“Old Ebbit’s Grill” by Patricia Edmisten (Peru)


A Short Story
by Patricia Edmisten (Peru 1962-64)

I had just left the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C. looking for a restaurant before my 2:00 P.M. reservation at the Holocaust Museum. A light rain fell, but I had my umbrella. I was on 14th Street and New York Avenue, walking by kiosks run by East Indians and many other ethnic minorities. It was an international bazaar, specializing in souvenirs from our capital city. I loved it.

I continued to browse when a middle-aged man, probably homeless, grabbed me around the waist. I was so startled that I hit him with the plastic bag of note cards I carried from the Women’s Museum. It was instinctive. The man shambled off and I, feeling angry and confused, entered Old Ebbit’s Grill where I ordered a glass of white wine and some lunch.

It was not lost on me that I had the luxury of refuge in a classy joint while he may have been sleeping on the streets. The Grill wreaked of old-world charm, not outrageously expensive but pricier than I was used to paying for lunch. I sat on a green velvet chair. White linen covered the table and there were fresh flowers. From the safety of my table, sipping my wine, I wondered what would have happened had I had a gun.

Leaving the Grill, I asked a policeman for directions to the Museum. He smiled, told me how to get there, and said, “have a good time.”

October 14, 1995


Patricia Taylor Edmisten (Peru, 1962-64)

Patricia Taylor Edmisten (Peru, 1962-64) worked in the area of Public Health. Among her books are her Peace Corps novel, The Mourning of AngelsNicaragua Divided: La Prensa and the Chamorro Legacy; the introduction to, and translation of, The Autobiography of Maria Elena Moyano the Life and Death of a Peruvian Activistand Wild Women with Tender Hearts (2007 Peace Corps Award for Poetry). She lives in Pensacola, Florida with her ecologist husband.

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