I had two cups of coffee this morning. One cup leaves me talkative but two cups and I’m sarcastic. I thought I ought to take advantage of that and write this next piece. You’ve been warned of my sarcasm if you intend to continue reading.
Years ago, fall of 1986 to be exact, my two year old daughter was going to a sitter just a few doors down from us. When I was dropping her off one morning, there was a new father dropping off his two daughters. We exchanged hellos and that was that. A couple days later, My wife and I attended a neighborhood casino night. We were new to the neighborhood and not knowing anyone there we attempted to mingle while playing casino games. At the end of the gaming session and prior to the auction for prizes, I noticed the new father I had met at the sitter and realizing he hadn’t known anyone either, introduced him to my wife. He in turn introduced his wife and we boldly joined them at their table. The auction was rolling along when a room for a weekend at the Embassy Suites in Milwaukee came up for bid. We had been looking for a quick get away, so my wife and I started bidding on the room with our play money winnings. The bidding soon passed our total. About to bow out of the action, our new found neighbors offered to throw in their meager winnings and we offered up the entire works on our next bid. Now I fully expected to be immediately outbid, or should I say, hoped we would be outbid. After all, we really didn’t know our partners in this bid let alone intend to share a suite with them as our first date. And you guessed it. No one bid. I was the anxious owner of a Milwaukee hotel room with let’s be honest here, total strangers. For all I knew they had been forced to move after a recent stalking charge leveled by their previous neighbors. Worse yet, they would turn out to be swingers and my wife and I …. well we weren’t … aren’t. Disclaimer here, my wife worries that the reader will get the wrong idea …. well don’t.
I decided the best course of action would be to graciously hand the room over to them and formulate our early exit. And again you guessed it or you figured out there wasn’t much of a story if they accepted my offer. They were already setting a date with my wife for our hotel stay. Now I WAS convinced this couple was either crazy or desperate, possibly both. Before I could make up excuses, like I snore loudly or I prefer to sleep in the nude, I don’t but I thought it might scare them off, unless of course they really were swingers, we were scheduled to all head down to the Embassy Suites that very next weekend.
The weekend came and my wife was actually looking forward to our “group date”, which made me begin to worry about her as well, after all, I had only known her for nine years and maybe she was really good at keeping secrets. We had decided to bring our daughter with us, as had they, but I was still wondering how this would work? At this point, my detail planner wife explained that it was a suite, implying, though adjoining, two rooms. We would take one and they could have the other. All I had to worry about was hitting it off conversationally. My anxiousness was reducing.
Arrival in Milwaukee. The suite turned out to be a shared bedroom and sitting area with at least a separation of sorts between the two areas. Remember how I said we brought the kids. The three of them were already thick as thieves from the common sitter we shared. And again you guessed it. They all wanted to be together in the sitting area on that wonderful fold out couch that only three kids under the age of six could not only love but share. And that left us right where it turns out BOTH couples had thought wasn’t going to happen …. sharing two queen beds in the same room. Thank god for wine and a mini bar.
It has been over thirty years since that night. Not only did we survive our time together …. turns out they were as nervous as we were …. our families traveled together many more times in the years that followed. Through multiple moves by our friends, first to Chicago, then back to the Madison area and eventually settling in the St. Louis area, through our children’s graduations and two of their weddings, and even through grieving the passing of Doug’s wife Carol two years ago, we are still and always will be best friends. It is clearly not the same without Carol as part of the “Bob and Carol, Ted and Alice” running joke of our first meeting, but nothing can break up a friendship forged by sharing a room as your first date.
Thank you Embassy Suite. From that night forward, Doug and Carol and their family became an integral part of our family’s life. Without your donated room to that casino night thirty “odd” years ago, my wife and I would never have discovered one of the most likable, family oriented and adventuresome couples with whom we have spent a lifetime.
To quote someone “Ain’t life funny sometimes.”