I had a friend, I’ll call him Jon for these purposes. Jon was a lawyer, and a good one. He was also a man of integrity, intelligent and easy to be with. We fished and hiked together over a number of years. We first met hanging around our daughters at Ridgepoint Stables. Jon loved the mountains on North Carolina as I did and we hiked there when possible.
On one occasion we went up to North Carolina for a long weekend of hiking, eating and drinking. On a beautiful day, we hiked up to Shining Rock, a nice walk, and climbed up on the rock to have our lunch. To my surprise,my always prepared friend pulled out a bottle of excellent red wine from his backpack, and thankfully, a corkscrew. We shared the bottle with our sandwiches sitting under the glorious North Carolina skies. I must admit after sharing the bottle, we stretched out for a while under that glorious sky, Getting moving, we got down from Shining Rock, and hiked back to our car. We were driving my 86 Volvo 240D. One of the most reliable cars I’ve owned. I drove it for over 214,000 miles. I noticed after starting the car, that I was hard against the peg on empty, on top of a mountain miles from any gas station. We did the only thing possible, got out of the parking lot on the downhill slope, put the Volvo in neutral and let her rip. We coasted all the way down, picking up speed and laughing like school kids. While filling up at a station at the bottom of the mountain, we saw a string of vintage MGs going by. We had seen the same cars while on the way to the mountain in the morning. Neat vehicles.
We went to dinner that evening at the Inn at Brevard, and when we pulled into the parking lot, lo and behold, the lot was full of MGs.
The Inn, a restaurant really, was a grand old house. You walked up the steps, and entered a wide hall with stairs in front of you, a sitting room on the left, used for dining, a large dining room on the right, already filled with MG snobs, and a narrow hall leading back beside the steps to the kitchen and whatever else in the back of the house. We were seated in the small dining room on the left near the hall. Actual cloth tablecloths and good silver. Living large, we were.
During our fine meal, enjoyed with a fine bottle of wine, we heard a commotion coming from the large dining room across the hall. One of the men was complaining loudly and profanely to the server about something. She went back to the kitchen, and he actually followed her and continued to berate her, the host and the chef, again loudly and profanely. He finally finished venting his spleen and resumed his seat. In the relative quiet that followed, we finished our meal, paid the check and got up to leave. I stopped in the hall to put on my coat, but my usually mild-mannered friend continued across the hall to the large during room. He approached the fellow who had been so profanely vocal, put his hand on his shoulder, and said in a soft voice, “Sir, I’m sorry you had such a bad experience”, then raising up and continuing in a louder voice, “but did you have to be such an asshole about it?” Silence in the dining room. Jon turned and walked toward me, and we quickly exited the premises. We laughed all the way to the car, walking by those beautiful, vintage British cars. As I drove out of the lot, Jon turned to me and said ”I left my coat in the restaurant, and we can’t go back and get it.” More hysteria. As an aside, I have heard that those old MGs are finicky, and that mountain air can have an effect on tire pressure, just what I’ve heard.
A fun trip with my friend, and there were others. Then Jon went flying.