As I went down my checklist for my book signing tomorrow, most of the items were “duh” components for an event. For example, at the top of my list was “books”, that’s like reminding a hot dog vendor to bring franks. I also needed to remind myself to bring my banners, my credit card machine, receipt books, and bookmarkers; tools of the trade for an inspiring author indeed. There are items on the list that I thought might be a good idea and there were other items that are there because I am 52 years old and would just plain forget them. Giveaways are on the list because of the afore mentioned reason and business cards because of the latter. I also need a tablecloth to spread over the garden variety folding tables that will be issued to each vendor; the ones that can be found in any school cafeteria, church social hall, or flea market. You know the kind with that one leg that doesn’t want to lock in place, the kind that you have to put a quarter under one of its slabs to balance it, the kind that has more rust than an old Civil War ironclad ship. My wife, in her infinite wisdom, tells me to go to the dollar store to pick up one. Me, in my infinite stupidity, can’t connect the two; she’s thinking practical and my mind is on the dining room table in the house that I grew up in. The tablecloth in our dining room did more than just protect my mom’s mahogany treasure from neckbone gravy, spaghetti sauce, or those non-palatable turnips that I played with for what seemed like hours thinking that they would somehow disappear. Our cloth was always seasonable and set the ambiance, not just for the meal, but for the holiday that was upon us. I recall my mom retrieving it from it’s resting place, inspecting it inch by inch like a forensic scientist, and then tossing it into the washer and turning the selector to the left; the delicate cycle, that was never used in our house of seven boys. When the final spin was done, she would carefully place it over the outside clothesline with the skill of a paratrooper folding his chute for the next jump. After soaking up the sun’s rays and the gentle Florida breeze for several hours, she would nimbly bring it inside and iron it. Her end product would have put Penn and Teller to shame as all the wrinkles had vanished and now the tablecloth had the presence of elegance, royalty, and grandeur. She cleared everything out of her way, including us kids, and with skill of a matador waving his red cape, she would then hoist the linen covering up towards that old chandelier, but never hitting it, and then as it fluttered down like a snowflake in Winter, it would lay in place and with just a slight adjustment, Christmas would begin. She was careful to remind us of the rules, as if we didn’t know, of the tablecloth; no toys, no drinks without coasters, no candy, cake, or crumbs. The cloth would remain until January 1 of the next year only to be stored in it’s resting place and for us boys to await it’s return. The tablecloth on my to-do list will be plastic, come in a package, will not be ironed, is probably hazard to my health, and will be discarded after use. Merry Christmas everyone!