What I like best about Race Weekend is figuring out how to avoid it while entertaining two Hollywood VIP house guests.
I had invited former student Duane Poole, award-winning movie and TV script writer, to attend my Sept. 22 Celebration of Life in Richland. Not a workable date for Duane, but he was closer than Hollywood.
"I'm already in Seattle (Whidbey Island, actually) working at this retreat on the new show. Very exciting ... I have to say! Busy with a new movie and some stage pieces."
He planned to celebrate my birthday early by driving to Richland on race day, treating me to an early dinner, and driving back the same day. Much too tiring for a guy old enough to be an early '60s graduate of Kennewick High.
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Furthermore, he was bringing his partner, Frank Bonaventre, pastry chef for Wolfgang Puck. Frank created 5,000 chocolate Oscars sprinkled with 25 pounds of gold dust for the Oscar banquet.
Desperate, I called a friend with a bigger house who offered her "Tunisian room with private bath" -- la de da. Three blocks from the Columbia River north of town, her house is far from the constant ugly whine of hydroplane motors.
Duane replied, "We may indeed take her up on her generous offer, given that every motel/hotel we've tried is booked solid. What would you think about asking her to join us for dinner Friday?"
My delighted friend made dinner reservations at Tagaris Winery and told their chef who was coming, having heard horror stories about a restaurant that ran out of food during the noisiest, hottest, most crowded weekend of summer.
-- LAUREL PIIPPO, Richland