A humorous look at the little things in life

Wayne Rogers didn’t need to be Trapper John to be my hero August 17, 2009

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Recommended wine for today’s entry: Bonterra Vineyards’ Rose – this is a perfect, light, sipping wine – and it’s organic, too. The label describes it aptly: “… dry Rose crafted from certified organic grapes offers refreshing aromas and flavors of strawberry and raspberry with crisp acidity and a delicate disposition.” I shared a bottle with my friend Beth the other night and, as neither of us are sweet wine aficionados, we were both very pleased with its dryness.

Have you ever met a famous person? I can’t say that I’ve ever like, you know, hung out with any famous people, but I have had a few extended conversations with some pretty well-known celebrities. Today, I’ll tell you about how I wowed Wayne Rogers, you know – Trapper John of M*A*S*H fame.

I was a senior in college and my friend Katie and I were at the pub celebrating it being Friday or Tuesday or sunny or something. (So now you know that this was a really long time ago because there was actually a pub in the student center.) Anyway, a friend of ours mentioned that his dad was good friends with Wayne Rogers.

Being the sweet little co-eds that we were, we called him a liar and probably made him buy our beer.

A few days later, he called to say that Wayne was coming to his parents’ house and that we were invited to dinner. Whoa! Now we were starting to believe him. He said that we could bring two of our other roommates, but to make sure that we all behaved ourselves. We promised that we would. And he believed it. Obviously, he had learned nothing from his four years in college.

So we all got dressed up in our finery and headed to one of the towns just outside of Nashville. For the duration of the 40-minute drive, Katie and I reminded the other roommates – they were only juniors – of the need for absolute decorum at this party. I remember telling Sandy, “that means no shimmying” (something at which she excelled) and “No belching, cussing or especially no vomiting.” I believe I droned on the whole ride.

It was a small party, maybe about 10-15 people, and everyone was very well-dressed, very cordial, very Southern and very proper. We shook hands with our hosts, thanked them for having us, and immediately bellied up to the bar.

Here is a formula I learned in Algebra II: college students + open bar = ugly.

Actually, yes, we may have had a wee bit too much to drink, but it was one of the other guests, a man of about … 45 or 50 who caused all the commotion. Actually, I don’t know how old he was. When you’re 21, a guy can be 35 or 75 … it was all OLD.

Anyway, this guy, hmmm… how shall I put it … took an apparent liking to me that started out as pleasant chit-chat in the buffet line (that’s fine) and progressed to him refilling my wine (a little too often, but no harm, no foul) then escalated to a promise of a job in advertising (my chosen field, granted, but starting to be creepy).

And then, well, then the old guy literally started chasing me around the dining room table.

 Really. I think we did at least three laps.

 Then Wayne Rogers, as if on cue, came in from the living room and saved the day. He didn’t smack the guy down, but he calmly and gallantly diffused the situation by starting a conversation about oysters.

Thrilled that I had averted a potential disaster in the dining room, I engaged in the conversation in my ever-so-suave way, “I don’t like oysters,” I can still hear myself say. “They feel like a big wad of snot going down my throat.” (Huh. And I warned Sandy not to shimmy.)

 But Wayne laughed and said, “You’ve obviously never had Oysters Rockefeller. If I make some, will you try them?” Of course I said yes, then we went to ask permission from our hostess (who by this time probably wished she could douse the college kids with gasoline and swing the candelabra at the whole mess of us).

 And you know what? Even though I hated spinach, hated oysters and nearly got accosted by a dirty old man, it was one of the highlights of my young life.

 I’m sure he doesn’t remember the event, but I remain exceedingly grateful to Wayne. And I agree with his assessment of the bailout, too!

 So not only did I gallop in circles in the dining room and equate one of the hostess’ culinary offerings to snot, then I believe we totally trashed their kitchen and left the mess.

 Lucky I warned the juniors to be on their best behavior.


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