Frank and I celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary Aug. 22. To commemorate it, we returned to the setting of our very first date, the Cherry Tomato in Park Hill. Frank took me there on a Friday night and we got married exactly one year later. If someone had told me then, on that first date, that in 13 years I’d be running a restaurant with Frank, I would have thanked him for the nice dinner and conversation, said goodnight, and politely declined any other invitations to hook up until he got the hint.
When I was growing up, I would come home from school and watch reruns of old TV shows _ Petticoat Junction, Gilligan’s Island, Hogan’s Heroes, etc. One show I never wanted to watch was Green Acres. I could never get past the theme song. For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, the sitcom was about a couple of New Yorkers who ditch the city for farm living. High jinks ensue.
The show starred Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor. In the opening theme song, Eva laments leaving a Park Avenue penthouse to live on a farm. I could never get past that line. What woman in her right mind would leave a penthouse, on Park Avenue in New York to live on a rundown farm with a bunch of yokels! I’d shudder and click the remote, or turn off the TV and do my homework.
Frank loved that show. Thought it was hilarious.
One day, when we were still cleaning and preparing to open Frank’s Kitchen, I was on my hands and knees scraping the grout in the restroom that it hit me: I am Eva Gabor. I have left my Park Avenue penthouse for the farm. Only it wasn’t a penthouse but a Mission-style desk, cushy chair, MacBook and the relative comfort of a freelance writer’s career. I had left it all to help my husband pursue this dream. Only this was no rundown farm, but a little neglected restaurant in need of major repair. This was my Green Acres.
I didn’t feel sorry for myself. I didn’t feel like I was missing out. In fact, I looked forward to opening the restaurant and working side-by-side with Frank to make this a success. Suddenly I understood how a woman in her right mind could leave her big city penthouse and luxury living to follow someone she loved in a big adventure.
Please, though, no high jinks.