October 28, 2002; Miami Beach

South Beach’s Lincoln Road on a breezy fall night: Van Dyke Café, a seat at the bar, glass of Harvey’s Bristol Cream, water back, and a half-order of bread pudding — with the vanilla sauce on the side. It doesn’t get much better than that. Add Monday Night Football to the mix, with John Madden commentating, a Tatiana vanilla cigar, and it’s really a tough batch to better. But it got better. Meeting Jayne was really refreshing. An actor/waiter, pursuing her dreams. Father is a former Navy Sailor who served in Key West, there picking up his laid back outlook on life. The fact that Jayne knew he’d served aboard the USS SARATOGA and the RANGER told me she got along well with him, and that they’d spent a good deal of time together talking about the old days. Cool. Her mom was the corporate executive in the family. Dad quit college to become a stay-at-home father and raise four kids, in girl-boy-girl-boy order, so that mom could pursue her dreams. Actor, Green Beret candidate, Naval Academy applicant with a Pennsylvania senator endorsement, and musician/composer: that’s where the four kids are now. Their folks always told them to follow their dreams, no matter how rough it gets, and that when they meet someone special, to follow their hearts. How rare is that, to encourage kids to follow their dreams, no matter what it takes, with the counsel that certain dreams — like acting — might entail sacrifice, hunger, and a lot of temp jobs? I think it’s pretty exceptional. As far as following their hearts, that’s why Jayne’s engaged now. Never dated anyone before past the point when she knew that he wasn’t “the one”. Great outlook; sounds like someone else I know. Her siblings are her best friends. Said she preferred not to name qualities, but the thing that attracted her most to her fiancé was his “astounding intelligence”, that that’s what she finds most attractive in someone she wants to be with. Said what really glued it for her was when “Mr. TV Man”, as we referred to him on account of his line of work, took her to Paris for a week, whence they got along famously and had a stack of fun. “Because they say if you can travel with someone, that’s how you know.” Said she never got real scientific with it; it was just a feeling that she “knew”. Then she said to a Van Dyke client when he tried to speak to her in Spanish that she “speaks only one language”, and she wouldn’t back down about English being the language of the U.S., and how she shouldn’t have to speak Spanish to work at Van Dyke’s. As insular as most Americans are about the world at large, I have to agree with Jayne on that one. You don’t see that kind of confidence in kids these days, whether they’ve traveled the world or not. That’s how I saw her during that incident with the patron (Ironically, it was the foreigner who had adopted the insularity, expecting everyone in Miami to speak his language when he was traveling.). That kind of confidence is even more impressive in a youngster who’s only been working at a place for two weeks, after just having relocated to a brand new city. She came here from Manhattan to follow TV Man, knowing Miami is a poor place to pursue an acting career, but wanting to support his TV production dreams. Wow; what confidence. What support. What willingness to take risks, to live life to its fullest, understanding that the “right now” isn’t the fruit, but the labor. And how sweet that fruit will be when ripe, having been fertilized, nurtured, and cultivated by a confident patience, one fortified by its own maturation. Because there’s something about maturity that has nothing to do with experience, and more with knowing who, and how, and why you are, and doing the right thing, for the right reason, and sticking to your guns. What a quality background that produced a quality person. It’s heartening to meet people like that out there in this world; rather revitalizing.

So if you ever eat at Van Dyke’s, I recommend sitting in Jayne’s section. And ordering the bread pudding. Bon appetite.

Written by Glenn Yeck | Comments Off on Jayne