Wednesday, March 23, 2011

"Hey Dad! What's Up?"

"Hey Dad! What's Up?!"  Dwain was anything less than meek when he jovially greeted the elderly gentleman who sidled up to the counter behind him.  The octogenarian return the reply, and a hearty conversation began.

I assumed it was Judith's dad ~ another Cajun on tap to meet our little crew for supper.  It wouldn't be a stretch that her dad would join us, as Judith's entire family was in town for a funeral.  Gil walked up about the time the conversation began to wane between Dwain and Dad . . . and I could tell by Gil's body language he thought the same as I.  As Gil engaged the man, however, a totally different story emerged:  The old man was the owner of the eatery we had entered.


A New Orleans fixture as old as the fleur de lis on the iron bars that graced the city.

Dad was Drago ~ and a newfound respect and social grace entwined each of us.  Drago smiled ear to ear as he shook our hands, and he was keenly interested in Keller, whose curls attract almost everyone who sees him.  Dad spoke heartily of his family, and his grandchildren, shouting above the din of the packed restaurant.

As conversation became a tad more labored, we turned to allow the man his privacy.  The hostess had caught eye that we'd been speaking with the man, so she summoned Gil and Keller over.

Reaching deep in the cabinet, and fishing out an insignia'd t-shirt, the gift came across the glass case.  Gil responded by immediately dressing L'il Man in their wares.

Keller wanted none of it.  It was too late to repair the situation, though, as our table was called.

We were soon dining on sumptuous fare that was full of flavor explosion and intricacy.  The company we were keeping was quite enjoyable, and laughter filled the air.  Interestingly, we were in the direct line of sight of Mr. Drago himself, who seemed to be enjoying the fact that we were enjoying ourselves, in his establishment.

When Judith excused herself to the powder room, and Keller mistook her for me, chasing her down the hall past Drago, Drago about came out of his skin for worry about the little boy left behind.

Keller, realizing his mistake, turned on a dime, and tried to find me in the flux of people coming and going . . . and soon let out a partially panicked wail.  As I chased him down, calling his name, and Drago shouted out at me to 'catch' him before he was injured, I felt like saying, "Hey Dad, What's up?  ~ I've got him!"  LOL

But his concern was sweet and valid, and revealed the heart behind the business man.

None of us could get over the fact that we'd spent the evening with Drago . . . nor that Dwain had so impressionably engaged him.  "Hey Dad" quickly took up residence as a buzzword for our time together.


Never a dull moment.



Wendy said...

Sounds like a lovely evening. :)

If I ever make it to New Orleans I'll be sure to stop by Drago's. I honestly had never heard of it but did a quick search and found the restaurant's site.

~ Angi :) said...

Our aunt Pat tells us that after Katrina, he opened the doors wide . . . fed anyone and everyone who came through the parking lot. All they had to do was show up. For weeks.

Karen in NH said...

What a blessing - a most remarkable man, as you've written here.
Memories - you're always making memories.....
Miss you -

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