In my 72 years, I've made a few mistakes. Who hasn't? However, there are two that stand out in memory--ones where I wanted the floor to open up and swallow me.
When we lived in the suburbs of Denver thirty-plus years ago, I had a friend named Carol. She had been a writer for a newspaper and was now home raising kids. We enjoyed each other's company and one day Carol introduced me to a friend of hers (name now lost in the mists of time). The friend and I had lunch a couple times and went on a few outings together. Then this friend-of-a-friend invited Andy and me to dinner at her home. So we're sitting around the table chatting away and got on the subject of newspaper food sections (back when people didn't get all their news from the iPhone). I commented that the section of the Denver Post devoted to food wasn't that great and that their idea of a gourmet entrée was Lipton's dry onion soup mix sprinkled over a pot roast. When she went silent, I realized that I had made the mother of all faux pas. After my red-faced apologies, we enjoyed somewhat awkward conversation over what turned out to be a rather delicious pot roast and never crossed paths again.
Fast forward a few decades. I was Director of Development for an early childhood intervention agency near Williamsburg, VA. Their major annual fundraising event was a huge auction - both silent and live - with items donated by the community. My task was to produce a catalogue to be inserted in the local newspaper. I was writing clever descriptions for each of about 300 items, when I came to a donation that included a series of ready-to-serve meals from a catering company. One included grilled chicken, but in my haste, I mistakenly typed a word that I must have typed hundreds of times in that particular job. Although the book had been proofed by me and others, no one caught the error. Feeling quite pleased that I had completed this enormous task and sent it to the printer, the roof caved in when one of our board members called me and dryly remarked, "I've always wanted to grill my husband, but never my children." She laughed uproariously, but I was shaking because the next step was to immediately confess the error to my judgmental, overbearing boss. It did not go well, but at that point there was no going back.
The day of the auction, my daughter Alison, who had driven from Philadelphia, unexpectedly showed up at our door, saying, "I'm here for the grilled children." She too, laughed uproariously, but I was still dying inside. However, during the live auction, an apology was made for the typo, eliciting only a titter from the audience. I somehow kept the job, but my chagrin lingered for a while!
I'm Chris Barabasz, retired from a 35-year career managing communications for health care development (that's fundraising for you civilians). I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and freelance writer. My husband Andy and I moved from Delaware to Texas to be closer to our daughters and three adorable grandchildren.