The best Chinese you’ve ever had.

Yesterday, a family run Chinese restaurant, located right over the border in Fort Erie closed it’s doors after serving their community for over 40 years. Living right outside of Buffalo, NY, my family has the very unique circumstances of being able to take a fifteen minute car ride right into Canada any time we wish. We’ve been eating at this particular place for years.

Eddie, who ran the business with his wife passed away unexpectedly last month. The decision to close to restaurant came afterwards from his family. I heard about the closing a few weeks ago from my brother who saw an article in the paper. I was in disbelief, how could a place that I’ve gone to my entire life close? I mean, my grandparents and great aunts and uncles had gone to eat there! It just didn’t seem real.

There was so much about this place that my family loved. First of all, the location was beautiful, right on the Niagara River overlooking Buffalo’s skyline. Secondly – can we just take a minute to talk about their egg rolls? I mean, my brother and I would fight over the leftovers. The only food that would be just as good reheated as it was when it was served hot and fresh in front of you. But honestly, I think the best thing about the place was Eddie and his family who ran it.

We were always greeted by our favorite waiter, Steve, who was Eddie’s son. Always a smile on his face, Steve remembered orders and names like he saw you every single day. That personalization and warm touch made the meal even more enjoyable. I loved his witty banter and jokes.

As my family left the restaurant for what would be our last meal there the other day, Steve shook my father’s hand and gave me a hug. He told my parents how great it was to have been able to watch my brother and I grow over the years.

Driving home in the car, I told my husband how upset I was. Before we found out that the restaurant was closing, it had been a few years since I’d eaten there. I told him that I felt like I took the place for granted, since it had always been in my life I just figured that it would always be there.

I’m still learning lessons, guys.

Nothing in this life is promised to us. Whether it’s a small family run restaurant or the company of a loved one, life can change in a moment. I wish that I had eaten there a little bit more the past two years. I wish I’d been able to see Eddie one last time before he passed. Although we never really spoke, he always made sure that I left with a chocolate bar. Such a little gesture that made this little girl so happy. I tried to make myself some promises on the ride back to Buffalo. To appreciate what I have in the moment. To do little things to make someone’s day a little brighter. And to tell people that I’m happy they’re in my life. I’m thankful for all of the meals that I was able to share with my family there over the years and the joy that came because of it.

Beautiful really was the perfect word.