January and February have been chock full of men on ski trips dropping in the saloon for Grand Teton session ales. Several nights ago, fifteen men gathered for their Superbowl and Ski weekend for the 20th year in a row. Two nights ago, five gathered for a 60th birthday. The birthday boy was embarrassed by the attention so I decided it’d be funny to put candles in everything. The brie appetizer, the lamb kabob, the appropriate mud pie. We sang “Happy Birthday” each time. I cheers-ed along with them with my water pitcher. They poured me a glass of their expensive wine. We took pictures together as if I was part of their group. Time passes quickly in these moments and it definitely does not feel like work.
Last night, a group of six large men gathered around a table meant for four. Shannon jokes but very seriously says, “Oh, a group of older men, we’ve got to make sure Beth gets that table.”
You can tell who the characters are before the drink orders are completed. Chris was the character last night. He introduced me the rest of the fellas and I made my best effort to remember names. I walked in the back to order drinks and I wrote the names down. I love the surprised look on people’s faces when you set their food down twenty minutes later and say, “Trent, can I bring you anything else?”
But when I returned with the wine, they had moved tables on me and had started singing “Beth” by Kiss.
Chris said, “Now you’ll for sure not know our names.” I named the distinctly looking Dave, Trent, and Chris and then guessed Mike wrongly twice.
“Well, who the hell is Mike?!”
They laughed. Mike raised his hand and said, “You’re a breath of fresh air.”
Dave chimed in, “You mean a Beth of fresh air.”
I smiled and poured the wine.
Michele spoke up, “Didn’t we see you on a dust jacket in the bookstore? You are THE Beth of fresh air, aren’t you?”
I looked at them in complete shock. Such paralogizing was going on that I was confused. They drew this conclusion in that very instant? They picked up my book and studied my photo where I’m not even looking at the camera and knew this was me?
“Well, I guess that is who I am. You saw the book? You’re joking with me.”
They knew an awfully lot about it and we chatted about how New Zealand would be an ideal place to retreat to if we get a Mad Max kind of situation on our hands. I jotted down a list of my favorite towns. They were my only table at the time, thank goodness.
An hour went by. They were eating their mud pie when my coworker said, “They really like you! I told them all about the book you wrote. They wanted to know all about it.”
So paralogizing it was not. Clever it was.