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Friday, June 12, 2015

James Patterson, My Favorite Secret Restaurant, and Happy Birthday to Me!

My life revolves around my writing, my wife and my son.
--James Patterson

Last night I had dinner with James Patterson.

Not really.

But now that I have your attention, here's my story.

It was the evening of June 9th, my *hand over mouth*-seventh birthday. 

I wanted to mark my special day in a special way. I wanted to make a special memory.

After careful thought I decided to have dinner at a favorite restaurant, a place I used to go once upon a time. 

A cool breeze filled the air and the evening sky blotted with setting sun swirled in colors of pearl and pink. 

I dressed for my happy occasion--silk stockings, high heels, and belted knee-length sheath. It felt good to dress up; it felt great to celebrate my new age, and as I stepped out the door of my home, I could almost hear my small voice confirm my thoughts.

I arrived at the restaurant, and seeing the valet and doorman, I was filled with joy. Go ahead, call me old fashioned, I don't mind, because I like that a valet parked the car; I like that a doorman swung open the iron and glass doors with signature gold logo stamped across it and held it just for me. And I like that I liked it. 

The Maitre D led me to a table covered in crisp white linen, the waiter filled my glass with ice water, and another waiter placed slivers of freshly cut Parmesan cheese and sliced Soppresat on a china plate, the entire time my mind's eye raced studying the dining room dotted with tables, the people sitting at them, and the waterfall view. 

I ordered house specials--appetizer of soft mozzarella cheese over sliced multi-colored tomatoes drizzled in olive oil; my entree, homemade mushroom and spinach ravioli in marinara sauce, and glass of Cabernet.  

It was my third sip of wine I looked up. That's when I noticed a distinguished gentleman in pastel collared shirt walk in. For a mili-second his eyes met mine. And that was that. He passed my table. 

He tagged a woman soft as a feather and a tall young man was by her side. They were being led by the Maitre D to their table. 

And there was something about him, some presence that made him stand out in a corner of my mind. I just didn't know why. 

Writers write. It's what we do. Even when we are dining in a four-star restaurant our minds are working double-time scribbling in gray matter fast as we can. It is part passion, part we just can't help ourselves. We take everything in. We travel to odd places, visit coffee shops at odd hours, attend seminars and workshops in different states and foreign countries, all of it just to master the divine process of writing. It is a constant study and often difficult to shut down. It's what we do.

And here I was, on the occasion of my birthday, making a mental note of a man in horn-rimmed glasses size of two round quarters who for some reason peeked my curiosity. 

It was after I'd finished my meal; after the waiters had cleared my table and swept it free of crumbs with a tiny comb, and after I had been served peach melba, that I learned who the elegant man was.

Maitre D's love to chat.

Seated at the table alongside me the entire evening was famous author, James Patterson. He was out to dinner with his wife and son.

If you are wondering did I introduce myself to James Patterson and ask for a selfie or autograph, the answer is:

I did not.

I did not turn around.

Okay, I peeked. Once. Okay, I peeked twice.

But I did not introduce myself.

Oh, I thought about it, but only for a moment.

This was not a writing seminar; it was not a writing workshop, and it was not a book signing event. This was a dining room in a four-star restaurant and Mr. Patterson was with his family. I decided to respect the man's privacy, and mine.

Except for this BookOrBust entry journaling my SPECTACULAR birthday celebratory dinner, the glistening memory will remain indelibly imprinted in my mind's soul, and the restaurant I dined at with Mr. Patterson will remain our secret.

Wednesday, June 17th, James Patterson will be making a rare appearance at Immanuel Congregational Church. That's right across the street from The Mark Twain House, in Hartford, CT.
Tickets are $60 / $50 for MTH&M Members. $175 VIP ticket includes pre-reception with Mr. Patterson, a book, and premium seating at the lecture program. It is wise to Call *860/280-3130 or visit for more information.

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