Linda Jinkens, Freelance Writer | Fall/Winter, 2020
Just before the Covid-19 shutdown, my husband and I were given the gift of a one-night stay at an expensive mountain lodge. Our daughter insisted it would be restful and rustic. Excited, we left early, figuring it would take three hours to get there.
Later, after lunch, we got back in our car. The ignition clicked, but wouldn’t start. “Great, dead battery,” Ron said.
“No worry, dear.” I pulled out our insurance card and called our agent.
She kindly said, “I will call a tow truck and get back to you.”
Later, she called back. “I’m sorry, but there are no tow trucks available! There’s been a five-car accident on the freeway, and every tow truck is being used.”
“What? No tow trucks?” said Ron, incredulous. “You’re kidding!”
Two hours went by. Finally, a tow truck driver swung into view. He jumped our car, and off we went to the repair shop.
The manager said he did not have our battery type in stock and needed to order it. We would have to wait. “I can’t believe this!” said Ron, very annoyed. “They don’t have our kind of battery? It’s just a standard battery!”
Three hours went by. “Maybe we should head home after this,” I said to Ron. “It’s getting late. Check in time is no later than 7 pm.”
“We’re not going home!” Ron said testily. “Not when we’ve come this far!”
“OK, OK, you don’t have to get cranky,” I said. “This is not my fault, you know!”
Finally, the battery installed, we drove off. “Ron,” I said, “you won’t believe this! They must have disconnected the radio while putting in the battery!”
“I’d believe anything at this point!” Ron said, grumpy.
We drove through miles of stop and go traffic and then endless forest. Finally, we arrived at the lodge parking lot at 8:30 pm. Frazzled and exhausted, we stumbled to the desk. “They may not have a room for us,” I warned Ron.
“They better!” he said grimly. “There’s not another hotel for miles!”
“Your room is available,” the French-accented clerk said, “but the dining room is shut for the evening.”
“What? No dinner? I don’t believe this!” Ron’s frown had become permanent. We slowly climbed the stairs.
“Wow, this is a tiny room,” I said, “but rustic!” The small bed was made from a décor of sticks. The mattress felt like a granite slab. I searched the room for a coffee pot.
“Ron, there’s no coffee pot in here!”
He was lying on the bed, eyes closed. “You can get it in the morning.”
I was shocked. “No coffee pot! I have to have a couple cups in the morning before I get going!”
I walked downstairs. The surprised clerk said, “We removed all of the coffee pots years ago.”
I walked back upstairs. “Ron, there are no coffee pots in any of the rooms!”
Ron was snoring.
I tossed and turned on the bed. No air conditioning. I opened the window. Noisy chatter assailed my ears. Groups of people looked up. “Good grief, Ron!” I said. “We are situated right over the entrance to the lodge!”
Ron snorted and fell back asleep.
We paid for an expensive breakfast in the morning and walked outside.
“How about visiting the gift shop?” I asked.
“Gift shop! Forget it!” he said loudly. “Tell the desk we are leaving! I’ll put our stuff in the car!”
“You don’t have to rant,” I said.
“I’m not ranting!” he yelled.
The young man with the French accent handed me a huge bill. I stared. “But it’s all paid for! We don’t owe anything! Paid for!”
He looked puzzled. I told him this was a gift we had been given. “It’s paid for! Paid for!”
I headed out to the car. The clerk trailed behind, pleading in French. I kept turning around. “Paid for! Paid for!”
“Ron,” I said, getting to the car, “he thinks we are trying to leave without paying! This is so embarrassing! People are staring!”
Ron threw the last piece of luggage into the trunk. “Well, just pay him! This is crazy! We will straighten it out later!”
I handed the man our card. He rushed off and came back, receipt in hand, now smiling.
Turns out our daughter forgot to pay for the room.
Linda Jinkens, Freelance Writer
Former High School Teacher
Linda Jinkens is a freelance writer who enjoys bicycling, baking, and her five grandchildren.