(Courtesy of Waterways Magazine)

Jenny wondered if anyone still bothered to read the Craigslist “Missed Connections” section. It seemed antiquated to her, but it was worth a shot. There had to be better technological options to determine how to connect with someone who she met briefly at the William Chris Vineyard last Saturday. Unfortunately, Jenny may have been the only Austinite that was technologically challenged.

She laughed at the audacity of the posting in the first place. 

“We met briefly when you gallantly jumped behind the counter to fill my empty glass. You were thrown out just as you were about to fill yours. Maybe we could open a fresh bottle in a neutral setting where you won’t get kicked out?”

Jenny didn’t recognize herself anymore. Pining away at the vision of some rugged do-gooder was clearly due to one too many Match dates gone awry, coupled with her parents’ awful attempts at Matchmaking. With the holidays quickly approaching, it would be nice to have some arm candy to make the rounds of all of the holiday parties. She didn’t need the Hallmark Channel beating home how the holidays are the loneliest time of the year.

It was more than that. He radiated warmth and a gentle, but mischievous nature that sparked something deep inside. The superhero who rescued a damsel in distress at a winetasting with an empty glass and a host that disappeared into the ether.

Jenny admired the chivalrous approach and the bashful gallantry as he filled her glass and said, “It’s still too warm in these parts, and too nice a day to be parched.”

Before she could respond with something witty, the wine host returned to find the knight in shining armor pouring significantly more than the allotted 3 ounce pours. He was escorted out before he ever got to try the wine.

Like a stray breeze, he dazzled her briefly and disappeared.

Nothing ventured; nothing gained. 

Jenny posted the missed connection and decided she would keep it to herself. No reason to incite her friend’s concerns about stalking strangers and inviting trouble. As it was, she had a party to prepare for this evening. The Ferguson’s had a tradition of hosting the earliest Christmas party every year, the first weekend after Thanksgiving.

The Fergusons went all out with their holiday party and made sure that each year had a specialty drink which could not be repeated at a future party. Their disappointment was palpable when Jenny responded that she would indeed be arriving solo. 

Brenda Ferguson immediately consulted her Facebook page for a roster of potential last-minute escorts for Jenny, who politely declined. This was going to be her special present for Jenny for the holidays. Most of the potential suitors seemed better suited for mugshots. Brenda vouched for every one of them as to having “tremendous personalities.”

The more Jenny thought about it, the more she thought about staying home and drinking the bottle of wine she got from the winery and watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” by herself.

The wine!

In the hazy aftermath of her handsome bartender being led away, she never picked up the bottles of wine she was planning on bringing for a hostess gift and the Secret Santa!

Now she was forced to leave early and stop at Total Wine to pick up the bottles she forgot. Rushing to get ready was not part of the plan. 

She checked herself in the mirror once more before she left. Despite the frenzied rush, she admitted she looked great. Her friend’s and colleagues’ protestations to the contrary, she most certainly did not need a date, nor a man to complete her. The company would be nice, however. She blew her lip out in a pout and then smiled at the reflection as she ran downstairs to the waiting Uber.

Jenny briskly covered the aisles in Total Wine. Something sparkling and festive would be perfect for the Fergusons, and a bottle of the chardonnay from the winery would make a great Secret Santa gift.

As she turned the corner in her haste, she ran smack into another patron and sent his bottle tumbling to the floor. It shattered and sprayed them both.

Horrified, she looked up to apologize.

It was him!

Her gallant bartender.

Her knight in shining armor who was about to start rusting thanks to the shattered bottle. 

Before Jenny could say anything, the stranger looked at her with instant recognition.

“I’m starting to think you just don’t want me to have a glass of this wine!” he teased easily. 

Jenny blushed; his warm smile put her at ease.

“Oh, you didn’t think I would remember you? I’ve been racking my brain trying to figure out how to get in touch with the brief vision of loveliness who got me kicked out of the winery. I figure at the very least you owed me a glass of wine for getting tossed. After this, I think it’s a whole bottle!”

Jenny was emboldened by his charm and her dance with serendipity.

“I have a much better idea. How about joining me at a little holiday get together tonight. Wine included, and I promise you won’t get thrown out!”

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