The Bitter-Sweet Luncheon is a completely hypothetical activity: Genealogists gather to dine over lunch, one on one, with their most elusive ancestor — regardless of Time and Space in order to gather information first hand.
To many, such a meeting would be a heart-felt and memorable event, but the bitter sweetness of it extremely hard because only one question could be asked to the time-traveling guests.
Tables were reserved and scattered about a busy, outdoor patio in the old quarter of the city — six genealogists accepted my invitation (challenge) and acquainted me with the respective relatives they so eagerly wanted to sit down and dine with! I took a seat at the far end of the bar intent to identify and match each ancestor to their respective progeny and relate their meeting.
The first genealogist to arrive was Kirsty Gray. (I checked my pocket-watch — she was 15 minutes early!)
She was followed a few minutes later by the Alberta Genealogical Society’s First Vice President, Leanne Kruger, who was taken to her table just as the lunch rush began trickling in.
It was five minutes before twelve noon, when Ruth Blair and Gena Philibert-Ortega arrived in the cue, waiting to be seated. Immediately behind them was a sharp-dressed gentleman, who removed his top hat and bowed his head after both ladies smiled and greeted him.
It was quickly evident to everyone that this fellow was from a lost time — a time of old-fashioned manners and courtesy, lost to so many in this present day and age.
When the second hostess welcomed him, he bowed his head to her and stated that he was meeting his great-granddaughter for the first time.
The young lady smiled and nodded, grabbed another menu and motioned across the patio, before leading the way.
Halfway across the cobblestoned floor, Kirsty’s smile widened as he came closer. She vibrated with excitement. This must be him! She fought back tears and the compulsive urge to rush across the patio and hug the gent.
Kyle Betit and John D. Reid, having just been seated at their respective tables, watched with pride as Sir Albert James Taylor Day embraced his great grandchild, while Gena, Ruth and Leanne wiped away tears of joy witnessing the tender meeting from their vantage points.
As everyone smiled watching Kirsty and Sir Albert take their seats, a very determined woman rushed into the dining area, waving off the hostesses.
It was unbelievable to witness. She quick like a flash of lightning, but from where I sat, this old woman *knew* she was needed — searching for the familiar face of her great granddaughter.
It only took her a heartbeat and she was standing at the table. All smiles, having dropped her bags to the floor and with arms out-stretched, greeted her Gena!
A quick pan of the restaurant revealed there was not a dry eye in the place! And another glance at my blurry pocket-watch revealed it was only 12:05 and we were still waiting on four more guests.