Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Had dinner with John & Janette Howard on Sunday night ...


One of the most interesting parts of my job is the people that I get to meet. I recently invited John Howard, former Prime Minister of Australia, to Canada to speak at a series of events for the Fraser Institute.

On Sunday, as I was about to leave on my run through the Capilano trails, a call came through on my cell phone from a number that I didn't recognize. It was John Howard's assistant calling from Australia, asking me to call him at his Vancouver hotel to discuss his speech the next evening.

We had a fabulous conversation about provincial, federal, and world politics - on everything from Obama to the environment to the war in Iraq. At the end of the conversation, it crossed my mind to invite he and his wife out for dinner as it seemed that there was so much more to talk about - so many more of the world's problems to solve! But practicality took over, and having just prepped some spaghetti sauce, I thought I'd better keep to our original plans.

I called David to tell him that I was now going to be late for dinner, what with having spent so much time on the phone with "John". I mentioned my fleeting thought about inviting the Howards for dinner and my reticence given my previous pasta preparations. David groaned and said well, we could invite them OUT for dinner...

So I ran for a bit and then thought - why not!?! I called John back and asked him if he and his wife had any plans for dinner - that David and I were planning on heading out to our favourite local seafood spot and would they like to join us? A few minutes later he phoned back and said... sure, could we pick them up at 7:30?

Yikes! What favourite seafood spot? A quick round of calls informed us that Vancouver has very few seafood restaurants open on a Sunday night. Luckily the Italian Kitchen on Alberni was accommodating, and we had a delightful dinner out. A nearby table of Aussies recognized our dinner guest and sent over a lovely bottle of Australian Shiraz from Barossa, which nicely complimented the 5 (mostly) seafood inspired courses from chef Eric. And, which nicely complimented an evening of anecdotes and storytelling with the Howards.

The moral of the story? Always ask for what you want. If you're lucky, you just might get it : )

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