This one is from the vault…
When I heard that friends were getting married in Richmond, Virginia, over Labor Day weekend, 2007, I was thrilled for them. It was, however, FKGuy and my tenth wedding anniversary, and I hardly wanted to spend the entire weekend traveling. So I hatched a plan. We would drive. From South Florida.
We would make a trip out of it and stop in Savannah, Charleston (just for the day) and Wilmington, NC. Having never been to Savannah, I was really looking forward to it. I did some research and found what I was sure to be some good eats. On our second night in town we meandered through Forsyth Park to Local 11 Ten. It was a small place and we were greeted warmly upon our arrival. We were seated at a banquette in between a table for three (couple, plus one mother) and a table for four (two couples).
We were discussing the wine we brought with our server (Kosta Browne Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast, 2004 – they had a Kosta Browne tasting at the restaurant that day), when the people on either side of us start talking to each other, over our table. Our waiter was very concerned that we were being bothered by these two tables. We assured him that we were, in fact, doing just fine. At that point, the foursome started chatting with us. One of the wives wanted to know who we are, where we were from, and pretty much everything about us. Turns out, FKGuy knew their daughter-in-law from growing up in Birmingham. It would be quite a coincidence, except that everyone involved was Jewish, and well, when you are the son of a rabbi, you pretty much know all the other Jews in Birmingham.
Well, the threesome heard these goings-on and turns out one of them is from Birmingham, too. Naturally, they are from the same town and know many of the same people. Then they invited us to come stay with them for the Jewish Holidays. We politely declined.
As the meal neared an end, the foursome bought the threesome dinner. The threesome, in turn, not wanting to leave us out, bought us drinks. We had a lovely time chatting with the whole crowd. Not to be outdone by the stay-with-us-for-the-holidays invitation, as the foursome was leaving, they told us their names and where they lived. We were instructed to call them if we “need to be bailed out of jail, or anything.” I’m not really sure what about me says I need to be bailed out of jail, but it seemed like a nice offer…
Fast forward about a year when we were visiting friends in Florence. (She grew up in Birmingham with FKGuy). As we were relaying the story of our rather entertaining meal, she interrupts. “Wait. Do you mean so-and-so?” Yes. That is correct. We were halfway around the world and our friend knew exactly who we were taking about, and knew her quite well.
And that, my friends, is how Jewish Geography works.
By the way, bail-us-out-of-jail woman told us we should come back when the azaleas were in bloom. We have yet to do that. However, as our digital images six years ago were not quite what they are today, I have no photos to share with you. Sorry. (Next time I go digging through the archives for a good travel story, I will make sure to find the accompanying photos first.)