The Birthday Girl Answers the Birthday Questions

My ears perked up the minute I heard Dr. Hollander playing the familiar strains of “Happy Birthday.” It’s certainly one of my favorite tunes, and and the venerable Dr. Jeffrey Hollander, our long-admired pianist in the Lobby Lounge, pounds it out well on the old ivories.

I scanned the bar for the person who looked the happiest to be alive. That’s what birthdays are about, right? A day when you get to be surrounded by friends and say, “Whew, I made it to another one!”

The smile across Shaundra’s face pegged her as the birthday girl right away. I’m not sure if she has a million dollar grin on days when she’s not celebrating her big day, but the lady with the drink in front of her that had been purchased by the friend at her side was beaming. It seemed to me like she was having one of the greatest birthdays of all time as I approached and introduced myself.

I wished Shaundra well and asked her about all the revelry she had packed into her day. Surprisingly she answered, “I hadn’t really planned on doing anything today, but my friend convinced me to stop by the Pfister for a drink, and here I am.”

It was likely because Shaundra hadn’t given the day much thought that she was having a hell of a birthday. Sometimes setting the expectation bar low pays off with huge dividends. So far she had gotten Dr. Hollander’s lilting solo, a free drink, and the adoration of her friend as well as a gentleman at the bar who I saw and understood was certainly taking an interest in getting to know the birthday girl a little bit better.

I believe birthdays are sacred days in a person’s life, calendar marks that should only be reserved for eating cake for breakfast and napping until someone throws you a great dinner party. I always love to see friends and family on their birthdays because a good pal of mine created what she likes to call “The Birthday Questions.”

The Birthday Questions aren’t overly complicated. They are simple and straightforward, but they cause a birthday celebrant to pause, think and reflect. Shaundra told me she was game to answer the Birthday Questions, so I leaned in and listened as this friendly and positive lady let me know a little more about her life.

Question #1: What is the thing you are most happy about from your last birthday to this one?

I’m so proud that I opened my own salon this year. It’s called Salon Cass and it’s right down the street from the Pfister. It was a lot of work…I MEAN A LOT…but it has been great. I’m really happy about that one for sure.

Question #2: What is the one thing you wish hadn’t happened from last birthday to this one?

I wish my grandmother hadn’t gotten sick. She is a really special lady, and she has a condition that has confined her to a wheelchair. She still has a great attitude about life, but it is hard to see her sick like she is.

Question #3: If we see each other a year from now on your birthday, what is the thing that you hope you will have accomplished from this birthday to next?

I want to move to Las Vegas! I love it there. And I’d love to take my grandmother. We’d have a lot of fun. I can get help running my salon, but, yeah, Vegas is where I hope to end up someday.

Here’s to you on your recent special day, Shaundra, and may all your future wishes come true. I hope you’ll let me buy you a drink in the Lobby Lounge next year—that is if you can pull yourself away from the Vegas strip for a visit back home.

Follow me on Twitter @jonathantwest for more smart remarks and snappy retorts.

This Week Everyone Looks Great in Spandex and Running Shoes

Picking someone to talk to in the Pfister Lobby who is decked out in spandex shorts and isn’t afraid to sweat a little is like shooting fish in a barrel for the next few days.

Milwaukee seems to be the fitness center of the world this week, medical and the Pfister is a sort of hub for tons of athletes who have traveled from near and far to test their mettle in feats of daring do, strength, and distance. I’m a suit a tie guy myself, but these sporting Joes and Janes give performance gear a good name as they wander the hotels halls stretching hamstrings and the like with their gazelle like strides.

