I will gladly call a restaurant beautiful.
I will call a restaurant beautiful if I can wake up to a sunny warm morning and grin in my myopia at the thought of having enough money in my checking account today to afford dinner at that restaurant on its fourth open day. I will call it beautiful if, as the temperature goes up and the sun stays high and bright, I keep looking forward to 5:30 and sitting in a bar booth and trying red wines. I will call it beautiful if it gives me a reason to drag the wicker chair outside into the sun, push up my t-shirt sleeves, roll my jeans to my knees, and try to freckle. I will call it beautiful even if I have to cut short a sunny phone call with my extraordinary brother, just so I can dig out a dress and a lipstick and a pair of hose and a pair of heels.
I will call it beautiful if it gets me to wear heels. I will call it beautiful if it gives me a reason to wear a dress.
I will call it beautiful when it has my excellent friend and me walking past the students and their bikes, getting ready for Critical Mass in front of the bookstore. I will call it beautiful when two of those students show up in jeans and t-shirts to have cans of PBR at the high table behind us, after we've gotten to the restaurant, as we're drinking $4 glasses of wine.
I will call it beautiful when a former student's mother nearly falls over and saves herself with the back of my dinner chair, and then comes back to tell me that she does remember who I am, after her mohawked rugby player son's arrival reminds me of who she is.
I will call any restaurant beautiful that serves me a mojito torte for dessert. I will call it beautiful if the steak I'm served bleeds when I slice into it. I will call it beautiful even if I wish there had been a shiraz on the menu, and dinner rolls on the table, and even if they put my steak on someone else's bill.
I will call it beautiful because it was a place that was open and not even this nice the last time I lived in Gambier, and because tonight it was full and because its very presence made everyone inside an openly grinning full fool. Because we can walk to a good restaurant now. Because it is not yet a restaurant where anyone has had a hiring committee dinner. Because there were students, and parents, and colleagues, and neighbors, and children, and friends. Because it gave me a place to have a large meal with people I love. Because it is where I live.
I will call it beautiful because it makes me glad to be in my village.