Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Childe Harold

I wanted to reflect for a moment on a restaurant in DC that closed back in 2007, the Childe Harold.  The 4-story, brick restaurant and saloon was located just north of Dupont Circle on 20th Street, NW - a stone's throw from the bustling gay shopping/nightlife on Connecticut Avenue.  Off of the regular walking track, it was a place of destination for those who knew its history.  At its creation in 1967, the Childe Harold was christened for a Lord Byron poem celebrating a young man's world travels.

Having no clue about the place, I accidentally made this location the first place I took myself out to dinner when I moved to DC in September 1995.  Alone and a bit homesick, I wanted to do something that, at that point, could only be done in a metropolitan city:  I ate dinner outside on the covered patio while reading a book.  The food, spaghetti and meatballs, satisfied my hunger; the glass of red wine was a tip-o'-the-hat to my melancholic college days; and the book, "Chicken Soup for the Soul", was to ease my homesickness.

It's interesting that I unwittingly chose this place; a place named for a poem that describes the travels and reflections of a young man who leaves behind a known life for discoveries elsewhere. Both the fictional Harold and I were young men who had lived lives of pleasure and revelry, now looking for distractions in foreign lands.  How interesting it is when art imitates our lives, and/or vice versa.

Sometimes without us ever really knowing about it.