This Olympic sized effort to make Milwaukee the epicenter of athletic achievement for a span of several huffing-and-puffing-to-the-finish-line August days started early this week with the 2015 JCC Maccabi Games. The Maccabi Games is the largest Jewish youth event in the world with young athletes coming to Milwaukee from around the globe to compete in a myriad of sporting events and build strong global community connections. We’ve had a fair share of folks with JCC Maccabi Games t-shirts relaxing in the Lobby Lounge while they aren’t cheering for some match or trying to kick the winning goal reminding everyone that a healthy body and soul go hand in hand. The JCC Maccabi Games produced this clever video for their Kickoff at the BMO Harris Center this past Sunday. Local bigwigs like Mayor Tom Barrett, no rx County Executive Chris Abele, and a cowboy hat sporting Sherriff David Clarke make nice cameos welcoming visitors to Milwaukee. Give it a gander…I think you’ll smile.

But right now we are on the cusp of what I believe is one of the most grueling sporting events that any group of overachievers could ever think up.

It’s triathlon time.

Triathlon time means a lot to me because my very own wife is one of those mad women…er, overachievers…who love the sport of triathlon and think that going out for a swim isn’t enough so it makes perfect sense to tack on a bike ride and a run to round out a day of exercise.

My wife won’t be participating in the USA Triathlon Age Group Nationals this weekend in Milwaukee (don’t worry, she’s not being lazy, she’s actually flying to Seattle to run a half marathon), but there are plenty of fit and fiery competitors prepping for Saturday and Sunday’s tri activities who have checked in early at the Pfister.

I came upon two such athletes tucked into plush sofas in the lobby reading the newspaper on a quiet morning. I spotted their USA Triathlon sweatshirts, but I could have picked them out as triathletes even in civilian clothes. They looked like ladies who did not wilt from challenges, and their lean and strong physiques were like a warning to avoid challenging either of them to an arm wrestling match.

Pat and Nancy are from Massachusetts and this is their second time to Milwaukee and the Pfister for this race. It is not, however, the duo’s second time in the triathlon ring. When I ask them how many tris they’ve completed they casually say, “Oh, maybe a hundred or so.”

This is the thing about triathletes. They have this sort of laid-back attitude about pushing their bodies to the limit.

Case in point. I asked how each of the ladies got into triathlon. Nancy told me, “Well I ran marathons, but the running was too much for me after many years, so I switched to tri.” Now, for those of you who are still a little shaky on the actual order of events in a triathlon, first you swim, and then you bike, and then YOU RUN. Nice try, Nancy, but I chalk that one up as a well played humble brag.

Pat did her own stint with marathons by qualifying for and running the Boston Marathon three times. She did her first triathlon after watching one in Massachusetts. She looked at the competitors and thought, “Gee, that looks kind of fun, I think I’ll give it a shot.” From that meditation on competition, Pat soon found herself crossing the finish line after 140.6 miles at the granddaddy of all triathlons, Iron Man Hawaii. Pat and Nancy have been to this rodeo a few times before, and by now the horses are eating out of their hands, it seems.

This year, they’ll take part in the sprint distance triathlon at the USA Triathlon Age Group Nationals. They’ll dip into Lake Michigan for a nice morning swim and will the stride across the finish line about 16 miles later. It’s not Iron Man, but it’s no walk in the park, either (that is unless your park has water stops and a place to change your swimming suit).

I’m always curious about what a triathlete wants to do immediately following a race (I would eat four whole pizzas, I believe), so I ask Pat and Nancy what their plans are post event. Pat tells me, “Well this year we splurged and had our bikes shipped fully in tact so we won’t have to rush back to our hotel rooms and take them apart.” Sounds like a fair and reasonable concession to make in a long triathlon career, and don’t worry ladies, I’m pretty sure no one is saying, “Pat and Nancy are shipping their bikes? What slackers!”

Follow me on Twitter @jonathantwest for more smart remarks and snappy retorts.

It Is Time to Speak of Cake

I have some great stories to tell you all about some great Pfister visitors.

But not today. Today it is finally time to speak of cake.

