A rare demand for a usual skill

I’m in my beloved Natchez with some friends from St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and beyond. And our first supper last night was at Magnolia Hall, of which I own part. A small part. Maybe the strainer in the sink or the plunger in the bathroom.

Magnolia Hall, of which I am now part owner. I believe I own the doorstop in the gift shop.

You see, I am a very proud non-resident member of the Natchez Garden Club. The garden clubs of Natchez have been crucial in preserving the largest number of antebellum homes in any one place in the world. My garden club owns Magnolia Hall and another mansion. And to make money for the upkeep, they host private dinners in them among other money-making endeavors.

Natchez Garden Club 1

Nice, huh? Please note chair covers. No detail is too small.

So when young ladies (and a few gentlemen) join the garden club they must put in their time volunteering to work at these dinners. I like that. Nobody gets a free ride, even in a garden club. But I learned last night that I possessed a rare demand for a usual skill: bar tending.

The tour got off the bus after a 12-hour ride (I am no fool — I got to town early in my own car) directly at Magnolia Hall and, as we are Episcopalians, they immediately wanted a drink. Almost 50 people lined up ready for booze. And the young lady behind the bar was having trouble uncorking a bottle of Chardonnay. I saw panic in her eyes. She was calling for back up, not realizing that back up was right in front of her.

Hey, I thought, I know how to do this. I do it every night. Without thinking.

Which is how I got to perform my first official act as a member of the Natchez Garden Club. Booze dispersal. I hope they understand what a valuable talent I possess.

Natchez Garden Club 2

It was an extremely insignificant contribution. But I got to wear the official apron. Pretty much my trip was complete on the first night. For a brief moment I was one of them.

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