Crazy Charity Luncheon

Rick drew his dog, Gomer, and we used it in the logo with his autograph.

“Hi, I’d like to welcome all of you to the Shock Street Team Luncheon to benefit the American Red Cross,” I said into the microphone.  I wasn’t nervous; now that I’d been teaching adults at the university, public speaking amongst other peers had gotten easier.

Plus, everything was fabulous.  My friend Helen, who had planned the luncheon with me, had done an amazing job of working with the hotel.  There were shiny balloons everywhere, there was a cake with the logo I had designed, there was a lovely display of sandwiches and luncheon food.  The auction items had indeed appeared and two walls of our conference room were jammed with tables covered with items to bid on.  Rare items, old items, and lovely items from fan collections that they were willing to part with for the American Red Cross.  We were going to be able to raffle off soundcheck passes too, and one of the fans had taken on the job of walking around the room with the scroll of tickets, stuffing twenties in her tote in exchange for a few tickets.  Everything was going off without a hitch, and my sense of relief was kicking in.

The fans slowly stopped their conversations and started putting their attention on me.  I waited a second, and then once I had most of them with me, I continued.  “We’ll have lunch a little later, but for now, please feel free to check out the auction items on the tables up front.  We have some really amazing, unique items–” I stopped short.  I could feel my cell phone vibrating in my pocket.  I would have normally ignored it; likely this fan or that calling to ask me a question.  But just to be sure, I pulled it out to see who was calling first.

I saw the words “Rick Cell” blinking at me.

Shit!

Rick had offered to donate a guitar for auction, and we had been supposed to retrieve it from his hotel last night.  But between delayed flights and the fatigue factor, we hadn’t been able to meet up.  He had said he would have it brought by this morning, but I hadn’t heard from him.  Since I hadn’t advertised the guitar as one of the potential auction items, it hadn’t been something I would need to fix or save face on; just a lost opportunity.

Rick with the cake that sported the Rick Rocks Rockford logo.

“Um…I’m really sorry everyone, but I have to take this call.  I promise you won’t be upset about it.”  My voice was shaking all of the sudden, I could hear it.  Again with the sweaty palms.  I stepped away from the mike and turned my back to the crowd.  “Rick?” I asked into the mouthpiece.

“Yeah, hey, I’m trying to find the room so I can bring the guitar personally into the luncheon…can you send someone out to help me get in there?”  I gulped.  As perfect as everything had turned out, this would be icing on the cake.  I could feel my cheeks glowing red as fans to either side of me tried to listen in.

“Sure, I’ll send Helen out to find a security guard.  Tell me exactly where you are and don’t move.”

Like a dutiful child, Rick did as he was told.  I finished the conversation and pocketed the phone, turning back to the crowd.  One glance at my red face and shaky hands and they all knew who I’d been talking to.

“If I could ask everyone to take their seats,” I said into the mike.  “We’re going to have an auction item delivered to the room in a few minutes and they need a clear path.”  I smiled, I couldn’t help myself.  “Like I said, I don’t think you’ll be too upset about who the delivery guy is,” I said, dropping the hint as subtly as I could.

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