It’s a languid summer day here at the Pfister, click and on days like this guests are relaxed and casual. There’s a couple of guys in the lobby nursing a mid afternoon brew, a lady has come back from a downtown jog, and then there’s the guy in dark glasses and beard who just got handed an enormous cardboard box and left the building (a box of puppies…maybe?). It’s what you might call sort of a “chill” day. It’s pretty glorious.

I found myself with a little spare time around the noon hour today, cialis so I checked with my friend Jimmy about an impromptu lunch date. I keep inviting Jimmy to the Pfister for lunch because I really want to see him eat The Senator’s Tuna. Jimmy and I argue about food (I’m pro Schnitzel, he is scared of it), but I know that he and I would have the same reverence for The Senator’s Tuna served so perfectly with its side cup of coffee.

But Jimmy suggested a lunch spot near his office a few blocks from the Pfister in downtown Milwaukee. I knew Jimmy had a finite amount of time for lunch, so I willingly obliged and departed the Pfister for our luncheon date.

And then I really screwed up. I had the kale salad for lunch.

Now there is nothing particularly wrong about having a kale salad for lunch, but when you have in your head that you could have had The Senator’s Tuna and a cup of hot black coffee, which is one of your all time favorite lunches, the kale salad just about kills you.

I made my way back to the Pfister feeling the sorrowful effects of kale–superior health, bursting energy, a bright sense of connection to the world. It was awful, I tell you, awful.

I had been having a “chill” day soaking in the vibes of the Pfister, so that Vitamin D pep of kale kind of bummed me out. I needed to do something to slide back into the swell and “maybe I’ll take a nap” sort of vibes of the day.

As I settled back into the Pfister after my short walk out into the city streets, I knew that action needed to be taken if I was to feel like a part of the cozy party taking place. I needed something to counteract all of that green goodness lunch, something that would actually make my heart swell, figuratively and maybe even literally.

And then there was cake. Ahhhhhh!

I am all for personal choice, but damn that all when it is time to speak of the Pfister’s Signature Cake. I would like to mandate that everyone everywhere should be eating a piece of this glorious cake right now. It’s like a cup of coffee with the perfect amount of cream and sugar and some caramel and a sprinkle of unicorn dust. It’s simply perfect in every way that cake should be.

I’m back to having a “chill” day after my afternoon snack, and I feel like the guy in the lobby in the blue baseball hat who has droopy eyes because he’s reveling in all the chill of the day trusts me a little more because I have cake on my breath and not the clean crisp scent of kale.

Carry…and cake…on, one and all.

 

All Eyes on Couple Number One

It is a crowded night at Blu. The room is full of stylish couples and solo swells who have all come to get their drink on. It’s a smart choice for cocktailing when there is such a delectable selection of boozy elixirs available 23 floors above ground level and great live music filling the room.

There are also fireworks. Not the kind from some glorious bar fight, sick nothing as untoward as that, but literal explosive fireworks shooting into the jet black night sky. It’s one of the great secret benefits of spending the summer in Milwaukee where fireworks displays are the norm every weekend from June through August because a festival city deserves festival spectacle.

My eyes should be drawn to those fireworks because, generic I mean, they are fireworks. But my head keeps jerking to see what special brand of shimmy and shake is going on across the room. Couple Number One is tripping the light fantastic, and the fireworks will need to step it up to hold a place as the evening’s main attraction.

Couple Number One is in a dance contest of sorts where the odds of winning are stacked in their favor. The entries to this special gliding, sliding, dipping competition start and end at the most single of all digits. These dancers stand out in a room of sitters simply because they are standing, but beyond that simple difference those supportive legs of theirs have a lot of smooth moves.

I catch Couple Number One on a dance break and they introduce themselves to me with big smiles.

“I’m Bill, and this is Lois,” says the fella who I have noticed is focused on his job leading the dance with cool seriousness.

“Just like the couple that founded Alcoholics Anonymous,” says Lois immediately taking a long swig from the refreshing cocktail she is enjoying between routines.

