I wrote several days ago that I would tell you about how Ruggero and I met the actor Hector Elizondo and how did it end. So this is how it happened.
I don’t remember exactly what month. It was probably in spring time, the high season of Palm Springs. One day, a very well dress man walked into our restaurant. As usual I grabbed the menu and came to greet my customer. At the first hello, as our eyes met, I recognized the familiar face but could not think of the name or what movie he was in. However, I quickly welcome him to our place and led him to a private table and sat him down. After making sure he was comfortable and well tended. I made an excuse to leave him alone and gestured to one of my waiter to keep an eye on him.
Ruggero was busy preparing some risotto. I came close to him and whispered in his ear.
“Ruggero, I think there is a Hollywood personality sitting there in the diningroom”
“Who’s that?” Ruggero asked.
“I can’t think of his name, but I am sure he is in a lot of movie. Go and take a look.” I was hoping Ruggero would remember the name.
Ruggero took a peek from the kitchen and then exclaimed.
“Yeah, yeah…I know him. He played a detective role in…Gosh! I can’t remember…” He scratched his head and tried to think for a second.
I waited patiently. But he shook his head in the end, signaled that he gave up.
We both felt uncomfortable, fearing that without knowing this actor’s name perhaps we would unintentionally insult his pride.
But we had no choice. He was already in our home. We need to make him feel welcome and respected. So we decided to go to his table.
Ruggero: “Hi, please forgive our memories. We know you are very famous in many movies and we love all the characters you played…but we can’t recall…”
:” Hector, my name is Hector Elizondo.” Very politely, he reached out his hand with a smile.
“Oh yeah!!!…” We both relieved and were so excited.
“My daughter adores you!.” I was thinking of my daughter Vicki. She would go crazy if she knew her favorite star sitting right here in our restaurant.
“She keeps on watching Princess Diary every day.” I added.
“Thank you.” He humbled.
Ruggero prepared a beautiful antipasti, a plate that showcased all of his salami and cheese products. Hector ordered a bottle of wine. The three of us suddenly felt like we had known each other for ever. Over the wines, the salamis, and the pasta, our conversations lasted for hours.
After that day, Hector came another time. this time he introduced us to a lady, saying that she was his personal trainer. We quickly became friends and had a wonderful lunch together, the four of us. At the end, as Hector was kissing me goodbye. He said he was about to travel somewhere far away for a movie set, and that he won’t be back till sometime.
“But I will call you (he looked at both of us), from time to time to see how you are doing. ” He shook Ruggero hand.
“We will be here, going nowhere…” Ruggero joked.
We all laughed, and kissed, and big hugs. And then they left. From our door, we waved goodbye to them. They waved back whole heartedly.
Months passed by. We were so busy running the restaurant and had no time to call our famous friend (he gave us his home number and said we can call him any time.) I bet he was busy too with his schedule of travels. But then again, one day, the phone in the restaurant rang.
“Magie restaurante, buongiorno.” Ruggero picked up the phone.
“Buongiorno, this is Hector! how are you Ruggero?” The voice sounded happy.
“Hi…I am good, thank you. But…Hector…Hector… who is this?
” Hector Elizondo!!!” from other side, the voice sounded upset.
“Hector Elizondo…umm… so sorry, but I am very bad with name…”
“Hector Elizondo the actor!…you don’t remember me???” Through the line, Ruggero could feel the disappointment.
“Oh yeah!…oh yeah! I remember now! how are you?”
“I am fine. I just call to say hello and to see how Magie and you are doing?”
“Yes we are doing fine thank you. Thank you for calling. When are you going to be in town?”
“Well, I have to see my schedules. Look like I will be very busy for a while. So I will call you when I have a chance to go to Palm Springs.”
“Yeah…please, we look forward to see you and your friend again.”
They both said goodbye to each other and hang up. I came back from Costco an hour later. As soon Ruggero saw me, he ran to me.
“Magie, I think Hector…he is MADDD… with me…”
“Oh he called?…” I was excited. ” Why mad?”. Surprised, I asked.
Ruggero told me how bad he felt of not remembering his name and saying that he had a feeling he had unintentionally hurt this man’s pride.
Even though I understand Ruggero, because I, myself, have problem with the names as well. “Nevertheless, this mistake is unforgivable.” I thought to myself. And it was true. We have never heard from him again, even though we both called his home number and apologized for the mistake. He never calls back. I decided not to bother him again. I respect his decision and think that it is time we should let our friendship goes.
We still miss him and the short times we spent together. But it’s life. Peoples comes and goes, just like the wind. All we have left is the sweet memory of him every time we see him in the big pictures.
Farewell my friend.