She doted on me at my half-filled two top, making me feel like the celebrity my Gaylord keycard lied and said I was. Leesa made sure I stayed hydrated while in her care, on account of the altitude and my not being an acclimatized native. A mile high, forever grounded.

Gaylord Rockies Vista Montagne Dinner

I sat with my back straight, conscious of the way my sweater was clinging to my chest, staring at the hands of a woman in my mirror’s image, across an empty chair then another empty chair and an adjunct half-empty two top table with a corresponding place setting left untouched. She was angling her phone for a photo of dessert. It was taking a while; the soft yellow lighting was pleasant for dining, crap for Instagram. Was this solo diner like me? There for a few days on the dole? A key card celebrity?

I never found out. She got the photo, took a few bites, signed the check, and exited stage left even.

My thoughts moved to the pressing question of my hydration and the headache that raged on as a result of me not considering it previously. Where was Leesa at lunch, eight hours earlier, in the sun by the pool with Impossible tacos and green goddess hummus and just the one 12oz compostable plastic cup of ice water that I’d emptied in short order? If Leesa was working the day shift poolside maybe I wouldn’t feel like a cartoon character from my youth, with a noggin smashed by an anvil.

Gaylord Rockies Vista Montagne Dinner Arancini

This dinner at Gaylord Rockies’ Vista Montagne is progressing nicely, headache aside. The book I’m reading is stellar, as is my appetizer. Leesa asked how I’m liking the book, if I’d like another ginger ale, and if I’m happy I picked the mushroom arancini with crumbled goat cheese as my starter. Boy am I, although the crispy polenta with mushrooms remains a dangled carrot that’s now 1700 miles out of reach.

Gaylord Rockies Vista Montagne Dinner Carbonara

Carbonara followed, sans pancetta but with about 150 peas. Chef’s kiss.

Sometimes, and I hope this isn’t too Inside Baseball, but sometimes when I’m away as a media type or Gaylord Resorts ‘celebrity’, the level of service provided is heightened. Therefore, I have trust issues. Is this service normal? Or is it for me? Don’t get me wrong, it’s lovely to get some version of the star treatment but it makes writing about a hospitality experience tricky. I’d much rather be the thoroughly average dude I absolutely am in real life to see how staff really treats its guests.

There was a merry party of four seated to my left. Another of Leesa’s tables. It was plainly obvious that the service I was enjoying was also being served there. My faux celeb status had nothing to do with it. Nicely done, Lessa.

I pushed the carbonara a few inches away from me, leaving half the noodles and about 90 green peas to fend for themselves.

As I digested my meal and finished another short piece of fiction in Maggie Brown & Others, Leesa talked me into the chocolate hazelnut torte. “Okay, sure,” I wearily said to her, “but I’m only having a few forkfuls!”

Gaylord Rockies Vista Montagne Dinner Dessert

The dessert was sublime; soft and crunchy in equal measure. And I ate too much of it. To be fair to Leesa, my arm didn’t exactly need to be twisted yet I insisted that the calories were hers. Being the stellar server she is, Leesa took ’em on board leaving me to float on out of Vista Montagne and back up to my room with a full belly but less heavy head, not knowing in the slightest that early tomorrow morning I’d meet the love of my life.

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