Remembering Omar




In the early 70's, I was treated to dinner at Josef's Restaurant in Copley Square, Boston. Josef's was under the management of Locke-Ober's, another famous Boston eatery.  The fare included New England favorites but also culinary delights from France, Germany and beyond. I had Vichyssoise for the first time that evening. But, this is not the story I want to share...

On April 10, Google memorialized the actor Omar Sharif, best known for his portrayal of Dr. Zhivago. The minute I saw the Google Doodle, my mind flew to that night at Josef's.
My supervisors were taking me out for a special treat to celebrate the work I did with young children and my upcoming graduation from Baystate College (at the time known as Baystate Junior College for Women). I was dressed in my very best mini dress with hair coifed to perfection. As we entered the restaurant, I was telling a story in my usual hands-flaying-in-air-not-paying-attention way. 

Without breaking stride, I plowed into another client on his way out of the restaurant, losing my balance. Two strong hands reached for my shoulders, keeping me from falling on my backside. I tilted my head up to look into the most amazingly huge, dark-chocolate, twinkling eyes. "Are you alright, my dear?" the man asked in a deep, foreign accent full of genuine concern.  

Gathering my composure, I smiled back and said, "Yes, thank you. Please pardon me."

"Of course, my dear," he said as he and his entourage left the restaurant.
As the maĆ®tre d seated us, I kept trying to place where I knew this man from. While I was slowly coming back to my senses, I noticed that my two very sophisticated and worldly supervisors (one was a New Yorker, the other from Cambridge) were all aflutter. "That was Omar Sharif...that was Omar Sharif!" they kept repeating as if caught in some kind of cosmic loop.
"Omar Sharif!" I thought, "That's where I saw him before! He's Dr. Zhivago!" 

Apparently, my thinking was done in a stage whisper! My supervisors began to laugh. I realized that I had said the words aloud. Blushing, I busied myself with my napkin.  The rest of the evening was a blur of laughter and delicious food. 
Funny how something as simple as a Google Doodle can fire up memories from long ago. I may not remember all of what I ate that night, but what I will never forget was literally bumping into Omar Sharif and being rescued from falling unceremoniously on my bottom! 

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