My dad was a salesman.
He was personable and funny and always up for a good time...and not a good time like drinking till all hours or throwing wild parties but a good time like the very best dinners at the very best restaurants.
When I was a teenager he was very successful and "a good time" often meant dinners in the city or even weekends in the city. We'd shop during the day, stay in a posh suite somewhere wonderful and incredible meals in amazing places.
Somehow, he seemed to know captains and maitre d's at world-class restaurants.
He was also a master at palming a twenty.
When I was little and my parents went out to dinner my mother would leave a sugar-cube from the restaurant of the evening under my pillow. I'd wake to perfectly paper-wrapped rectangles from The Russian Tea Room or Danny's Hideaway or The Four Seasons.
When I was older, I and my brothers got the chance to go with them from time to time, if my dad wasn't entertaining clients.
I remember them as clearly as other people remember Christmas mornings (and I remember those too).
We'd go to La Fonda Del Sol for mariachi music and loud good times.
We'd feast on pasta at Mamma Leone's.
We'd have steaks at Sardi's.
But the most impressive evenings were certainly in the pool room at The Four Seasons.
My mother taught us about the curtains, we'd sit by the pool, I loved looking at the ashtrays (one little tree for each season). I remember venison and lobster and at one particular dinner, when my brother B was still just a little boy, a huge mountain of glistening white cotton candy being brought out to him. It had candied violets hidden in its puffs and a mound of french vanilla ice cream underneath it. The perfect treat for a little one who had sat through a formal dinner without a peep.
When K and I got engaged my dad offered two possibilities: dinner for 50 at The Four Seasons or dinner for 100 at a country inn near our home. We chose the latter, though I'm not sure why. I think somehow I thought it was more modern of us - as if The Four Seasons was my parent's place.
The Four Seasons has closed.
It doesn't matter that some articles say there will be a new one at a different location.
It won't ever be the same.