awry. You won’t want to miss the next story where Mother Goose continues to describe the strange details of this night…

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kathy
    Aug 04, 2013 @ 10:13:38

    Such a touching story. Thanks for sharing. God bless you, Husband Goose and your family.

    Reply

    • Natalie
      Aug 04, 2013 @ 11:30:13

      Thank you, dear Kathy. Have you ever been to La Creperie? It’s such a sweet place — I’m so sad that they are closing, but even more sad to hear about Germain’s son, Jeremy. I just can’t even imagine…

      Reply

  2. Art and Valerie Bess
    Aug 04, 2013 @ 12:34:48

    Natalie…..don’t leave me hanging like that!

    Sent from my iPhone

    Reply

  3. Dianna
    Aug 06, 2013 @ 06:11:34

    Oh, how sad. Poor fellow, having to be at work and put his best foot forward amidst such terrible sadness….
    I’m guessing the next installment will have something to do with that parking space….

    Reply

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