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  • Writer's pictureJayne Lisbeth

Moments Imprinted on Our Hearts

Have you ever returned to a restaurant or place where something special happened? Maybe it was your first date, your first meal together, maybe in a greasy diner. Or a picnic in the middle of a field with wilted lettuce, lots of ants, and a great bottle of wine? It is that moment when you first laugh together. When your fingertips first touched, and instead of drawing apart, you held hands. You probably went home together that day.

Our first date was at Hugo’s on South Howard Avenue, an easily walked two blocks from my home on Watrous Avenue. I shared the home with my two wonderful, smart, funny kids.

When Tim arrived my son was manning his lemonade stand on our sidewalk. Kindly, Tim bought a glass of lemonade for the outrageous price of 50 cents a cup (this was in 1991). Tim tried to swallow down the bitter swill and gasped to my entrepreneur son, “That’s the worst lemonade I’ve ever had in my life.”

With a mischievous grin my dear son replied, “Yeah. But you only have to buy one cup.” I was so proud. I beamed all the way on our walk to Hugo’s.

It should have been no surprise to Tim when I deftly plucked fries off his plate, as I smiled coyly and said, “You gonna eat those?”

"Well, yeah, I was planning on it." He indignantly replied. He smiled, then laughed. I smiled back and giggled as I ate every fry. He later admitted he loved watching me do so, down to the last fry. That was our moment in time, imprinted forever on our hearts.

Over the years we visited Hugo’s whenever we had a few extra bucks, and always to buy Cubans for our crew at our Watrous Avenue Gasparilla Pirate’s Parade party.

It was never the same. The original Hugo’s owner died. His sons took over and trashed the place with new ideas and no money. “Big hat, no cattle.” As Texans say.

We passed by the old Hugo’s location recently. I suspect the apartments above are still rented, mostly likely at unaffordable prices. But Hugo’s is long gone.

As we drove by we revisited our memories. I realized that love is not measured or comprised of places, special restaurants, hotel rooms or Airbnb rentals.

Love consists of moments. You can never revisit a place and have the same first encounter. But you can always revisit a moment.

Wordsworth said it best: “Spots in time, small, memorable events that occur mainly outdoors and in touch with nature.” According to Wordsworth these spots have lasting quality and are capable of “lifting us up when we are fallen.”

Spots in time. Defined by me as “illuminating, searing perfect moments, telegraphed through your senses." The rustle of trees overhead. The hooting of an owl. The color of the sky. The scent of a pine tree. Greasy fries at Three Coins.

Happy Valentine's Day. Savor every moment in your life, every special spot in time. On Valentines Day or any day. Smell the fries, taste the scent in the pine trees, savor life.

And always, be your own Valentine.

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