When Matt walked into the restaurant for our mutual friend’s birthday dinner, there was a palpable respect suddenly present in the room. His friends at the table made comments about how everyone just got smarter due to his presence.
It was well-deserved respect, I came to find out. Matt is one of the most mentally gifted people I’ve ever met. He is currently at Georgetown University where he was awarded a fellowship so he can pursue his PhD studies. I was completely jealous of his ability to recall any information on a variety of subjects from his impressive memory. He is respected as a church historian in LDS circles, and often presents at academic symposiums.
I really enjoyed getting to know Matt at that dinner. In addition to living up to the rep his friends set up for him, Matt had a great sense of humor and shared other common interests with me. We connected later that evening on Facebook, and he suggested we get together again before he headed back to DC.
I have always wanted to visit Gilgal Gardens, a small public city park and stone sculpture garden in downtown Salt Lake City, but had never made it over. When we met for our date, I loved that Matt suggested we go there before dinner and was happy that I had a historian along for my first visit to the gardens.
We spent a lot of time walking through several sculptures and engraved stones, which presented unconventional and thought-provoking depictions of religious concepts. Matt knew a lot of history about the artist and the garden and it was fun to hear his impressions of the art.
After our tour, we walked the few blocks back to our restaurant for the evening, The Old Spaghetti Factory. I had never been there before, either, and it was a very charming place, despite its deceptively industrial-sounding name.
That evening, again, I really enjoyed talking with Matt over dinner. In addition to having very interesting and insightful opinions, he was also a very good listener. We talked well past the time we finished our meal and then continued our conversation after leaving the restaurant.
It was great to meet Matt, and I appreciated a lot of things about him. I appreciated his easy-going personality and his supportive attitude. I loved that he was willing to let me count our date toward my goal of thirty after hearing about my blog. I appreciated that after taking me out, he also took the time to come support me at one of my band’s gigs- despite his limited time in Utah. There are lots of great things to say about Matt, and I’m thankful that I had the chance to get to know him better.