Bill and Lois tell me they met 13 years ago, and ever since then they’ve been dancing. There is no limit to their love of moving their groove thing. The night before their Pfister visit, they had they had shown off their sizzling moves at the Milwaukee lakefront backed by Zydeco music. Be it swing, disco, rhumba, or polka, Bill and Lois are equal partners in the business of making cha-cha a serious art form.

As in any classic creative union, the two dancers have fought through some rough patches.

“We break up three or four times a year,” says Bill.

“Sometimes he wants me to wear sneakers,” explains Lois. “That’s ridiculous.”

Right now, however, there is no mention of athletic footwear. Bill grins at Lois, and holds her hand warmly. This gracious gentleman shares that he thinks they are clicking on all cylinders because Lois now splits her year between Milwaukee and Arizona. Distance is making their hearts grow fonder, it seems. And as the music starts up again, it’s clear that a bouncing beat helps them joyfully tap their feet.

The Kid Definitely Stays in the Picture

Jennifer took about half a second to consider the set up for the photographer’s shot.

The kid stays in the picture.

The kid in question is named Maggie, ask and she is squiggly, giggly, and adorable as she is expertly curled in her mom Jennifer’s arms. And the picture that Maggie stayed in is one that she and Jennifer will be able to look back on years from now as they continue their fierce lives as strong and successful women.

Jennifer was one of this year’s honorees for the Wisconsin Law Journal’s Women in the Law awards that she graciously accepted at a recent dinner celebration at the Pfister. As a new mom, the award had special significance for Jennifer who just recently returned to full-time work after her maternity leave.

“I’m happy that I can show Maggie that as a woman she need not be afraid to ask questions and for a deserved place at the table,” said a beaming Jennifer. “It’s a great honor for me to have been nominated by my firm and to receive this recognition with a group of stellar women.”

The Wisconsin Law Journal’s Women in the Law awards recognize women who show a commitment to advocacy and support of other women working in the law. Jennifer tells me she has benefitted from great mentorship throughout her career, and that lesson is not lost on her. She doesn’t see this recognition as an end point in her professional development, but rather a challenge to continue to work hard and be a model for her peers.

And being a model to her daughter is a most important thing for the award winner. Jennifer and I talk about how there is still unfortunately a stigma about working moms, and that she proscribes to the idea that it’s important that you, “Don’t mommy out.” Jennifer is driven, passionate, obviously accomplished, but at the end of the day, she and her educator husband Chris have their priorities firmly in line around family and sense of self. Showing their daughter that rewarding work is only a part of a full life is deep in Jennifer’s DNA.

It’s hard not to understand your priorities when a bubbly little baby is bouncing in your arms. I ask if I can hold Maggie, and Jennifer proudly passes her to me. I’m sure Jennifer’s skills as a lawyer are something to behold, but right now I’m in awe of her talents as a human being. This kid should stay in any picture that is ever snapped, and I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s the main subject of a photographer’s lens for some award ceremonies a few years down the line.

The Many Miles Man

Three days. Not a day less. That was my guess.

By the tight grip of his jaw, medicine I knew the man seated alone at a table next to a window in Blu had to have been on the road for at least three days.

I was almost right.

David had already been out on business for four days straight. In that time he had wound his watch to keep current in three different times zones. He wouldn’t be home again to Pennsylvania for another four days and by then he would go from Milwaukee to Chicago to Miami to Arkansas. Not the type of trip you plan for efficiency and pretty airports, view that was for sure.

David was in the sort of business where it probably made sense to wear a tie, but no way, no how did David need one. He was sure and confident and a necktie wouldn’t have proved anything worthwhile to anyone he passed by on the road. But you can be certain that if he had knotted something around his neck, it would have been as impressive as he was. With his shaved head, piercing eyes, and tight, compact frame he looked like he could have been Superman’s arch nemesis Lex Luther. But something told me that David was more concerned with saving the world than destroying it.

David was a road warrior and he seemed to be winning whatever battle he had signed up for. Executive recruitment was his trade, and he was on a multi city swing finding leaders to fill voids and making clients happy. And now, for a moment, it was time for David to be happy.

