At 4:45 p.m. I pulled up to Blue Colony Diner in Newtown, CT.
This was my first time in this town, although I recently relocated to a town nearby. I sat in the parking lot checking my emails on my phone.
The lights in the car faded off and the cold air began to invade the warmth of the car. This was going to be a business meeting so I wasn't there for leisure, I hadn't event chosen the location.
It was getting dark outside and I decided to get out of the car. At 4:50 p.m. I walked into the Diner. It was pleasantly warm and I liked that. I was cold, wearing only a suit in New England winter weather.
I quickly looked around to see if the person I was meeting had arrived. I didn't see him, so I tried to look casual, and decided to go to the restroom.
One of the waitresses spoke to me with a pleasant smile, her brief stare was not offensive. Obviously I was not from around here and she was right. I came out of the clean bathroom and went to the hostess to be seated.
"A table for 2 please," I said and followed the petite woman in her sixties to the table. 2 seconds after being seated a pretty waitress in her 20s came to take my drink order.
Her medium brown ponytail moved with her and she was surprisingly tanned. She promptly brought my water and saucer of lemons and asked if there was anything else, I smiled and said, "I'll wait, thank you."
There I was, sitting by myself watching the diner fill. There were elderly couples, women with canes, even a young man in his 20's eating a large plate of onion rings with a root beer in a bottle.
This east coast diner reminded me of the midwest. There was a simple wholesomeness about the atmosphere. After a while, families began to come in. I remember seeing numerous little children with their parents. One little girl that walked by my table looked at me so long she turned her head around in my direction as she walked by.
I can picture her long wavy-mousy blond hair falling down her shoulders that seemed tired from the day. The person I was waiting for arrived around 5:15pm. Although I was engaged in the conversation, there were moments when the diner atmosphere pulled me in. It was like looking into a glass snowball.
Things were moving but yet it was standing still. There were cookies on the counter that were the size of dinner plates and chrome trim around the counter. There was this sense of Nostalgia that was in there not because it was a diner, it was because of where the diner was.
As I left the diner that evening, it was close to 7 p.m. I only had a cup of tea, but I felt as if I had more. I felt unguarded as I walked to my car, not checking inside before I get in, like I do so often. The next morning, I had to be in East Hartford for a meeting.
At approximately 8:45 a.m., I passed the Newtown exit, exit 10. I glanced over to the once unfamiliar exit now feeling it was a place I knew.
That same morning, not long after I passed the exit 10 on 84; an individual entered an elementary school in Newtown, CT. As shots fired I was riding further away, as 20 precious children and 7 innocent adults fell victim to an untimely and horrific death, I was headed to another meeting, as I thought about the plans for my day I had to change lanes to allow 3 high speed police cars pass with their lights flashing and sirens roaring. Several hours later, I saw a headline that I will not ever forget, "Connecticut gun rampage: 28 dead, including 20 schoolchildren." As I continued to read what followed my eyes stopped as I saw, Newtown, Connecticut.
This random act of violence did not just happen IN Newtown, it happened TO Newtown. As I read the story tears flowed as I imagined the fear in the hearts of those unexpecting children, in a place where they once felt safe and cared for. I can only imagine those adults in disbelief as they felt powerless to what may befall them at any moment.
I thought about the faces I saw in the Diner the evening before. Were any of them Grandparents, Parents, Aunts, Uncles, siblings, children or friends of the victims or were one of them victims themselves? I will cherish the moments I spent in Newtown, Connecticut before this tragedy and have vowed to pray for this town in these moments after. I hope that as the Blue Colony Diner appeared still in the midst of life's motions, Newtown holds firm as the healing showers down.
We love you Newtown.