January 1, 1917 to May 29, 2006
Five years ago today, Dad left us for a better place. We miss you Bruno! A new tradition was started in Orlando following your death.
Mom and Dad went to visit my brother Mike in Florida in March 2006. Dad was obviously failing but he still liked to do some of finer things. Before they headed back to Michigan, Mike made a dinner reservation for Mom and Dad and him at Ruth Chris in Orlando. Bruno, being the connoisseur he was, enjoyed his fine dining and cocktails. Mike believed this would be perfect for Dad. And impressed he was! He told Mike it was the best dining experience he ever had. Mike and Dad enjoyed a flight of Grand Marnier after dinner and Bruno really thought that was top shelf. It turned out that that evening was Dad's last supper (in the fine dining world).
They went back home to Michigan and Dad spiraled downwards and passed away 6 weeks later.
Following that experience, a new tradition began. Mike and his boys now dine at Ruth Chris in Orlando every May 29th. The first year after Dad's death, Mike made a reservation for dinner. They were seated at the same table they had sat at when Mom and Dad were there. Not only was it the same table, but as they were seated, the seat Bruno had sat in remained empty. Coincidence? Mike explained to the waiter about Dad being there previously, etc. and asked the maitre'd to bring an empty martini glass in Dad's honor. It was set at Dad's place setting along with a black linen napkin. They enjoyed a nice dinner and talked all about Dad through out the dinner. Following their meal, they finished off with a flight of Grand Marnier. Tradition began. The next year when they dined at Ruth Chris, the maitre'd recalled the celebration and the table was set for them, same table, same seating, and black napkin and chilled martini glass.
Last night, was the annual celebration dinner of Dad's life. As in the four years past, the staff prepared Dad's chilled martini glass, two olives in the glass and they fill it with water....and the black napkin. There sits Bruno's spirit awaiting their arrival. Mike and the boys talk about Dad all evening and reminesce. What a fine tradition. Bruno would love it.
As Dad always said, "Why not?" Cheers Dad, we miss you!