David’s red wine arrived. He grabbed it with hands that looked like they could easily shatter the long stemmed glass holding the drink. He took a long sip. His strong shoulders relaxed. You could almost hear his body say, “Ahhhhhhhh.”

David stared into the night, his eyes sharply focused on the shining lights of the Milwaukee skyline. He looked like he was hatching a plan, some scheme that would be a stunner for sure. He reached for the wine. Another sip. A little more tension released from his shoulders. A little more calm in his face suggested that when he chose to, his smile would fill a room with light and wonder.

Those eyes, those piercing eyes staring into the night–they were full of intrigue, intellect and a little bit of danger. The hand shifted again, but this time it passed over his wine and headed for the breast pocket of his sport coat. He reached toward his chest. I wouldn’t have been surprised to see a shining revolver at the end of his powerful grip as the hand emerged from his neatly tailored jacket. And if he wanted your wallet, you would have given it happily and thanked him for the honor of choosing you to stick up.

As his hand emerged from his jacket, a phone appeared in his palm instead of a weapon of mass destruction. I somehow imagined that David was actually capable of doing even more damage with his phone than any chamber full of bullets. He lifted the screen at an angle and typed. He waited.

A moment passed.

Bing.

A message.

Then a smile.

I offered a hand and said hello. His fingers could have crushed the meta out of my carpals, but instead he warmly accepted the friendly gesture. After four days, it wasn’t the worst thing to see a smile coming back at you in a comfortable place on top of the city and a few floors above the bed where you’d hang your head.

“Everything okay with you?” I asked.

“Yeah,” said David. “I miss my wife. I always miss my wife.”

It was nice to know that the most impressive gentleman in the joint was simply pining for his sweetheart.

We traded pleasantries and I bid him a good night. Glancing back a moment after saying goodbye, I saw him smiling down at his phone. His wife had written back, something sweet, something funny, something that deserved another pull of wine.

I asked the waitress to send him a glass of whatever he was drinking as soon as he was ready for his next. David had many more miles to go, but tonight, alone in the dark he earned a quiet moment to remember that he’d be home soon enough to say, “I love you, oh yes I do.”

It’s the Last Word When Tom Says It’s the Last Word

“How do I share this on my friend’s page?”

It was late morning in the Lobby Bar and a gruff guy named Tom was fiddling with his smart phone. There are plenty of reasons for gruff guys to be in a bar before noon—a quick one after third shift, pharm drowning sorrows for being laid off, vacation day drinking…the list goes on. Getting social media tips wasn’t a reason that had ever occurred to me.

I was sitting nearby so I took a chance and asked, “Are you trying to share a picture?”

A younger guy next to Tom named Dave looked up from his laptop and said, ampoule “Tom needs me to remind him how to share things about three times a week.”

Dave grabbed Tom’s phone, swiped some strokes, and shared an article on Tom’s friend’s Facebook wall. Tom was pleased.

I asked my new “Because of Facebook” Friend why he was in the lobby bar so early in the day.

“Waiting for Jerry, salve ” said Tom.

Tom and Dave’s two traveling partners Heather and Damien nodded.

Heather chimed in brightly, “Tom called Jerry to get us because he didn’t stay with the team. Jerry was probably still sleeping.”

Damien piped up, “Yeah, I bet his hair’s wet when he shows up.” Damien was drinking a morn­ing coffee milkshake you order for some serious comfort. Damien looked like he really need­ed that java shake comfort.

This ragtag crew (including the absent Jerry, it seemed) turned out to be a bunch of team members who worked in promotions. Tom was their leader and they were shipping out of the Pfister after a conference stay. They explained something about getting beer steins back to St. Paul. Those promotions people have all the fun.

I asked why Jerry hadn’t stayed with the rest of them when he could have had a Pfister over­night on the company tab.

