Last Friday night my wife and I decided to have a nice dinner at one of our favorite hang-outs, Gubancs Restaurant in Lake Grove. It was a typical Friday night, and the restaurant was totally packed. We were seated, and ordered a beer and dinner. We were casually talking and sipping our beer … waiting for our dinners to arrive. The bar was lively with people talking and laughing; making new acquaintances, or renewing old ones.
Suddenly (and without warning) … total darkness! A restauranteur's nightmare! The power had gone out, and the whole neighborhood was dark.
What happened next, made all the difference between a disaster, or …well, let me explain. First, there was the collective sigh, a small pause, immediately followed by everyone remembering they were Oregonians. They continued their conversations where they had left off, without acknowledging it was now completely dark. The dance began simply. The waitstaff brought out individual candleholders with lit candles. No one left their seats. Someone explained to us the power had gone out, and there was no expectation of it coming back on soon. There was no option given of paying up and leaving. They knew their clientele.
Little lights started to appear everywhere. Everyone was on the same page. The people at the bar seemed to be less affected. If affected at all, they were perhaps even emboldened by the dim light. It reminded me of what it must have been like in World War II in London during the blitz.
Everyone pulled together with patience and good cheer. To our surprise, the waiters started bringing out dinners. It must have been awful in the kitchen with the dim light, but thank goodness for gas stoves. No one left the restaurant. Everyone was served, and when it was time to pay the bill, the waiter simply asked what you had ordered, and ran your card the old fashioned way… by cell phone. As we left, I turned to the people at the bar and asked how they were doing during this blackout … to which, they collectively replied, 'What blackout?' When we left the restaurant we looked back from the dark parking lot and saw flickering candles inside the restaurant and happy people moving about … you have to smile.
This was just a power outage at a restaurant. It is, however, in some ways representative of the spirit of Oregonians during adverse conditions. It is good to know that during this economic blackout that there are still good people who will come together in a friendly and harmonious way to help one another.
Hats off to Gubancs and the type of ownership that inspires its people to do their best during a challenging situation. We will remember that inspiring candlelit dinner in Lake Grove a lot longer than many of the other wonderful dinners we have enjoyed where a candle was only ambience.
David and Ann Janzen are residents of Lake Oswego.