Thursday, August 23, 2012

Self and Paul Hampton
This morning started out differently. Linda and I went into the Starbucks round the corner at about 9:30 or so. I saw a gentleman writing in long-hand with a pen. He had two additional pieces of paper filled with script at his side. As we waited in line to get some coffee, I made a joke/comment to him that "excuse me, but  you know that no one writes with a pen anymore. They have computers and word processors for that". He laughed and said he was the kinda guy who liked to write with a pen and even "get" notes written in long hand. As we continued our repartee, he mentioned the singer Diana Ross. I said, "so tell me, are your someone important?" We laughed. "Oh no, not really, just a guy," he said. I pressed him. I said, "you know,  if you're someone famous, I need to know so I can tell all my friends I met  a famous person". He laughed again and introduced himself as Paul Hampton. Well, I do admit I don't didn't know that name. I said something like, "well that's the neat thing about New York, you can be famous and nobody will even know." As we continued our discussion, Paul began telling us about his career in the entertainment business, music in particular.

It turns out that Mr. Hampton is an actor, singer, lyricist and writer of note. He is listed as one of one hundred major architects of American rock and roll in the British rock journal "Footsoldiers and Kings".  Some of his songs have been recorded by Sammy Davis Jr., Bette Midler, Eddy Arnold, Tom Jones, Merle Haggard, Ricky Nelson, Elvis Presley, Gene Pitney and Johnny Cash. As Linda, Paul and I continued our discussion, it was clear that he enjoyed our company and was glad to share his career with us. We spent about 45 minutes with him before saying our good byes and wishing each-other a good day. It was fun meeting this most interesting gentleman.

Once we left Starbucks, we made our way back downtown to Canal Street. We walked the streets, looking in many of the vendor shops and enjoying the rush of the crowd. We found a "Glatt Kosher Vegan Chinese Restaurant" and decided to have lunch there. The food was delicious - especially the bar-b-que "beef". By now it was close to 3 p.m. and we decided to make our way back uptown to our lodgings for a rest.

We had a 5:30 appointment to meet our friends Jerry and Ilene for dinner at Vagabondo's. Vagabondo's is a really great Italian restaurant on East 62nd Street, so we decided to take a short nap. We awoke at around 4:30 and decided to talk uptown to the restaurant. It was 15 blocks uptown. Along the way, we discovered a Home Depot and decided to see what it was all about. Finding a  Home Depot store in the middle of Manhattan was a surprise. We found it full of interior design pieces -- furniture, kitchen and bathroom. It was quite a find.

Ilene, Linda, Jerry and Self
We arrived at the restaurant at 5:30, just in time to join Jerry at the bar and enjoyed a glass of wine. Ilene joined us a few minutes later. After about 15 minutes of conversation, we adjourned to the dining room for dinner. I know I've said this again and again, but the food was wonderful. Jerry and Ilene have been a long term customers at the restaurant and were greeted warmly by two of the owners. The waiters and bar keeps all knew Jerry, so it made for an enjoyable visit.

After dinner, we spent some time outside. Jerry showed us Andy Rooney's house (of 60 Minutes fame). It turns out the house is right next door to the restaurant. We all knew this would be our last evening together for awhile. Linda and I will be leaving for home soon and we don't expect to see this wonderful couple before our departure. We said our farewells and promised to stay in touch. I've known Jerry and Ilene for 15 years or more, so staying in touch won't be difficult. I've always enjoyed their friendship.

We walked slowly back to our lodgings enjoying the warm evening and many of the activities on the street.. Tomorrow is another day and we've got some plans -- so

Stay tuned........