Harold and Some Silver

We were on a business trip to Vancouver, BC last year. Let me define “business” trip: Beloved Husband has the odious task of actually working and being pleasant to customers, while I am unleashed to pillage a new city as I see fit. This arrangement works swimmingly for both of us. It is a small luxury in life to have exactly as much time as I like in a used-book store, for instance, without fretting about taking up too much of someone else’s time.

In between various meetings, we had time to tour gorgeous Vancouver and the jewel in its crown, Stanley Park.



Stanley Park is also where BH had to fend off the attack of the vicious Canadian Black Squirrel. You may have heard of it. No? Consider yourself warned.


Killer squirrel ready to pounce at any moment.

Our last morning there we had trotted from our hotel over to the neighboring Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel for a quick breakfast before flying home. The last morning in any city I am officially out of tourist mode.  I’m steeling myself for whatever horrors might be ahead in a day of air travel and am not anticipating having noteworthy happen at breakfast. But this day I was wrong.

Apologies first for the quality of some of these photos. People were having their breakfast, after all, and I didn’t want to be too intrusive with my photo-snapping: (“Excuse me, might I just lean over your omelet for one moment?”) This was long before I started blogging, so the photos were really just for me. Here we go with the rest of the story:

It seems there is a courtly gentleman named Mr. Harold Cross, age 91. Every day for 35 years he has come to this hotel for his lunch, dressed in a jacket and tie. Bless his heart, I just love him.


Stock photo from the hotel website – I did NOT get to meet Mr. Harold Cross.

Now a widower, he and his wife, Jeannie, began having their daily lunch at the hotel when he retired. After his wife passed away, Harold continued the tradition, feeling it a way to still have a connection with his late wife.

Evidently Harold is a prince. The hotel staff just love him and if he doesn’t appear by 12:15 p.m., somebody phones to see where he is. And when time came to renovate the restaurant, which I guess needs to happen every 35 years or so, guess what they did?


That’s right, they renamed the restaurant “Harold’s Bistro.” Even better, they created an homage to Harold in their wall graphics hanging throughout the restaurant. Have a look at these iconic Hollywood images which have been only improved by the addition of Mr. Harold Cross:


Hello, Gorgeous.




You’re in the Army now, Elvis!


Whoa, Arnold, you’ve got some competition there.


They don’t understand me, Harold, nobody understands me.


Harold, we love you, yeah, yeah, yeah.


Honey, is that who I think it is?

Harold had a birthday recently, so the restaurant threw a little bash in his honor.


This face makes my little lentil of a heart just swell.

OK, there is the remotest of possibilities that hotel management considered the benefits gained from Harold’s Bistro and the ensuing positive PR. But to me, the picture says it all. If it could make one lonely old widower this happy, then more power to them.

I will restrain my urge to go on and on about the ripple effect of kindness in this life. If only we hadn’t had to rush off to catch a morning flight; I would have loved to stay for lunch.

And thanks for reading,



About Silver in the Barn

Life in a 1915 farmhouse in Central Virginia. And the odd thought or two.
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42 Responses to Harold and Some Silver

  1. I want to have lunch with Harold. What a remarkable find at an airport hotel restaurant. Those gracious Canadiens . . . .


  2. Je viens de découvrir votre blog par instagram, merci, j’aime vous lire même si mon anglais n’est pas très bon. Merci pour cette belle leçon d’humanité.


  3. ritaroberts says:

    Fabulous post Barbara, and what an experience you had at the hotel. Harold is a wonder isn’t he.
    Fancy meeting all those wonderful stars. I know the thrill of that as I once met in person my all time idol Charlton Heston. my claim to fame shall we say.


    • I understand Charlton Heston was amazingly charismatic in person. I have never actually met a big star. Steven Spielberg walked past me on the street in Richmond when he was scouting locations for the movie “Lincoln.” He didn’t seem to recognize me, however.

      Liked by 1 person

      • ritaroberts says:

        Awe ! What a shame, you should have been cheeky like me and stood in front of him for his autograph. Mind you it was his autobiography he was signing for me. (my treasure).


