I first spotted Art in an airport lounge in Seattle where I sat waiting to catch my flight home. He was dapper as can be with a tweed fedora, fitted leather jacket over a black turtleneck, wool trousers, snazzy leather shoes, and carrying a saxophone case. I was delighted and thought to myself, “If I was an elderly black man, I’d want to look just like him!”
To my surprise we were seated next to each other on the flight home and when he pulled out a travelogue book set in France, I had the sneaking feeling that he might, just might be a kindred spirit.
I took a deep breath, said hello and before we knew it we were nattering away like old friends. We talked of food and travel, music and books, family and friends, all the things that make life so beautiful. When we parted at the airport he gave me his business card and told me to keep in touch, and I went home pleased as punch to have a new friend.
A few emails later, Art invited me to have dinner with him and his fabulous wife, Donna. I was given the choice of dinner at a Mexican restaurant, a simple French dinner at home, or a full-blown 5-course French dinner. Was there any question? A date was set and on that auspicious day, over an amazing array of culinary delights, a friendship was forged that has swelled to include my siblings, parents and friends. Art and Donna are like family.
Nowadays we get together every couple of weeks for dinner at someone’s house, starting the evening off with a round of hugs and a round of drinks, usually a fine white wine or a lovely apple schnapps.
Not long ago Art and Donna had some of us over for dinner. We sipped our cognac and visited jovially around the table while Art presented us with a beautiful tomato aspic garnished with edible flowers.
Filling our glasses with red wine, he then set a gorgeous crudités platter laden with tomatoes, artichoke hearts, thinly sliced cucumber, celery spears, boiled eggs, stuffed olives and shrimp on a bed of red leaf lettuce. Delicious.