Maurice Sendak would have been proud. The Walnut Creek Library honored him posthumously with a special tribute at its fourth annual "Authors Under the Stars" fundraiser last weekend. And it was quite the rumpus.
I've been a fan of Sendak's book "Where the Wild Things Are" since my kids were little. Hard to believe it was published in 1963 and it's still popular today, having sold nearly 20 million copies worldwide. So when I was invited to participate in the library gala, along with 19 other local authors, it was an offer I couldn't refuse. Proceeds would go to the Walnut Creek Library Foundation for new books and materials.
Plus, my husband and I would get a free dinner.
About 15 minutes before we were to leave for the event, my husband decided it was time to get dressed. Men.
"So what do I wear to this thing?" he asked, fresh from the shower and wrapped in a towel.
"It's black-tie- ."
"Black tie! I don't have anything to wear to a black-tie event!"
"-optional," I said, finishing my sentence. "Calm down. You can just wear your suit."
"Do I even have a suit?" he asked, rifling through his closet, a storage warehouse filled with old tax returns, useless photographic equipment, aging sports stuff, worn-out shoes and a dozen Hawaiian shirts.
"I don't see a suit!" he called from the recesses of his closet.
"Let me look," I said, fully aware of his disability -- being unable to see what's right in front of him. I had a feeling this was really an attempt to avoid the event.
"Here are your pants," I said, handing them over to him in less than two seconds. "And here's your shirt."
"Well, I still can't find my jacket," he said, gnashing his terrible teeth and rolling his terrible eyes.
It was true. The jacket was nowhere to be found. Still, there was no way he's was getting out of this. "You don't need a jacket. Just wear a tie and pretend you took your jacket off when you arrived."
"Do I have to tuck my shirt in?" he asked.
Once I had him in the car, we sailed over to the library and headed upstairs for the reception. While sipping too much wine, we perused the silent auction. We couldn't afford the Hawaiian vacation home, the iPad mini, the Italian cooking classes, or golf at Diablo Country Club, but we finally found something that fit our budget: Four tickets to Disneyland!
"Can we bid on them?" I asked my husband.
I thought I saw him nod, so I signed us up. Giddy with silent auction fever, I bid on everything that had the word "Disney" in it, including a weeklong vacation rental in Orlando.
"You did what?" he said when I told him. Frantic we might win, he tried to scratch out my signatures, but it was too late. Luckily for him, most of the items we bid on went to someone else. Except the Disney tickets! Yippee!
Now all we have to do is pay for the hotel, airfare, food, souvenirs and extra tickets for the remaining family members. Because thanks to Mr. Sendak, we're taking our Wild Things to the Happiest Place on Earth!
Contact Penny Warner at www.pennywarner.com.