Incident at the Inn
It was just such an autumn day as this, many years ago, when my Mom and Dad came to visit. It was their first visit to our home in upstate New York after our move from New Jersey and I’d planned a number of activities. One was a trip over to The Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, Massachusetts about forty five minutes away. I’d been there before with friends and just knew my folks would enjoy not only the inn, but the town and the drive over.
In those days I had long curly hair, quite a trim figure and I got a little gussied up for the occasion. I also wore my new peach-colored trench coat and cute tassel loafers. Besides lunch in the charming dining room there would be shops in town to visit and ambiance galore to soak up. I couldn’t wait. I knew Mom and Dad would appreciate being in the kind of fall setting they loved but never experienced living in Southern California.
The kids were in school so the ride over was filled with pleasant adult conversation. We walked the streets of Stockbridge, looking into shop windows, even stepping inside a few. Mom and I oo-ed and ah-ed through the Country Curtains shop attached to the inn. Dad and hubby chatted about this and that. Then it was time to eat.
The inn has a big dining room and some smaller rooms, too. We settled into one of the small ones where the tables have real linen, cloth napkins, pewter cream pitchers and the like. It all felt so elegant and then a wonderful thing happened. A woman walked over, greeted us, and sat down. It was Jane Fitzpatrick herself and I was stunned. She owns The Red Lion Inn and the Country Curtains shops. Her husband, Jack, had been a state senator. She spent a good five minutes or so telling us the history of the room we were in. A very gracious lady.
Still a-twitter after she left we all enjoyed a lovely lunch. I was feeling quite regal and as we finished I excused myself to go to the lady’s room. That in itself was a treat because the lady’s room there is beautiful. It’s all done up in pink, white and dusty shades of green, wide tile floors,white wicker chairs with padded cushions and, of course, Country Curtains at the windows. As I washed my hands and fluffed my hair I thought of what a perfect day it was.
As I traversed the broad hallway back to our table I held my curly head high and thought for sure I resembled some famous young actress in a soap opera or something. Probably I was turning heads. I tossed mine. I smiled when I spotted Mom and she smiled back – a little too brightly I thought. I kept walking and smiling until I reached our table.
“Sit down,” she whispered, throwing glances around the room. By this time she was near laughing out loud, and in answer to my questioning look she said, “Look at your shoe.”
A glance down and my starlet illusion was shattered. Like a pie in the face it came to me that all the way back to the table, past other elegant diners, bow tied waiters, and probably Jane Fitzpatrick herself, I was trailing a long piece of toilet paper on the bottom of my cute tassel loafers.
Suddenly I felt a lot more like a bubble headed Lucy Ricardo than a glamour girl soap star. Susan Ricardo - NOT Susan Lucci.
“Oh, heh, heh,” I babbled and sat down. I didn’t even want to think where that toilet paper had been. I gingerly picked the thing off my heel and wrapped it in a tissue from my purse. No eye contact with anyone At All.
Needless to say I left The Red Lion Inn, rather quickly, a much humbler person.