One evening Charles called and said we were heading out for a spur of the moment man’s dinner, the two of us, Cap and Papa, and oh yes, Hud. My immediate response was "Count Me In" with no further thought.
He said we would meet at Olive Garden.
Not my favorite place.
On second thought, I might have some things to do.
But I was certainly up for a quick meal with my co-padre Papa, and of course, Hud. I think Hud was about nine.
We arrived at Olive Garden and it was packed, shoulder to shoulder. Charles was at the desk about ten feet in front of me and turned and mouthed, “forty-five minutes," with a nod and a smile down at Hud, standing next to him. I finally squeezed over to them and suggested that there were plenty of places where we wouldn’t have to wait. With a flurry of his eyebrows and a grin, Charles mentioned that this was Hudson’s favorite place.
|Papa and Hud|
Finally seated at our table, we perused the menu. I was looking for the least worst item and quickly chose an old standby. Charles led Hud through the menu, several times.
I was intrigued.
|Hud and Cappy|
As Charles touched on each item with Hud he approached the selection with care, as if each one was special… as if each item was of value, an experience not to be passed by too lightly. I watched mesmerized as something beautiful was happening. As Charles led Hud through the options, and then back and forth, discussing the special ingredients in this one or sauce in that one, it became apparent that what Charles truly valued was not the selections, but it was Hudson he valued. What Hudson thought and did mattered to Charles. Charles respected Hudson’s opinion and listened to him. It was evident that Hudson knew ingredients and sauces just as well as he knew fishing lures. Charles had seen to that in dining experiences with Hud through the years. It was very obvious that, to Charles, it mattered greatly what choice Hudson would make. Because Hudson greatly mattered.
Waiting for our selections, Charles led Hudson through several discussions that primarily resulted with Hud voicing his opinions. Hud fit right in, knowingly making observations and judgements with ease. When the food came, they discussed the ingredients again for a moment and then moved back in to the prior conversation. I don’t know that I have ever seen such a beautiful experience.
To be clear, this was Hudson’s night. And I was truly glad to be part of the evening.
That night Charles led the two of us on a great experience of adventure and learning… two more in the lengthy and significant procession of boys and men that have been loved and mentored by Charles Wilson.
Footnote - Papa knew Hud needed some encouragement and attention, and he knew just how to administer it.
|Baptisms ~ April 2007|
|Papa's prayer with Hud's sweet grin|