Finally, all have arrived in the correct tower, in the correct suite, and we are enjoying very close fellowship with cheese, wine, and an athletic sour cream dip that springs from the toasted sesame wheat cracker and crash lands on Elaine’s bosom. I do not try to recover anything from the crash sight.
Dick and Ann are caught in the same eddy by the window that I am sheltering within. Ann remarks, “Wow, you sure clean up well, Charles.” I take this to mean that she hasn’t seen me in a suit and tie, before. Through the window, I see Mt. McKinley glowing deep orange in a beautiful sunset (we all agree it is McKinley, but later I find that we were looking at some other peak). There is a shallow balcony which would give a clearer view, but I’m afraid I’d get pushed over the railing in this press of people. At last, we take a break from nonstop eating and drinking to move to the dining room for a much needed dinner.
The dining room is beautifully decorated with flowers for every table and swirls of post modernist Rotarians circulating among islands of white table clothes and anxious hotel persons carrying water pitchers and coffee carafes. Dinner has been delayed until eight o’clock to accommodate some fog-delayed flights out of San Francisco. I meet Valerie, a charming (actually, stunning) woman with red hair who sits down next to me. She pokes at the salad and pronounces it overripe. Lydia is off talking to people at another table. Valerie and I agree that the turkey (or is it chicken?) pasta is quite good. So are the speeches. They are short. Thank heavens.
I must say that the positioning of the head table gives new meaning to the admonition to speakers about not speaking in a setting where visual distractions are present. Who really listened to Dick or Cliff when you could look beyond them at reflections of distant mountains in the mirror smooth waters of the harbor below us. At our table, Lydia has taken up with two of her fellow governors and talks Rotary business. Valerie talks with me about her dream journal in which she keeps notes on all of the dreams that she remembers. We chat of symbols, schools of psychology, dreams, and the insurance business which she and her husband (another DGN) own. I am taken with the wit, charm, and beauty of this woman—perhaps just a bit intimidated. I am the only male spouse in the group of governor’s spouses at Anchorage. How will I be received? If Valerie is any indication, I will have nothing to worry about. I worry, anyway. What is this brown stuff we are having for dessert?