You know how there are certain locations that, every time you see them, conjure up all kinds of memories? Perhaps the hospital where you gave birth to your first child, the church where you were baptized, or maybe even the spot where you broke up with your high school boyfriend. My husband and I recently spent a month living in Rochester while he underwent treatment for Multiple Myeloma. If you’ve ever spent a lot of time in this fair city, you are aware that once you find a parking spot, it’s just easier to walk wherever you need to go within the downtown area than to try and move your car closer. When we were there last month I found myself repeatedly walking past one location that brought back a funny memory for me.

A few years back (or possibly twenty), my friend Diane was going to the Mayo Clinic for some health issues. I only live 45 minutes away from the clinic, so she was staying at my house. One afternoon we drove down for an appointment and our plan was to have lunch before we went to the clinic. We’d already visited a few of the local restaurants and one of our favorites was Pappageorges (hidden inside the long-standing and rather famous Michael’s Restaurant.) They have some great hamburgers and fries, and Diane says their soup is good, too. (At least that was the situation 20 years ago.) Because we were running a little late, we decided that it would be best for me to drop Diane off and have her go to the restaurant and order our food so we’d have plenty of time to eat before heading to the clinic. I told her exactly what I wanted for lunch (we knew the menu by heart) and dropped her off near the parking ramp elevator while I continued circling in search of an empty spot.

A few minutes later, I had the car parked and made my way to Pappageorges. When I arrived, I searched the restaurant only to find that Diane wasn’t there yet. Curious. But, Diane is a tad bit directionally challenged. She gave me permission to use her real name in this story but told me to be sure to mention that she has other gifts. And she does. Anyway, I sat at the table and waited and waited for Diane. After a few minutes I decided I should order, as I knew she was planning to have soup and it would take longer to get my food.

By the time my food arrived, I was starting to grow concerned about Diane’s whereabouts. I mean, really, there were a few different routes between the parking lot and Pappageorges but none of them should take THIS long. Did I mention that this situation occurred before the advent of cell phones? Or at least before we both had one.

What was I to do? An amazing hamburger covered in grilled onions, no pickle in sight (thank you, Jesus, the waitress got it right) and fries on the side, all stared up at me waiting to be eaten. I ate it, of course. I figured if something had happened to my friend, I was going to need my strength. No sense going into a crisis hungry. I knew the exact location of her 1:15 appointment and I decided not to panic unless I got there and she was still missing.

I finished my lunch, paid my bill, and headed across the square (pictured above). That’s where I ran into Diane holding a takeout box with a hamburger and fries inside. She’d picked it up at the Kahler Coffee Shop, where we’d eaten on our last visit. As soon as she had finished her soup she remembered where we were supposed to eat and was on her way to Pappageorges to find me.

I doubt I’ll ever forget watching Diane toss the uneaten lunch into the trash. I wanted to stop her but I knew it wouldn’t be safe to eat after sitting out for hours. I relived that moment every time I passed that trash can last month and it still makes me laugh.

Eventually we made our way to the clinic and got off the elevators, where Diane turned to the right as I turned to the left. I called out to her, “Um, Diane, turn around, we need to go this direction.”

“Are you sure?” she replied.

“Yes, I’m sure. Let’s make a deal. Let’s just agree that when it comes to directions, I’m in charge from here on out. You can be in charge of other things.”

It’s an agreement that’s worked well for us over the years and we still have plenty to laugh about.