“Jerry was rooming with me,” said Damien. “But his girlfriend lives in Milwaukee. She didn’t want to share my pillow.”

Dave and Heather groaned. Tom rolled his eyes. They played their team roles very well. Tom was crusty, Dave pulled Tom into the modern world, Heather gave off sunshine and sparkles, and Damien landed road comic zingers. Jerry, if he ever showed up, was clearly the driver.

“He got a ticket for parking at his girlfriend’s,” said Damien. “Does that get expensed?”

Tom rubbed his eyes. “Hell, no. Jerry pays.”

A server approached Tom from the entry by the bar leading from the Café. She put a club sandwich down in front of Tom. He thanked her and started to eat.

Heather looked at Tom surprised and said, “When did you order that?”

Tom stared deadpan and said, “I got it while I waited for you to meet me down here.”

Dave reminded his boss, “Tom, Jerry’s gonna be here any minute.”

Tom wiped his mouth and looked at Dave. “Jerry’s late, Dave. Now he waits for me.”

That Tom.

He always gets the last word.

The Earl of Soggy Sandwich

“We have great meat in our sandwich, but the bread is pretty soggy.”

Now how can you fault a guy for eavesdropping on a conversation with that line?

One of the realities of being a writer who spends his time seeking out drama and intrigue and laughs and pretty bridesmaids in fancy dresses at a luxury historic hotel is that your ears are almost constantly tuned to any snippet of conversation that floats through the air. I’d stop short of calling this an on-the-job hazard. I mean I don’t carry a pick ax and a helmet into work–let’s be real.

But there is that slight danger in my line of work that scales in on the terror threat level of stubbing your toe of becoming a nosy snark. Listening in on other people’s conversations is something I tell my preteen daughter not to do because it’s a little rude. But listening on other people’s conversations when you’re a writer is noble and elevates the art form. I realize I’m a big old hypocrite, but hopefully I’m one who continues to learn better ways to tell a story while my hearing is good.

In the case of the man and woman who were dissecting the quality of a figurative sandwich while enjoying a spirited conversation over a late lunch (salads, not sandwiches, so I knew the bread and meat combo of which they spoke wasn’t listeral), I was just sucked into my actively passive listener mode because of that killer opener.

It’s easy to tell when to approach and engage, and when to let things flow naturally and to stand back and be a spectator. This was one conversation that I felt deserved a natural flow. That opening line seemed to suggest I was in for a doozy of a listen–some more great folksy charmers like that sandwich line seemed to be dangling at my eavesdropping fignertips. It was all too yummy for the writer in me.

I listened in with rapt attention, plucking the highlights of the volley back and forth.

“Crackerjack.”

“She’s the real deal, alright.”

“Gotta keep those folks engaged.”

“Embrace it.”

“Look for efficiencies, understand the market.”

And, finally, the big zinger.

“If you ever think about hiring a coach to work with folks, I love working with super stars to help them achieve their potential.”

These two very smart and accomplished people were kind and nice and lovely but left me with absolutely no clue as to what their well polished business speak meant. My ears had been faced.

Ultimately, I found out Benjamin and Amanda (I also found out they had names) were having a business meeting about education reform, so I was right. These people are indeed smart and accomplished and I bow to their noble and frustrating work.

Then I snapped their picture, asked if it was okay to use it in a blog post and walked away.

Lesson of the day?

Here’s what I learned.

When the meat is good in the sandwich, but the bread really is soggy, it’s probably best to wait for a slice of pie.

That and maybe I should start to think about cleaning out my ears.

Of Fathers and Sons and Hugs

Joe and Simon hugged themselves into a booth at the Café at the Pfister on a Saturday afternoon. They stopped for a quick nosh before scrubbing up for a wedding on the 7th floor. These gents looked like they had invented hugging, viagra and I was immediately impressed.

I watched this small miracle take place as I chomped a veggie omelet. Call me a sap, but watching a sloppy looking guy hugging his imp of a six-year-old son in public is kind of beautiful.

