Friday night in mid-Ohio.

The other day, the last remaining member of my summer teaching staff said to me, we should have dinner to celebrate the end of the summer. And so today we climbed into my car and drove off into the gentle northeast yonder, in search of a restaurant in Loudonville that we'd both heard about (and whose bread we eat nearly daily, in our Gambier coffeeshop) but where neither of us had been.

When we arrived at the restaurant, we discovered that two other tablesfull of Gambier people had preceded us, independently of one another. We stood about, perfectly unruly, with our spread of ages ranging from nearly one to nearly 40, on the cooling sidewalk, in front of the restaurant, and talked about our summer goings on and the going away of the summer. And we watched the boy who is nearly one be courted by the girl who is about three. And we watched the light start to gild the buildings and the shadows start to lengthen. As if the dinner--a richly sauced wild mushroom pasta and a chicken pesto pizza, followed by a lovely Belgian chocolate creme--wouldn't already have been enough. As if the drive there and back, with its swift curves and sunset silhouettes, wouldn't already have been enough. Such a bounty: something to pay back as we go, as if we could.