  4. Parnassus says:

    Hello Barbara, You can also go to Kent State University if you want to see black squirrels–there are lots of them, and they seem to be about as friendly as any other squirrels. (I assume that you were joking about the “attack.”)


    • Darn it, Jim, now I’m going to have to revise my species name to Dreaded Kent State and Canadian Black Squirrel. I can’t find the photo of the DKSCBS pouncing onto BH’s foot. I’m sure I’ll find it tomorrow now that I’ve given up looking. Thanks, Barbara


  5. srudin123 says:

    You do know that i start my day reading your blog; well my work day actually. Today I smiled again. A happy uplifting story that was pure pleasure to read. Kindness. It just never goes out of style and looks great on everyone.


  6. Sue Mayo says:

    The Harold’s of the world are far more interesting than most stars. I would liked to have had lunch with him too.


  7. jeanie says:

    Another great entry, Barb. How wonderful for Harrold to be so “celebrated” while living.


  8. Pat S. says:

    Just loved this!! And, I really do think you need to frequent Uptown Coffee each morning…who knows?


  9. nrhatch says:

    Fun post. It’s hard for me to imagine having lunch at the same place every day for 35 years, or getting dressed up for lunch every day for 35 years. We went out for lunch 1 day this week and that will do me for the month. 😎

    Vancouver’s Stanley Park is lovely. Thanks for the tip about the attack squirrels.


    • You’re welcome about the squirrels and note that Parnassus says they are in Kent State as well. Hey, Nancy, we are foodies! We could never go to the same place for 35 years, I totally get that. But I sort of loved that Harold did.


  10. Dianna says:

    Sweet story! Anything anyone does to show kindness to an elderly person just warms my heart.


  11. Jane says:

    What a delightful story! You have quick a knack forr recounting interesting events! Love your writer’s voice!


  12. dorothy says:

    In my hometown of Kenbridge,VA there’s a local diner called MIldred’s Meals that has fabulous homecooking from breakfast to dinner ..oops..supper in the south. One could and some do ..eat there every day. . Of course no chinese or thai food. Just country cooking made from scratch. Gotta love country.

    There are some Harolds there, not for 35 years but close. The mayor. Police chief, funeral director..all the important people ..and they sit at the same table every day..just like Mayberry…….but there are no squirrels to entertain . Love your posts.


  13. Barbara … What a wonderful, heart-warming story. I love Harold. I’ve never met, but I’m sure I would just from your descriptions. The hotel, obviously, is charming. I love their photos … and yours.

    Is a black squirrel really vicious? We’ve had some squirrels, gray or brown, in Orlando that I’ve heard can be a real terror.


    • No, the black squirrel was actually very friendly. It hopped right up onto my husband’s shoe and tried to climb his leg a bit. At which point I got anxious completely unnecessarily. I’m so glad you enjoyed meeting Harold. Don’t you love hitting the road, Vegas or not? You never know what you’re going to run into.


  14. A lovely story well told…


  15. What a great relationship….Harold and his wife…and how lovely of the restaurant to celebrate their relationship with him.


  16. dorannrule says:

    Now that is a heartwarming story! I love your writing Barbara – and your take on things. And who can help loving Harold?


  17. Margie says:

    Vancouver is a wonderful city to explore, isn’t it!
    I loved the story about Harold. It’s a shame you couldn’t have met him!


  18. What a sweet story. The man has created a whole community around himself thru his daily habit. And since he made it to age 91, the restaurant food must not be that unhealthy after all 🙂


  19. markbialczak says:

    That one birthday face of Harold is worth 10 black squirrels, eight leaned-in omelets, six posed Elvises, four frightened Streisands, two musclebound Arnolds and all the free lunches he should live for, forever and ever. Amen to you, Barbara, for showing us the marvelous Harold.


  20. Thom Hickey says:

    Thanks. What an uplifting tale! Easy to forget how many ‘ordinary’ lives are rich, rare and inspiring. Regards thom


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