My friend Dede called today and asked if I’d do her a favor. “Sure,” I said, because I like Dede, and also, I’m taking a public speaking class and our teacher has advised us to gracefully accept things by saying, “It would be my pleasure.” “Sure” is pretty close to that, and it’s better than “maybe” or “no,” right?
Dede and her husband Paul live in Virginia, and last year I helped them find a lovely home overlooking Penobscot Bay in Rockport. Her favor had to do with the Rockport house. Seems she ordered some fabric from France and was afraid ’la package’ was sitting outside in the elements. (If you’ve been following our winter weather lately, you know she was right to worry — we’ve had two major snowstorms in four days and the white stuff is piled unbelievably high.)
Dede assured me the driveway was plowed and asked if I’d keep the package until she returned to Maine. “It would be my pleasure,” I remembered to say. “I’ll go over there today.”
So this afternoon I drove over to Rockport to Dede’s lovely neighborhood. My first surprise: the driveway hasn’t been plowed — at least not since the last storm. Luckily, being a MAINE Realtor, I travel with snowshoes, which I quickly strapped on. Down the winding driveway I plodded, in search of the elusive French fabric, spotting the hoof prints of a deer who’d wandered through the woods and across Dede’s driveway not too long ago.
Her house was a snowy fortress with no packages in sight. I tromped around the front of the property, searching for signs that a delivery had occurred. I was just about to turn around and snowshoe back to the car when I spotted a tiny corner of something sticking up from the snow.
Over to the mysterious object I plodded, and sure enough, it was one of those thick mailing envelopes frozen solid in the snowbank. I tugged and tugged, then dug at it with my poles, finally wrenching it free from its icy prison. I tromped back to the car, removed my snowshoes, and drove home.
Dede’s fabric is now defrosting and seems as if it will survive the ordeal, at least better than the mailing envelope, which disintegrated upon removal from the car. The pattern is elegant, even when soggy, and doubtless will look lovely when made into curtains, or whatever Dede is planning to make from it. I picture her project complete, then imagine the room’s other furnishings begging to hear the story of winter survival. I see the fabric giving a little smile, and then one of those Gallic shrugs, before answering nonchalantly, ”Avec plaisir.”