by Mike McHugh
As much as people in Louisiana love to celebrate Mardi Gras, if you’ve ever hosted a table at a ball, you can understand why they’re just as relieved when the whole thing is over. Even in preparing for the D-Day invasion, General Eisenhower never had to contend with the degree of logistics involved in being host at a ball. That’s because he didn’t have to be concerned with tablecloths.
If he did, I’m sure he’d do as any man would and just spread out some newspaper. This is why the women usually take charge of table decorations; while the men’s responsibilities are restricted to showing up on time in a tuxedo, preferably sober. This in itself could pose a challenge should an afternoon basketball game drag into overtime.
My wife had strict requirements for the tablecloths at our last ball. They had to be of a certain length, a certain texture, and of just the right color to match the ball’s theme. They had more specifications than the Space Shuttle.
I questioned whether such a tablecloth existed anywhere in the world. It was no problem for my wife, however, as she simply plugged into her extensive network of linen enthusiasts. In this way, she found that Darlene, another lady in our Mardi Gras krewe, had just what she was looking for. Darlene, who I surmised to have a linen closet big enough to park a Stealth Bomber, was all too happy to let her borrow them for the evening.
Our guests had a splendid time at the ball, due in no small part to the tablecloths, I’m sure. Still, I had to think that the Crown Royal had at least something to do with it. When the time came to return the linens to Darlene, my wife approached me with an idea.
“We should really get to know Darlene and Carlos better,” she told me. “Since I have to see her to return the tablecloths, why don’t we use the opportunity to have dinner together?”
The idea sounded fine with me, especially since it involved food. So off we went one evening to meet Darlene and her husband, Carlos, at a local restaurant. We came to within a few blocks of the place when my wife realized that she’d forgotten the tablecloths. I promptly eased the car into the left lane and signaled to turn.
“What are you doing?” she asked.
“What do you mean?” I replied. “I’m turning around to go back home and get the tablecloths.”
“But we’re almost at the restaurant.”
“I know, but wasn’t returning the tablecloths the whole point of us getting together?”
“No, silly,” she answered. “The point was for us to have dinner and get better acquainted. It’s not about the tablecloths.”
“So the tablecloths were just an excuse,” I observed.
“It’s okay. I can just return them the next time we all get together.”
It makes no sense to me why women feel the need to come up with these kinds of schemes. Men never need to find excuses for getting together with each other. That’s what things like golf and hunting are for. In fact, if it weren’t for golf and hunting, men would probably become hermits.
We had a nice dinner with Darlene and Carlos and have since met them on several occasions. My wife, however, still has the tablecloths, and I figure we might be holding on to them for a while longer. If she gives them back now, Darlene might become afraid that we no longer want to be friends with them.