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    Many years ago, one of my favorite people, Ray Goldstein, attended a Catholic religious service with his best friend, Dr. Donahue. Since Ray was Jewish, and had never attended a Catholic service, his friend insisted that he sit at the end of the pew in order not to miss any of the beautiful religious ritual. As the altar boy came down the aisle, carrying the holy water, he stumbled, lost control of the water, and spilled it all over Ray Goldstein.  Dr. Donahue looked at his startled friend and said, “I’ve been coming to this church for thirty years, and all I ever get is a sprinkle. You come once and get the whole thing. That’s not fair!”

    Sometimes life is like that!

    My husband was invited by an associate to speak at The University of Mexico. Even though Warren spoke no Spanish, she assured him that an interpreter would be provided, and I was invited to accompany him to Mexico City. Worried that no students would attend his scientific talk, he titled it, “There’s a Dead Horse in My Bedroom.” Attendees were lined up all around the block.

    Since he was the visiting “Celebrity,” the Dean of the College invited us to dinner at his home, which was a lovely gesture.  However, other than the Dean, no one else spoke a word of English at that party. So, I entertained everyone with my two years of high school Spanish. At one point, I said something about my son. The conversation stopped, everyone gasped, stared at me, and then broke into hysterical laughter. To this day, I still have no idea what I said. The Dean’s wife was a handsome woman. I tried to talk to her, but she had an expression on her face that said, “I will drop to my knees and beg you not to speak my language, if you don’t shut up!”

    Finally, it was time for dessert.The hostess carried a beautiful homemade flan that was floating in a sticky sweet sauce. As she came toward me, the flan began to quiver and slide. As it slid toward me, she overcompensated, saving the flan, but not the sauce which was now running down the front of my dress. I smiled and kept saying, “Es Nada!” (nothing), but of course it was not “Nada.” The poor woman escaped into the kitchen never to return. All these years later, she’s probably still in there.  Warren thought that my sticky situation was very funny, but I got the last laugh when he accepted a drink which contained ice cubes made with Mexican water.

    When we lived in Atlanta, people hosted many elegant parties. I didn’t have an abundance of fancy dresses, but one of my favorites was made of jade green silk. The first time I wore it, a woman chewing on an appetizer backed me against a wall, and talking animatedly  about nothing, she spit appetizer on the front of my dress. The next time I wore that dress someone spilled a cocktail on one sleeve.

    You know you are not paranoid when people are really out to get you.

    When traveling to Provence, some friends and I had lunch on the patio of a  quaint old restaurant. I admired all of the stylishly dressed French women and thought, “If only I could look as good as they do.” I was inconspicuous in my white blouse and white linen slacks until the waiter spilled a glass of red wine into my lap. He gave me an apologetic shrug and went merrily on his way.  I never saw him again.  Maybe he escaped into a kitchen too.  Anyway, not wanting to look as if I’d been in a knife fight, I went to the nearest shop and purchased some French slacks. Better to look funky than bloody.

    Up to this point, I had  been spilled on in two foreign countries and in Atlanta, where they were still fighting the “War of Yankee Aggression.” If you think that Tucson, AZ is any safer—think again!

    Recently, I went to a Vietnamese restaurant with a group of friends. The waiter poured water in all of the glasses on the table, except mine. Instead, he got a fresh pitcher of water and promptly  spilled it into my lap. The owner of the restaurant rushed over and handed me some paper napkins and scolded the waiter in Vietnamese.  As I wrung out my seat cushion, I kept saying—“Cancel the soup order, Cancel the soup order—PLEASE!”

    Sometimes life is just like that.

    Esther Blumenfeld


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