Simon reminded Joe, buy cialis “We gotta make this quick pal…Mom wants us to get upstairs and shower.” I saw that Simon believed in the HAPPY WIFE=HAPPY LIFE principle. Smart man that Simon.

Joe had some important stuff to discuss with his father.

“Why do you think I don’t like Mickey Mouse?” asked Joe?

Simon was surprised. “You don’t like Mickey Mouse?”

“No, tadalafil I don’t like Mickey Mouse,” Joe answered flatly.

Joe had it all as he ordered his mac and cheese—someone to talk to who buys lunch and gives you hugs. It made me think about the recent hugging history between me and my dad. Our pre meal hugs have been a matter of diminishing returns for years.

Simon helped Joe sort it all out. “You like Pluto. You like Minnie Mouse.”

“I do like Pluto,” said Joe. “But I DON’T like Minnie Mouse.”

Simon scratched his head. “Why do you think you don’t like the mice?”

“I don’t know,” said Joe.

My dad and I used to chat this way over Saturday morning pancakes and sausages. We now struggle to talk, but not out of a lack of love. We have just become men who rarely find time for having as much syrup as you want and telling bad jokes.

Joe shifted gears between nibbles of mac and cheese. “Dad, can a good knife cut anything?”

“Well, it depends,” said Simon looking at Joe’s butter knife.

“What about candy?” asked Joe. “Could a good knife cut candy?”

“That would be hard,” said Simon scooping a bit of Joe’s noodles into his mouth as he waved the waitress over for their bill. My dad used to finish my sausage. It’s clearly part of the good dad DNA.

Simon and Joe paid their bill and scurried out of their seats. Simon swung his arm around Joe’s shoulder in what can only be called the perfect walking hug. “Show offs,” I thought. I shared the smile that had come over my face with Simon as I caught his eye.

Joe lit up as he walked past my booth. “A jawbreaker would be hard to cut.”

“A jawbreaker would be impossible to cut,” agreed Simon.

I don’t know guys, watching you makes me think nothing is impossible. Consider for instance a future Saturday at the Café at the Pfister when me and my dad hug our way into a booth and let the syrup flow. But no way, no how is dad finishing my sausage this time.

How to Dig Yourself Into a Hole of Uncomfortable Depth in Under Sixty Seconds

The standard question to ask when you see a gathering of three young ladies in the Lobby Lounge with a few drinks backed up in front of themselves and one of those young ladies is wearing a bridal veil is, stuff “So when are you getting married?”

I asked the standard question.

The standard answer you hope to receive to the standard question is, “In two weeks! I’m so happy and in love!”

I didn’t get the standard answer.

I got something better, view and here’s what it was.

“Oh, I’m not getting married. My dad just got remarried.”

The standard follow up to the nonstandard response to the original standard question is, rx “Oh, were you in the bridal party?”

I asked the standard follow up question.

The standard follow up answer you hope to receive to the follow up question to the nonstandard answer is, “Yes, I adore my new step mother! I’m so lucky—now I have two amazing mothers!”

I once again got something other than the standard answer.

“Oh, no. This didn’t come from my dad’s wedding to his new wife.”

Of course, I’m always game to dig the whole a just little deeper. The standard follow up question to the follow up answer to the follow up question to the original answer to the original question is, “Really? So where’s that bridal veil from?”

I’m nothing if not focused and purposeful. I asked the standard follow up question to the follow up to the follow up.

That follow, follow, follow answer you want to get at this point goes something like, “This is the bridal veil I know that I’ll wear on the day I take my great life’s love as my husband. I was inspired by all the love my dad showed to my new step mother yesterday.”

This will probably be no shock to you, but I didn’t hear those words. Instead, these were the last ones that I heard that really mattered.

“This was the veil MY MOM wore to my dad’s first wedding to HER. She thought it would be a riot if I wore it to his wedding. Like it?”

And scene.