I received and email last week that a former colleague, a teacher that formally worked with me, would be visiting Disney for the week with her daughter and young grandchild.
Lugene C. and I had worked together for ten years at the Ringgold School District until I moved on to more lucrative pastures. She suggested we meet one evening for dinner to catch up on the past and just socialize. We took her up on the offer and prepared to make the 45 minute journey across I-4 to the Animal Kingdom lodge where we would all meet. Robin and I had busied ourselves earlier in the day with Tom and Deana, making necessary purchases of staples and foodstuffs. We also spent a few hours making unnecessary purchases of Christmas gifts. I say unnecessary because we’ve all been blessed with good fortune. We have no immediate needs, therefore, Christmas gifts have become purchases of habit and the desire to live in excess. To make us feel better we dropped off another cache of usable items and clothing at the local Goodwill industries. We’re also making some minor purchases of toys and dropping them off at the children’s cancer wing of Tampa General Hospital. It may not make much difference to a child, but it will do my heart good to see at least a smidgen of a smile.
Later in the afternoon we headed out to meet Lugene C. and her “children” for a 5:45 dinner meeting at Jambos, a five star African motif restaurant located in the Animal Kingdom Lodge.
Just like everything else Disney does, the architecture of this facility was beyond imagination. It was immense, housing several hundred rooms, a lobby that could fit a basketball arena inside and a bevy of shopping facilities. The Christmas tree had to be every bit of 50 feet tall, adorned with thousands of handmade ornaments that are placed there by visitors to the facility.
I was able to catch Ellie busying herself by putting her ornaments on the tree.
I usually like to photograph the meals when eating cuisine that is every bit the eye candy rave. We had started with appetizers of spiced chicken flatbread, Ostrich mignon, and African savanna egg rolls. Robin’s entree choice was grilled swordfish and mine was the barbecued short ribs. But the conversation, the laughter, and the Reisling overtook my good senses and I completely forgot to get my camera out during the main courses. My recommendation, however, is that if ever in the area, do yourself a favor and take in a meal at Jambo. We all agreed that it had to be one of the best meals we experienced of all time. It was a great evening of chatting with an old friend and getting some up close and personal experience of what it will be like when I have a grandchild. I see the light shining in Lugene’s eye when watching Ellie be a child. I couldn’t pass up the child’s smile on Robin’s face either as she enjoyed the evening as much as I. We left Disney about 8:30, returning to Tampa East for a bit of TV prior to hitting the sack. Tomorrow is a partial workday and PepBoys called and informed me that the running boards for the Titan had arrived. I’m needing these as the ladies need a bit of a boost getting into the raised chassis of the cab.