“Your dinners are already paid for” says our waiter as he hands me back my credit card. “I don’t understand” I say in disbelief and confusion. “The gentleman sitting at the next table paid your bill as he left”, the waiter explained. I remembered thinking the man was sitting so close he must have heard every word Stephen and I said. The man’s only companion was his young son who spent the entire time on his smart phone. Stephen, my twenty-nine year old grandson, and I had been squeezed into a tiny table in the corner, right behind this fortyish, professional-looking man who had no choice but to overhear our conversation.
Stephen had flown down from Philadelphia for a visit with me. We had enjoyed four days of quality time together and this dinner was the final event. Stephen is a video producer. He travels the world and creates videos on topics of interest. He has captured videos in Japan, Rome, Peru, Barcelona, Brazil, and many places in the United States. On his way here, he did a piece on Harry Potter World at Universal Studios, and while at my house, documented me reading six of my thirty-one memoir stories, plus some of our discussions.
Stephen also entertained me with his video drone. From my back porch, the drone was launched out over the field, flew around the neighborhood, over the club house and the retention pond next to my property. Then it flew up my street, into my driveway, and up the walkway to my front door. There it hovered, just outside my den window, looking in at me, photographing me. Fascinated, I went outside. Wherever I went, the drone stayed six feet in front of my face, challenging me, but safely out of arm’s reach. “That is so cute”, I said to Stephen who was obviously expert at controlling its movements. Stephen responded, “Grandma, it’s not cute. It’s cool.”
The next day, we went to the bat houses by Lake Alice, and Stephen flew the drone there. It was a windy day. On its return from a flight over the lake, the drone tangled with some swinging Spanish moss and had to be rescued. When Stephen carried the poor little thing back across the street, it was dripping with Spanish moss which clung to its many intricate moving parts. But his thousand dollar flying camera survived to fly and spy again.
Stephen has other passions. He can teach you how to invest in crypto currencies. He posts a weekly video series called Harrogate Ventures in which he makes investing fun and educational. He coaches young boys and girls in soccer. He is currently coaching six teams. Stephen’s thinking is sometimes far out and hard to follow. He is very futuristic. Whatever he happens to be doing ten years from now is sure to be edgy.
Stephen is Italian, like his mother, and looks like his Uncle Thomas Tubertini. He is tall, lean, and fit. He sports a black trimmed beard, curly black hair, and a hairy body. He is missing a little finger. I was with him when it happened and found his missing finger in the spoke of an exercise bike. Stephen hardly thinks that is worth mentioning. His mind is somewhere in the cosmos, doing time travel, thinking about culture, the human mind, and the future.
Stephen is affectionate and a hugger. Many years ago he wrote “I ❤ gma” in the sand in my coffee table Zen garden. “Well, Stephen, I ❤ you back”, I said.
It will always remain a mystery why that fellow diner was moved to pay for our dinner. I suspect he felt strong approval toward young Stephen and his comfortable, authentic, mature, and close relationship with his Grandma.