The car was packed, and Bill and I were ready to go on our four-day jaunt to Daytona Beach. We were kidless and looked forward to spending time with our friends that we haven’t seen in ages. I got into the passenger’s seat and settled in for the long 4 1/2 hour drive. As we made our way across the state, Bill and I talked about all the things we wanted to do when we arrived at the beach - ride the waves was first on the list. The night before it was freezing outside, so I don’t know why we thought for a second that we'd be getting into the water on the Atlantic coast. The Atlantic water would be much colder that our Gulf Coast. But that didn’t stop us from dreaming of being caught up in the huge waves and allowing our bodies to ride expertly on one crashing wave after another. Truth be told, I usually ended up in a mangled heap gasping for air and being pounded by all the succeeding waves.
We talked about Bill’s upcoming tennis match (which was the reason for our trip) and how his team was going to do against the best fifty and over teams in the state. Funny, it doesn’t seem like all that long ago that we made this trip competing in the under fifty category together. Now, my knee doesn’t allow me to play tennis, and Bill has graduated from playing singles to playing doubles on the senior team. I guess this is what “aging gracefully” is all about - you just accept the next crossroad in your life rather than fight it kicking and screaming. I have accepted my role as a spectator and head cheerleader, and he has accepted his role as half of the number one doubles team. He still is an amazing tennis player with the agility and speed of a forty-year-old.
When we arrived at the hotel, we met our friends, Maryanne, and Gene, at the front desk for check-in. I was beyond impressed with the hotel Maryanne was able to get for us. It was easily four, maybe five-star accommodations right on the beach - eons away from the last hotel Bill and I stayed at when his team was playing in the state finals. That hotel was on MLK Blvd. and there was a shootout behind our room.
We were staying at the Hilton and Maryanne even got us upgraded to cabana rooms with porches on the beach level. Returning to retrieve our luggage from our car, the valets were waiting. Our little Scion looked forlorn amidst the Lexus’ and Porches.
The Scion stood out just a tad. The two prominent dents were made even more noticeable by the coat of farm dirt that perpetually hung on our car. I was a little embarrassed by its shabby outer appearance. I just hoped that no one would notice the inside of the car. Just as I was thinking, I’m going to find a car wash tomorrow, the valet opened the passenger door to hang a tag on the mirror. I almost screamed, “No,” but it was too late. The door opened and out rolled the wire whisk for all to see.
Mary Anne was the first to notice the whisk tumbling out of the car. “Damn,” she said mockingly, “I knew I forgot something. Gene, why didn’t you remind me to pack the whisk?”
I was mortified as the whisk lay in the road broadcasting our social stratum like a neon sign: HAVE TO PACK A WHISK....MUST NEED TO COOK...CAN’T AFFORD TO EAT OUT.
“Go over and pick it up!” I ordered Bill, “Before everyone sees it!”
“I’m not picking it up.” He laughed. “You pick it up.”
We were talking about the whisk as if it were roadkill that no one dare approach.
Just then, the valet picked it up and proceeded to walk toward me. I hid behind Bill. He held the whisk out to Bill. “Do you need this or should I put it back in the car?” He asked straight faced.
“Honey,” Bill says to me as he moves away so that I am standing face to face with the whisk yielding valet, “Will you need the whisk tonight?”
“No,” I answer sarcastically, “Maryanne is cooking tonight. You can put the whisk back in the car.”
Later, when we were all gathered on our veranda overlooking the water, Maryanne just had to bring up the whole whisk incident. “So, I’m just curious. Why do you have a whisk in your car?”
“Well,” I retorted, “It comes in very handy for beating things.”
“Do you regularly beat things in the car?” She persisted in pushing the issue.
“Look, Maryanne!” I screamed, “I don’t know why the hell there is a whisk in the car! It’s been there since Christmas, and I don’t know how it got there. Why do you care so much about the stupid whisk!”
Suddenly, I started laughing at the absurdity of it all. Then, we all started laughing. As my grandmother used to say, "I laughed so hard that the tears started running down my legs."
Here we were in this hoity-toity hotel with our dirty cars, ratty suitcases and “casual” attire. Who were we kidding? We were Scion folks trying to act as though we fit into an Audi world. I decided right then and there that my wire whisk was going to be the highlight of our trip. So, every time the valet brought the car around, I made a big to do as I handed him the wire whisk and asked him to please take care of it while we were out. It became a running joke amongst the valets, and they looked forward to our outings.
From that day on, I always travel with my trusty wire whisk that appeared in my car out of nowhere (to this day I still have no idea how it got there). I keep it with me just to remind me that who I am is not defined by what kind of car I drive but, by the way, I handle the whisks in my life.