By George Stahl
Special to the Sun
We have all read a story that begins, ‘Me and so and so…” Well. I finally have one of those tales. The other day, my wife and I were having dinner in Flagstaff, Arizona at a place called ‘The Lumberyard.’ It’s a usual hang out for the college students of the town who attend Arizona State University. Some of them use it also as a spot to visit with their parents when they are in town, but for the most part it’s a place they go in order to enjoy the full college experience.
Our server was a young man who had graduated from ASU just last semester and is now waiting to hear from the US Navy about an officer’s commission he applied for. Anyway, we ordered and were sitting along a glass wall looking in at a room full of brewing vats and equipment. As we were sipping on glasses of ice-cold water, I happened to look over my wife’s shoulder at a man sitting in a booth with a woman, whom I couldn’t see very well. They were not fifteen feet away from us, and I could hear every fifth word or so coming from the man, and he’d occasionally throw in a laugh. Something about him and his voice seemed familiar. He was an older man, with a white beard, with some black in it, but exactly salt and pepper like it may have been at one time, and he had a full head of like colored hair.
He wasn’t dressed in what would be called impressive clothes. He had on a pair of blue plaid shorts and a blue and white checkered shirt, and sandals. Still, there was something in his profile that made me think, I know him, but it wasn’t coming to me. I tried to ignore it, but it was eating at my crawl. Like when you know someone’s name or the name of a place and it’s on the tip of your tongue, but it isn’t registering in your brain. It’s one of those moments when you know you will be thinking about it all night until you get the answer.
I was trying to keep up with what my wife was saying about our plans for the next day, but was only hearing half of it, as I kept looking over at the guy in the corner booth who was sitting with a woman I couldn’t see. I took my eyes off of him, and looked at my wife straight in the eyes. I thought maybe that would help. Then, I saw he had turned in his seat, and he was facing me. I looked at him, face to face. He saw me looking in his direction. Awkward? Maybe.
I didn’t care. I was going to find out who he was. Then, as he looked at me, and smiled. I know he wasn’t smiling at me, but at the woman, my brain registered who he was.
I interrupted my wife and looked at her. I didn’t explain, I didn’t preface it with anything, I just said, “Harrison Ford is here.” She stopped talking and smiled. “Right.”
“Turn around, and look at the guy in the booth in the corner, and don’t react.” I said, not looking excited. She turned around and then back at me, in one motion.
“Really? Could be. Are we sure?” she said.
“We are,” I said.
Surprisingly, we only talked about it being him for just a few minutes and then went on with our own conversation about the rest of our trip to Flagstaff. But then, I was looking for our server, and my eyes crossed the direction of the booth. Harrison Ford was looking at me. He actually turned his eyes away when he saw that I had seen him. This was getting weird. Why was he watching me? The look on his face was like, ‘Hey! I know you.’ Was it some sort of twisted celebrity thing? Then I realized. He must have seen my picture in The Sun Newspaper at the bottom of this column. It is on the internet, and any number of people can access the website. Why not Harrison Ford? Follow along.
I knew that he wanted to come over to us, but that could have been awkward. ‘What if he didn’t’ recognize me?” he would have been thinking. On the other hand, I didn’t want to go over to his booth either. What if I said something stupid, or what if I offended him? He’d never read my column again, I thought.
So, we were both content, just sitting in our own seats, and silently acknowledging each other, and respecting one another’s privacy. He and his guest left before my wife and I did and there was no wave, nod or wink, just a mutual understanding that the next time we saw each other on the screen or in print, we would remember that we were both at the Lumberyard on the same hot August night in Flagstaff, Arizona.
That’s my story about me and so and so…and I’m sticking to it!