Have you ever had one of those days or nights when absolutely nothing went right? Even though much of what went amiss wasn’t your fault, you were left feeling embarrassed and, sadly, with a mess that had to be cleaned up.
Such was my case on the Saturday before Easter, when virtually everything I touched ended up in a spill or mental mistake. In short, it was a frustrating and, yes, amusing evening.
We certainly knew it was going to be a busy Saturday. We were hosting our monthly bridge club and had a reception to attend during the afternoon. Then early Sunday morning we had duties at church, followed by hosting the family for Easter dinner. Actually, it was a very busy time for Jean since she had menus to select and prepare and was rushing around trying to finish her spring housecleaning. In my case, I was assigned minor duties and was able to complete them with little problem.
We left in the middle of the afternoon to attend the reception and when we arrived at the site of it, I was surprised there were no cars. Jean had the invitation and asked, “This is April 4 isn’t it?”
“No, its April 11,” I answered to her shock and surprise. We had missed the event since it was entered on the wrong date on our calendar. Being quite chagrined, we headed back home.
During the bridge event, I was assigned the duty of starting the coffee. I watched the first few seconds as the glass pot started to fill and hustled back to bid the first hand. When I was the dummy —that’s a bridge term for the person who isn’t playing, not a reference to my intellect — I went to get the coffee.
To my shock, coffee was leaking all over the counter and, being a good husband, I yelled for Jean to help with the cleanup. Jean quickly brought order and the mess was gone. This time, she decided to take over the coffee-brewing chores and started a fresh pot. She watched the coffee begin to tumble into the pot, making sure the carafe was properly seated and returned to the game. Sadly when she went back, she discovered another overflow.
At that point we had salvaged a couple of partially full servers. She suggested to me that I should drink diet cola rather than coffee so that we would have sufficient for our guests. This, as it turned out, was another miscalculation.
I went to get my soft drink and accidentally bumped a plastic two-liter bottle, which started to tumble over. I quickly grabbed the bottle to cut down on the damage. Now let me ask, have you ever grabbed a full two-liter soft drink bottle about half way down? I caught the bottle, but the squeeze set off an eruption of soft drink reminiscent of Old Faithful all over the counter. Again, there was a mess to clean up.
So, you ask, how did I play that night? The simple answer is horribly. I trumped my own ace one time, failed to trump when I could and then forgot the suit I had selected as trump. All that added up to going set three times and having a low score.
The next morning, we tried to make coffee again and apparently proved that we are slow learners. It was then Jean discovered the problem — there was a crack near the top of the glass pot, which allowed it to begin leaking. We spent Sunday enjoying instant coffee.
However, there was something that I learned from this error-filled experience. I learned the value of long-time friendship. Nobody was frustrated with our foibles; they all laughed with us and related similar experiences. They were friends and a few spills didn’t change that. I learned that longtime friends are willing to accept mistakes and to overlook spills. Yes, friends are one of the world’s most precious gifts, and long-term friendships are even more special.