A restless night spent worrying about my first public overnight outing proved needless as the two-day excursion with The Directors was as fun filled as expected. As the last member of the group to travel so far as to necessitate a motel room, I was also the last to indulge in restaurant dining. While I did make that first brave step on tax day, this trip required my second restaurant experience. My friends were exceedingly gentle as I ventured (still somewhat timidly) into our formerly masked, now vaccinated world. As we wove through the green farmland of east central Minnesota and western Wisconsin, there were stops along the way for wine tasting and shopping, and while this later activity is usually not a high priority for me the company made the day enjoyable.
I attribute my lack of shopping enthusiasm to a career move to Georgia just after grad school. My next door neighbor was also a northern transplant, a cataloging librarian from Michigan, and she loved to shop. Faced with unexpected resistance to implementing what I considered standard library operations like offering storytimes for the public rather than only by appointment, I took solace from workplace challenges by joining her at the mall. (Remember when window-shopping under one roof in a temperature control environment was a new, novel experience?) When we moved after 18 months on the job, she to Augusta and me to Peoria, I had two maxed out credit cards. And, while that debt was paid off years ago, there is still a residual caution when considering what I want versus what I need. Although, on this trip, I was less hesitant at the bookstore and the two wineries as evidenced by the assorted vintages and the stack of new books that filled the boot.
Also on this trip, The Directors (my library loving, book reading, wine drinking group of retired friends) initiated a new but to-be-repeated practice of secret book gifting. We each brought 1-2 recently read titles, wrapped to hide any clue as to content other than to know we were exchanging books. After tours of the Shades of Green Garden and delicious home-prepared meals our hostess initiated a quick game of “I am thinking of a number between 1 and 100…” and we picked our surprises. Each book will guarantee good reading for the weeks ahead, as well as a promise to exchange these gently used reads next time we meet.