On the way to Albuquerque, we had asked Agnes the GPS shrew to show us motels close to Victor’s Grape Arbor, where we had set up a book signing for my book Making Fine Spirits, with Michelle the owner, for the next day. Since a La Quinta was close, and we’d had good luck with that chain, I told Agnes to show us the way. She did and we arrived at the motel, where we registered and drove to our room on the back side of the motel.
As we were unloading, I told Pat that this back street looked familiar, and a moment later it dawned on me that we were on the same street as Victor’s Grape Arbor, and further, that Victor’s was almost directly across the street from us.
That night we slept soundly, comfortable in the knowledge that, not only would we not have to find the next day’s book signing, we’d have only to walk across the street and we’d be there. And that’s the way it worked out.
When I thought it was about time to cross the street and set up my laptop and 32″ monitor to run my Power Point presentation on, I stuck my head out the motel door to see Michelle and Patrick setting up a portable sunshade canopy in front of the store. I grabbed my gear and arrived just in time to be absolutely no help at all, except to congratulate them on a canopy well erected.
This is the second year we’ve done a book signing at Victor’s Grape Arbor, in part because the first was a great success, but mostly because Michelle is just a joy to work with. Always cheerful, she had set up the lecture part of the signing with the aforementioned sun shade canopy, to keep me out of the blistering Albuquerque sun, and had also provided a table for my laptop and monitor, under the canopy. This ensured that the monitor could be seen, which doesn’t happen when it’s in direct sunshine.
Michelle had also done her homework in advertizing the event, and a goodly crowd started assembling about the time I finished setting up.
When I started the lecture part of the signing, it soon became apparent that this was a really good crowd, both attentive and friendly, although I still try to test the presentation by asking if the material is making sense, so far. As the lecture got going, another problem, not of our making arose. The very aggressive Albuquerque wind had decided that our sun canopy would make a wonderful kite, and that canopy started hopping from one leg to another, like a baby bird testing its nerve for the first flight.
Being quick of mind (ok, not exactly true, but for the sake of narrative flow, can you just give me this one?), I reached up to grab the canopy frame over my corner (after all, I only needed one hand to point to the monitor display with a long plastic brewing spoon). When I looked up, I saw that Michelle had moved to the opposite corner, and was holding her part down.
Throughout the rest of the lecture and Q & A session, Michelle and I hung on like bulldogs, while the canopy jerked and hopped, trying valiantly to take flight, dragging the two of us upward looking like a sort of tandem Mary Poppinses.
Afterward, I got a chance to chat with the attendees, and found they were extremely friendly and generally quite advanced in distillation.
We had such a good time, in fact, that Michelle had to nudge us a bit, so she could close the store. When I packed everything up, I noticed that my PowerPoint remote was missing, and several people came forward to help me find it. Michelle breezed through all these helpers with, “What did you lose? I’m the best finder”. “Bob’s remote”, was the answer. Michelle’s answer, “Check your pocket”.
I did, and there it was. Damn, how does she do that?