All was going well until. . . . . . .

Indeed, all was going well.  It was the night of the Installation Dinner for my womens club, Las Damas of Sun Gold Hills (not affiliated with any other Las Damas group). The club is over 60 years old, started when the subdivision was built in the 1950s. Fun group and I’ve enjoyed being a member.  For the last two years I have been President, but that night I was turning the gavel over to our new President.

I spent a couple of months deciding on what to buy for table favors. Shopping, looking, considering, pricing, and in the end chose large tote bags from our local Home Goods. They all had some pink in them which coordinated with the dinner colors of black, white, and pink.  I’d folded them and tied them with deep pink tulle. Wine had been purchased and chilled. The Charity of the Year, (we select a local charity each year and raise money for them) Whittier’s Women’s and Children’s Crisis Shelter, had been working with us during the year and tonight they would be given a check for $2,000.00. I had arranged for a display table for them so our members would see their many activities.

Carefully, a large rolling tote had been packed with the folded and tied tote bags. Coordinating black and white cocktail napkins, extra tulle, a small tote with tape and pens and scissors, the handmade card for WCCS, and the red wine also were carefully packed into the tote. A medium sized ice chest held the chilled white wine and the Martinelli’s sparkling cider.  Another bag held the six small bouquets of pink roses and baby’s breath tied with the pink tulle.

It was 4:10 p.m. Time to pack up the car and pick up the cake at 4:30.

“Honey, will you help me get these things to the car?” What fateful words.  It wasn’t that thing were too bulky or too heavy. It was our four cats who were doing their best to go outside as I was moving things to the car.  This was going to be a team effort.  And we did it. Everything was outside – cats inside. Open the garage door, open the car door, and roll in the blue tote.  And then it happened.  CRASH!

There is a small rise to the garage floor from the driveway. Probably less than ½ inch. But it was enough to throw something out of kilter and in a flash the blue tote fell, the lid popped off, the wine bag fell and one bottle broke off at the bottom with a very loud crack.  OH NO!!! Red wine spreading rapidly.  My first thought was the hand made card and I grabbed it just as the wine got the edge of the envelope.  Hubby, every helpful, said quickly that he would take care of it and that I shouldn’t worry about the wine spilled on the concrete as he would clean it up while I was at the dinner.  Wine, smine! I had 35 tied tote bags and a script and materials and cocktail napkins to consider.  Well, at least, looking at the amount of wine on the concrete there couldn’t be much that fell into the tote.

Deep breaths. Just keep breathing.  “All will be well, all will be well, all will be well” I repeated in my head. Hubby grabbed 3 tote bags that seemed to have gotten wine on them and I rushed them inside for a quick rinse off and to grab one more bottle of red wine.  Meanwhile, he tidied up the rolling tote and put everything else into the car. It was 4:20. Deep cleansing breaths. I fought the urge to get tense and irritable.  It was only a bottle of wine and what a good story I would have to tell.  Into the car I went, backed out of the driveway and headed to the bakery.

How did everything else go?  Picked up the cake at 4:30, got to Colonial Banquet Hall at 4:50, set up the cake on its table, and began unpacking. As I put each tote bag at a table setting I often smelled the distinct fragrance of a good red wine.  After that it was wonderful.  Great food and service. Lots of mingling. A lot of noise from conversations, which is always a good sign.

Later, as I handed the card and check to representatives from the charity I said that I would explain the line of pale red on the edge of the envelope. And I did. With less flair and emotion that I had felt when the incident first happened.  Still, I could see the faces of recognition and understanding among the guests.

As the evening was over and guests got up to leave, I saw many of them sniffing at their tote bag for the wine aroma. They really won’t know for sure though unless they leave the bag in the car on a hot day and get into the hot car with the distinct aroma of wine.

Every Day Is A Good Day  VJ

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