I'd like to personally thank the members of the Eldred Beagle Club and Michelle and Duanne Frable for a very enjoyable Valentine's Day dinner last Saturday night.
But I've got to tell you, I had some misgivings. Let me set the stage.
Harry is a member of the Eldred Beagle Club. It's a bunny haven of acres of brush. It's also a heaven for beagle dogs and their owners to run and chase the bunnies. The terrain is, well, let's just say the few times Harry has taken me there, I had to hang on to my head for fear of it being shaken off driving up the hilly roads.
There is a clubhouse. Not a large one, but I guess it suffices for the members to hold meetings and when they host fun trials and field trials. I had never been inside it so I could only guess at its decor. Harry never really elaborated too much, not having much interest in that department ..."It has running water" is what I remember him saying.
The night before January's meeting, he handed me a piece of paper and said, "I've been putting it off telling you this because I was afraid of what you might say."
He knows his wife well. I'm not what you might call a gal who likes to "rough it." I like my creature comforts.
The paper was an invitation to a Valentine's Day dinner. "Ahhhh. Sweet," I thought.
Then I read where it was to be held and my mind came to a screeching halt. The clubhouse?
"You won't be able to fit too many people in there," I mused aloud while thinking, "Are they nuts?"
"That's why I have to let them know tomorrow night," he said. "I don't think they can handle more than 30 people."
"Hmmm. Small and intimate is good," trying to warm up to the idea. "OK. We'll go." Sometimes I am up to an adventure.
Then Harry dropped the A-bomb.
"There is one thing. It has no indoor bathroom. We only have an outhouse."
Whoa. Now that's a horse of a different color. My mind fast forwarded to finishing a delicious meal, and horror of horrors, having to go to the bathroom. The vision of putting on a heavy coat, scarf and gloves, trekking out into a cold dark winter's night, possibly through snow, to sit on an icy seat in a smelly old outhouse sent shivers of revulsion throughout my body.
But then I looked into the eyes of my Valentine and knew how much this meant to him.
"Come on Linda. Suck it up. Think of all this guy does for you. Surely you can survive one night in the cold nether lands of the wilds, all in the name of love."
One pleasant surprise after another awaited the guests last Saturday night.
OK. The decor may have been Early American attic and basement castoffs but it was overshadowed by the bright cheery tables dressed in pink and red tablecloths with heart garland, and candleholders filled with candy hearts and candles.
Duanne and Michelle did a fabulous job catering the meal. There was a table of yummy appetizers, including delicious deer steak kebobs. A plate of salad was at each place setting. Our entrée choices were spaghetti and meatballs, roasted chicken with scalloped potatoes or stuffed pork chops, which were preordered. Harry and I both had the stuffed pork chops with homemade filling and string beans. De-lish! Then we had a choice of homemade apple, cherry, or peach pie with homemade ice cream. It was gastronomical bliss.
Pleasant and fun conversation with our tablemates helped make the evening a delightful one. Right up until it became obvious to me that I had to make the dreaded trip to the outhouse.
So, bundled up in my heavy winter coat, with scarf, gloves and boots, I headed for the unknown. Nothing could have prepared me for what waited behind that door. The first thing I noticed was the amazing shade of Pepto Bismol pink walls. Next, the toilet seat was a very cushiony comfortable one. Then I realized how warm and toasty it was because there was a little electric heater running. And the aroma! Thanks to a scented burning candle, there was a lovely fragrance of fresh flowers wafting in the air. I think I chuckled the whole time I was in there.
But as I walked back to the clubhouse, I realized how touched I was by the sensitivity and romance that the Beagle Club members bestowed upon their Valentines.
So to all who made it a lovely evening, we Eldred Beagle Club wives send you all a very heartfelt, "Thank you" for bringing a little romance into our lives. I, for one, found it very endearing.
Talking to my friend Pattie Mihalik, she told me she made a Valentine book for her husband, David. She asked several questions of him and some were: "What was the most romantic day of your life?" "What was the most romantic thing you gave each other?" "What is the most endearing idiosyncrasy of your spouse? (Something strange but sweet.)
So dear readers, I'm asking you those same questions. Please write back at email@example.com or call me at 610-826-9641 with your answers.