Sometimes reality slams you in the face.
When I went to Lafayette College in the 1960s I longed to eat at the Black Bass Hotel in Lumberville, Pennsylvania. It’s in a gorgeous old building on the Delaware River, and I used to drive past it on my way to Philly. I never could afford to eat at the Black Bass but told myself I would some day when I was grown up and had money. Last week, I was visiting my sister and brother-in-law in Bucks County Pa., not far from Lumberville, and I treated them to dinner at the Black Bass. I thought it would be a dream come true.
We eagerly walked into the place, walked over to the hostess who was behind a desk.
“You can’t eat outside, she declared as an opening gambit.
This was a stunner as I didn’t know there was an outside. I also thought she might have said something radical like hello before telling us what we could not do.
“May I give you my name?” I said. I had, after all, made a reservation on OpenTable.
“You can’t sit outside,” she repeated.
I looked outside. I saw a beautiful deck overlooking the lazy wooded bucolic Delaware. My past flooded back to me.
“I have a reservation,” I said.
“Oh, I thought you were a walk-in,” she said.
Why did she think that? We all had showered. We were neatly dressed. How does a walk-in look?
She stared at her computer screen. She found my name where it was supposed to be.
“You can’t sit outside,” she said. “You reserved inside.”
I didn’t recall OpenTable giving me a choice between outside and inside.
“Can we sit at the window?” my sister asked.
“Oh, sure,” the hostess said, suddenly becoming polite. “Anyone with a reservation gets the window.”
The food was OK. The waitress was good. The view was the best.
I won’t be going back to the Black Bass. I’ve done the Black Bass. And I never got to sit outside.