Wednesday brought the season's first good winter storm atop a slickery undercoat that had me consulting Google traffic maps before I headed over to SubText for a reading last night. I resigned myself to a long, slow slog and a minuscule turnout.
My expectations were dashed on both counts.
I-94 was unaccountably clear and we progressed faster than in normal weather to St. Paul. No stop and go, no creeping. It may have been a personal record for a crosstown rush hour jaunt. The terrible weather must have thinned out the horde in advance and the plows had done their thing.
So far, so good.
In an earlier burst of promotional enthusiasm, I'd said we'd have wine at the event. I decided at the last hour not to bring any, but when David Unowsky remembered my promise, I figured others might, too.
Into the breech stepped Susan, my wife, first reader, writing-space maker, and in this case, wine sherpa.
Solo Vino was only two-and-a-half blocks away. She offered to dash over and bring back a few bottles of red and—once the bookstore's lack of stemware was assessed—some plastic cups.
Those of us who live west of the Mississippi sometimes adopt a sense of superiority. But St. Paul has great bookstores and wine shops and, it's easy to forget, Texas-size blocks that grow longer in a snow storm.
Whatever. Susan's fit, adventurous, and the car was nearly halfway to the store in a parking lot space that might disappear if she left it. So she walked.
The store had the right wine. But no cups.
She's also resourceful. Do you have catering glasses, she asked. They did. Can I borrow some? She could. They even offered to load them in her car.
In a final expression of his love, Leonard Self sets out on Monument Road with his wife's ashes. And the writer's wife, slogging through the snow with a three-foot-square crate filled with glassware and wine, arrives in time to serve vino to intrepid bookstore patrons. There's a connection to be made somewhere.
Thanks to SubText and Solo Vino. But when this book stuff is all over, there's one person I'm going to owe more than everyone else put together.