Sunday, July 19, 2009

Day 2: D-Day, The First Day of the Festival

It came and went in a flash. These are quick remembrances of the day.

The Dunkin Dounuts parking lot was like a Chinese puzzle, with each car, truck or van moving a few feet so the other could go. By the time I was able to completely turn the car around, Chris had brought our coffee and assorted breakfast treats out. Took 20 minutes. Still don’t know why I agreed to pull in.

We got to the vendor parking lot when one smart traffic director asked us why we didn’t have our parking permit? No clue. I had out packet right there. Showed it to him. He let us park but told me I had to go to the office and walk back out with a permit or they would have me towed.

Arrived at the booth – now nicknamed The Poseidon! During the night there had been a bad storm. Our booth now sat in at least and inch-and- a-half of water. During the day David and I kept repeating lines from the original movie and asking, “Which way to the engine room?” As one clever attendee quipped – “Did you have to pay extra for he water feature?”

However, the real worst of it was that our stationery box had been blown over. More than 300 brochures (the bulk of what we brought) were soaking wet and had to be thrown out. We salvaged what we could. Same for boxes. We threw out half of all out paper products.

So now I went to the booth. Ah, yes. I forgot out donation for the cause – two bottles of any wine for the cause. OK. And then where’s my permit? “Let me see, ah yes, here it is,” said the official, in a stack of wineries who inadvertently were not sent their permits either. Will wonders never cease.

Not a fun way to start the day. Then we made sangria and pushed forward.

The rest of the day was a blur. By the time I got back to the booth it was 10:30, and the guys were under siege. The booth was surrounded. I imagined it was like the last three of four guys at Little Big Horn must have faced. And the onslaught continued with happy festival goers hovering around our tables the entire day until two big troopers came by and yelled to everyone – “No more serving or selling. It’s over!”

It was a very good day.

Then it was off to dinner. David convinced us to go to Elmira for dinner. We had originally planned to go to the Stone Cat or the Café at Red Newt, but the line of traffic going back down into town was brutal. It would take us an hour or so to get there. We didn’t have the patience. David led us toward Elmira.

He made it sound close, but it was not. We went through the mountains and saw nary a human being. I said to Chris that I was still too young to play the part of Ned Beatty in Deliverance. I thought that if I came to it, I would happily sacrifice his young life before mine – after all, I still owe a lot more people and I would really just be helping the economy. We ended up at a very large regional mall, with a Chilis, Olive Garden, Ruby Tuesdays and a Red Lobster, not to mention a McDonalds. We ended our day at Red Lobster with a little surf and turf action, and the prettier waitresses ogling Chris. And then in complete darkness, Chris and I drove back to Watkins Glenn, getting lost for sure, but somehow finding our way home. I must say, surprisingly, Chris has an excellent sense of direction. And after a few beers was much more chatty on the way back.

We got back to the hotel, and Chris put on some Chinese kung-fu movie, and I eventually rolled over and passed out in my own bed within minutes.


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