Its Friday, and my husband bribed me into getting up early to drive him to work with coffee and the suggestion that I take myself and our daughter out to breakfast. There is this little place built into an old triangle building in the Victorian area called Minnies. You can't sit up in the widows walk which fronts the mostly deserted intersection of main and minor, but the place is warm, friendly and generally serves good food.
Our daughter loves it. The wait staff gives her tomatoes instead of bacon with her pancake, and there are coloring books and crayons. Mom doesn't always insist she sit in her chair, but lets her slide up and down the big booths, and dance in the aisles. Mostly, she watches the locals who drift through the doors to chat over a leisurely breakfast.
In exchange for her outward shows of attention, she offers them smiles, waves and greetings, with the occasional table side visits (if I'm too distracted by coffee or food). We have met grandmothers and retired teachers, their breakfast meetings interrupted by a shy twinkling smile. My favorites are the old men whose fierce demeanor is cracked by boyish grins at her antics. I think she likes the farmers. Their chiseled faces seem stone like and resilient, and it usually takes most of the meal to warm their inner child. Very few people escape without a hint of a smile.
It amazes me how universal a child's joy can be. I wonder how many of those greeters walk out of the restaurant with a feeling different than usual, simply because they ran into a terminally happy two year old. I wonder how many leave chuckling over remembered incidents of parent hood they see echoed on my half asleep face.