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Packing, an Open Bar and a Fashion Show

IF you ever plan on attending the Western Design Conference in Jackson, Wyoming you might want to take pants.

The Western Design Conference is an art/fashion show featuring wearable art, jewelry, furniture and architecture, with artists coming from all over the United States. This event takes place in Jackson, Wyoming.

You might think the pants advice is ridiculous and unnecessary. Please consider that some people need to learn the hard way. I know a person like that. Some of you might know him also. It was Elaine's husband. You might think that Elaine's husband is lacking in some intelligence, but keep in mind it was Elaine who married him. Not only did she marry him, Elaine stayed for forty years. OK, you have me, I'm talking about me, Monner.

During my construction career, I spent over twenty five years commuting weekly to construction sites across the United States. I packed and unpacked hundreds of times over the years. I have always tried to pack as light as possible.

I'm not the type that needs expensive or even nice luggage. I have packed in backpacks, athletic bags and even plastic trash bags.

Packing for a week meant packing twelve socks, six shirts, two pairs of pants (2-3 days for each pair), 0-6 pairs of underwear (Underwear is a luxury on construction sites, they either keep you warm or keep you sweat free. At least half the year they serve no purpose. Not to mention, underwear should never be seen on a construction site.), a toothbrush and paste.

Combs/hairbrushes are not necessary. No one looks at your hair on construction sites, if they do, ask them to stop.

As many of you know Elaine was included as a textile artist at the Western Design Conference. Elaine invited me along. Tuesday was our packing the truck, packing our luggage, and travel day.

I felt so thorough packing. Fourteen socks, seven shirts, toothbrush and paste, gym shorts for sleeping, Ipod and charger (Yes, I said Ipod not Ipad) and a hairbrush. (I guess they look at your hair in Jackson. With all the wind in Wyoming, I didn't think it mattered.)

Did you catch that I might have forgotten to pack a couple things? About fours hours outside of Jackson, I realized what I had done. I didn't feel it was a good time to share my realization with Elaine.

After all, I was wearing pants. Comfortable pants. They may have been a little frayed and faded, OK, they were frayed and faded. Oh yeah, and they were shorts, The pants covered what needed to be covered. I like them.

I suggested Elaine use the internet to find pant stores in Jackson. We found that Jackson has plenty of pant stores, just none that I shop at. I typically shop at the clearance racks at the Red Circle Store and even sometimes at the Wally World store. My favorite clothes are the shirts I get from construction contractors that advertise their companies by putting the company name on the shirt. Those companies usually give me baseball caps also. I take them home and keep them for a while and eventually throw them away.

It seems the residents of Jackson do not want a Red Circle Store or Wally World. Strangely however, they do like the Blue Light Special store. If you do not know what the Blue Light special store is, ask your parents.

I had two options for pants in Jackson, the Blue Light Special store or pay more for pants than I paid for my first car. Hey, I've always thought blue lights were kind of pretty. I chose the Blue Light Special store.

Anyway, the Blue Light store had pants that I like. You know, short pants. However, they had short pants for really, really big people. It didn't matter though. Elaine informed me the fashion show was formal and I would be buying long pants.

My lesson didn't stop there. There was that situation with my cellphone. I seem to have lost it. Elaine would say I lost it, I would say I temporarily misplaced it. It seems I left my phone in the dressing room at the Blue Light Special store. It was safely being kept for five hours by store management. See, misplaced, not lost. Elaine complains I am on it too often. I'm going tell her I was resting my phone at the Blue Light Special store.

Wow, we aren't even at the fashion show yet. This might be a good time to take a break.

OK, that's long enough!

If you haven't been to Jackson, Wyoming, I will help you understand this place. I was looking at doing some construction work in Jackson more than thirty years ago. I was told by an architect from Jackson that, "The billionaires are pushing out the millionaires." Judging by the look of things today, I would guess the billionaires have just about finished the job.

Once at the event center, Elaine and I started setting up our area. I was working efficiently and diligently, Elaine not so much. Elaine was needed in the backroom of the event center with the fashion models and show organizers. At least that what she said she was doing, I can't really be sure of what was going on.

During one of the short stints while Elaine was actually helping me, she asked if I had a knife to cut open a box. It wasn't long after that I heard the words no one wants to hear, "Wow, this knife is really sharp!" I looked at Elaine's hand, and saw a very small scratch on her hand. Thank God!

Elaine told me she was going outside to the truck for a minute. I continued working. Shortly after Elaine left for outside I noticed a couple drops of blood on the floor. I started to panic for Elaine, but only for a minute. The blood was where I was working. I looked down and noticed my sock was bloody. Really bloody! I remembered I had bumped my leg against a metal rack. I needed a bandage.

I discreetly headed outside to find Elaine. She was talking to another vendor. I didn't want to alarm Elaine and her "friend." I waited, and waited and then I waited some more. Finally the friend left and I told Elaine, "Hey, I'm bleeding over here." Elaine went for bandages while I applied compression to my leg. Working as a team we cleaned up my leg; I changed socks and went back to work with no one the wiser.

Elaine was assigned six models for the fashion show. The models came from a pool of professional models and local Jackson dignitaries. Elaine's models were dignitaries and one handsome cowboy. (Not a phony, I just bought a hat, cowboy, but a (construction language) on his boots cowboy.) It should be said some of the dignitaries have been modeling this show for more than ten years.

Wednesday and Thursday were fashion show rehearsal days (along with setup). Thursday night was the big show.

Patrons pay $125 dollars per seat for the nights entertainment. The entertainment consisted of the fashion show, a silent auction, an exhibit sale, and five hours of open bar. The open bar featured local distilled liquors, beers and wines with a small selection of national beverages.

Elaine was buzzing with excitement. I was having a great time watching the crowd filter in. I saw every genre of human. Every kind of diamond studded cowboy boot, mink and leather coat, diamond jewelry so big and shiny, I wished I had my eclipse glasses. Do you get the picture?

Shortly after the doors opened, one of the dignitary models came to our booth. I watched as the model told Elaine how much she loved Elaine's collection. The model was talking loud and fast, moving quickly around the booth.

The model was hammered. Drooling hammered! Literally! As she was talking to Elaine, I watched Elaine wiping drool off her arm. Elaine was horrified. Me, I thought this had the makings of my greatest day ever. And to think, four hours and forty-five minutes more of free booze.

The doors had just opened, the fashion show would start in two hours, and one of the models was already (construction language)-faced.

Elaine is not me. She felt she needed to tell someone. Heck, I didn't need to tell anyone, I knew she was drunk, Elaine knew she was drunk. That's two people, how many people needed to know?

Elaine told another model about the situation. It spread like wildfire. It wasn't long before people were giving "Ol' Likes Booze" food and telling her she had better sober up. She did.

OK, I know alcoholism is nothing to laugh at. I don't know what this lady's issues are, her interaction with Elaine and I was nothing but funny.

God, I hate being PC. Just delete the previous paragraph.

The fashion show was a lifelong dream for Elaine. She received great applause, especially for the cowboy and his vest. (My idea.) I was so proud. I might have cried a little for her. OK, not a sobbing cry, but a pull down the sunglasses cry.

Elaine didn't win an award from the show, but she sold her pedestal piece 20 minutes after the show. Another vendor told her to raise her price on the piece. Elaine took her advice and the piece sold minutes later. Elaine might have been a little disappointed about not winning a ribbon, but I'm pretty excited about taking a photo of a piece that actually sold.

Our crazy lives!


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