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Feb 06, 2014  |  Vote 0    0

My Funny Valentine

Frontenac Gazette
By Kate Kristiansen

"Valentines Day is for girls," said my daughter. When asked why she would suggest that, she claimed, "The boy doesn't really care. It's just another day."

I was aghast; however, who could blame her? She has two parents who are rarely in the same city, let alone the same country, on Valentine's Day. The day passes with heartfelt phone calls, a card and occasionally flowers. I am big on cards. Maybe it's the writer in me, but to me what's written inside is bigger than any old gift.

I told her that both people in a relationship both deserve to feel loved, not just on Valentine's Day, but all year long. Her father and I are good to each other every day.

All of this talk of love reminded me of an encounter I had while on a recent visit to a café in Picton.

I stumbled upon the Regent Café a few years back and I try and stop whenever I'm in the area. Hubby and I have taken the dog in the summer to sit on the patio and watch passersby. Located at 222 Main Street West, the café sits next to the historic Regent Theatre.

This sweet little stop opened in 2001, adding to the fabric of the downtown main street. It's open for breakfast and lunch, and offers up good food made with local ingredients such as breakfast burritos, eggs benedict, fruit and yogurt, fresh baked muffins, warm bowls of soup, salads, sandwiches and pizza. The atmosphere is charming with its local artwork, white walls and quaint little tables offering guests a chance to relax and chat.

On this particular day, I ventured in on my own for a steaming latte and chocolate croissant. Warmly greeted by owners David Wheately and Megan Van Horne, I found a spot where I could fire up the laptop and settle in to do some work.

Shortly after my arrival, a nicely dressed, distinguished gentleman strolled in. With a broad smile, a newspaper and book tucked neatly under his arm, he asked to use the café phone. Perhaps he was a regular, as owner David Wheatley did not hesitate to hand it over. I was intrigued by the man's question, given that pretty much all of us carry cell phones these days, so I leaned in to learn more.

He explained his wish was to call his sweetheart and invite her for lunch. He had just been to the shops, and wanted to have her meet him there, at a cozy table for two. I sat appearing as if I was not prying in on their conversation, but a smile escaped as I secretly was in awe of the gesture. While my husband texts me daily with cute messages, I couldn't recall him calling and asking me to meet him for lunch in some time.

The owner was friendly as the gentleman told the story of how the two had met. He spoke of meeting her through his friend, who was her brother, and how she looked that first day. His grin was wide and his eyes danced as he spoke of her initial refusals and inevitable acceptance. I still recall the feeling of wonder and pleasure this man's love

for his (wife, I assumed) gave me. We all have "our story" of how we met our significant other.

I often tell the story to my daughter of how her father "had me at hello," as much for his Kiwi accent as his boyish good looks. He has been my Valentine every day since then.

This man in the café sat adjacent to me, his legs crossed as he read his book, waiting for his beloved. He was a handsome man. The pessimist in me worried that she may not show up. How could they still be in love after such a long time? I worried for them without even knowing who they were.

In particular, I worried because I hoped and wished that this would one day happen to me. That after all the busy days were behind us, my husband would call and still want it to be me he invited to lunch.

The Regent Café is whimsical and rich with history -a perfect destination for lovers. I'll bet if its walls could talk, they would tell of many couples, young and old, quietly sipping coffee and eating something sweet.

First dates offer up promises for the future - the smallest gesture is exciting and new. The real test comes when after all the firsts and seconds pass us by, when the good times and troubling times wash over us in waves. For love to last, each of us must remember the other.

I tell my daughter that love should be present all year round. That on any given day you should expect the unexpected from the person you've picked to have lunch with

for the rest of your life.

If you have a foodie biz or restaurant for me to visit email ladydinesalot@gmail.com or follow my blog LadyDinesalot.com or on Facebook.

The Regent Café 222 Main Street West Picton, Ontario Open 5 days a week - Wed - Fri (9-5pm), Saturday (8-5 pm), Sunday (8-4pm) * Later if there is a live event on at the Theatre next door.

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