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Her first night out: Gabrielle Giffords leaves the confines of TIRR for a Sunday supper at Grotto

Recovering congresswoman Garbrielle Giffords dined out with friends at Grotto on Sunday. Courtesy of Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau
Gabrielle Giffords-Mark Kelly

Diners at Grotto on Westheimer at Loop 610 on Sunday night knew something out of the ordinary was afoot  — security men were all over the place. Only those paying close attention noticed the woman in the wheelchair being escorted into the private wine room. It was Gabrielle Giffords.

In what was her first true public outing since arriving at TIRR Memorial Hermann in late January, the recovering congresswoman had a quiet dinner with husband Mark Kelly and their close friends Paige and Tilman Fertitta

The space shuttle launch that had been set for last Friday was to have been her first public venture, but the takeoff was canceled for that day and then delayed further. The only glimpse (albeit grainy, blurry and from a distance) of Giffords afforded to the public since the shooting in Tucson on Jan. 8 occurred last week as she boarded a private jet at Ellington Airport for the trip to Florida.

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