Earl's AUTHORS SPOTLIGHT: DAY 2 TASK 1. A ski lodge, A nor'easter and a hungry crowd
It was a bitter cold wind that welcomed bus loads of ski-happy, lodge-loving, characters, celebrating a phenomenal year of sales . Yes, we were the top sales agents of 2007, from the East Coast . Keep in mind that New Yorkers have a different attitude about fun than Vermonters, who are in a class by themselves compared to the New Jersey visitors, just to name a few. Nevertheless, the merger of styles, sizes, accents and food choices were all to descend on this quiet, Maine lodge for the weekend.
Friday, about noon-thirty-ish, hungry masses of ski fanatics entered the lodge, dropped their luggage in a cadenced-like sound upon the large planked, heart of pine floor. One particularly rude gentleman named Roger, banged his massive fists down on the desk and demanded appetizers be served, immediately. Jake, a tall, lanky, red haired man chimed in with an “I second that motion.” It wasn’t long before the weary travelers started a melodious chant of “we want food.”
I tried to move in a stealth motion to pick up my key and head for my room before the crowd got uglier. It was simply serene to gaze out my window and view the mountains, the snow, the black bear--What?!! I know I’m not in the city anymore. I freshened up a little so I could join the rest of my colleagues, have a little drink by the fire and wave goodbye to them as they head to the slopes. I am a klutz. I do not need a giant hill and gravity to prove that fact.
When I returned, Jake, dressed in a folksy looking red, buffalo plaid shirt,(which looked terrible with his fiery red hair,) and Khaki green slacks, was sitting by the fire with Slutty, Sally Swanson, wearing some skimpy, hot pink, ski babe outfit, that looked like it was spray painted on her not so slender body. Roger, still wearing one of those brown leather hats with the fold-over ear protectors, was stuffing his fat face with feta cheese, and fume blanc, while the poor man at the desk was rubbing his temples probably wishing this whole day away.
Crystal the company cheerleader cried out “it’s snowing!” The rest of the clan chimed in with the same call. Great, these brilliant salespeople can state the obvious. How on Earth did I end up with this bunch? Oh, yeah, I was the top saleswoman.
The man at the desk rang a little bell at us, like we were students in a cafeteria and needed to be told it is time to go out to recess.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, I am afraid this is a blizzard, a nor’easter, to be specific. Nobody will be able to go to the slopes today or tomorrow. The ski slopes are closed until further notice. Now, we would really like to give you a rain check--or rather, a snow check, and a multitude of complimentary gifts for your trouble and send you on your way, however, the roads below this point are closed. I’m afraid you will be our guests for a long, long, time.”
I was not happy to hear I would have to spend extra time with these fools. Furthermore, I could not even hope for a moment of peace when they went off to the slopes because the slopes were closed. Then the pitiful man at the desk, now sweating profusely, announced that the cook has quit. He could not take the abusive tone of the crude company complaining about his dinner menu for the evening.
“I can cook!” I blurted those words out as if someone else had spoken them. I turned around hoping somebody else said it. No, it was I . All those bored, hungry, desperate eyes were on me.
“Yes, I did run a restaurant several years ago. I think I can find something in the kitchen to sustain us all.”
Cheers were heard around the room. Roger and Jake lifted me in the air and carried me to the kitchen. They offered to help me with my culinary duties. I asked them to bring the fume blanc with them.
I combed through the walk-in fridge and found assorted meats hanging there. I know one thing, boil something long enough, add a selection of vegetables and you’ve got a hearty meal. I had the very tipsy guys carve some of the venison, and carefully add it to the simmering pot. I then added the white wine, and an abundance of herbs and spices, and closed the lid. With that pot luck dinner well under way, I returned to the main room to finally have my welcoming drink.
Soon, the fragrant stew was filling the air with a rich aroma that made stomachs growl mercilessly. The crowd started to relax and become a little more cordial to their fellow travelers. I was amazed to notice the overgrown hippy, Hannah, having had a pleasant conversation with New Joisey girl, Gayle, offering her a business card. However, those two did not seem to be talking business.
The crowd was no longer on a mission of destruction. They started campfire games and songs while waiting for supper. I actually heard hearty laugher from rude Roger.
I often think about the phrase"Music hath charms to soothe a savage breast, to soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak.” Thank you William Congreve! May I also add, that in this case, food had power to control those savage beasts.
It was a good trip, after all.