It was June of 1999 when Laurie, Heather I were having dinner at the Springhouse Cafe at the Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort here in San Antonio.
We went there quite often on the weekends as they had a couple of the absolutely-best buffets in town: the Home Cooking buffet on Friday nights & the Seafood Feast on Saturday. Both were available in addition to their normal menu.
As we were there quite often (it was less than 10 minutes from our home), we got to know many of the wait staff by name. It was our home away from home.
This one particular night, the restaurant was pretty crowded & several couples/families were sitting around, waiting for a table.
We kinda felt a little bad when we were waved right in as soon as the maître d’ saw us coming.
Special, yes, but still just a little bad.
We were having our normally-excellent buffet dinner (not sure if it was a Friday or Saturday evening). I know that they featured prime rib on Friday & smoked Amberjack on Saturday, along with dozens & dozens of other scrumptious dishes.
Anyway, I happened to notice a very distinguished gentleman, sitting by himself, at a small table nearby.
I knew he looked so familiar, but I just couldn’t place his face exactly!
Finally, I got it…it was Frank Deford III, a world-renowned novelist & sportswriter, winner of countless honors & awards, and a regular on the HBO series, Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel!
I almost wet my pants as he was also a featured writer for Sports Illustrated & I loved all his work.
And he seemed like a great guy, a normal guy, well, at least, on TV.
I was so anxious to go over & say hello and ask him to join us for dinner, but Laurie kept saying, “Will you pls leave the man alone & let him enjoy his meal?
She was the boss so I relented.
But on the way out, I stopped at his table, excused myself & told him that I was one of his biggest fans. Apparently, he was down here in San Antonio covering the NBA (basketball) finals as the SA Spurs were completing for the crown.
He shook my hand, then asked who the lovely ladies were that were with me.
I introduced Laurie & Heather to “one of the greatest writers ever”.
He asked if we would like to join him, but instead of taking him up on his offer (Man, I would’ve been in Heaven!), I politely declined, saying we had just finished eating & we’d leave him alone to enjoy the rest of his meal.
Stupid, stupid, stupid me!!!
He was just as cool & gracious as I always pictured him. I, of course, left him with a little “Let’s Go, Spurs!” on the way out.
This story could’ve been a lot better had I had bigger gonads, but…
Thanks once again for listening!