Header photo by William Warby
Today’s guest post comes from Plain Jane, who told this story in the Trail Baboon comments a few days ago. With the holiday party season just past, it is a cautionary tale about knowing your limits and keeping tabs on your property.
It was shortly before Christmas, and I had just separated from wasband a few months before; I was in a blue funk. A man I had absolutely no interest in dating had invited me to the NCO Club at Fort Snelling for a little Christmas cheer, and I had accepted his invitation because I couldn’t bring myself to say no.
That same day was our company’s Christmas party, held at the now defunct Minnesota Club, a rather posh establishment next door to the Ordway. I had two gin and tonics at the party, enough to make me completely oblivious to time and place – and apparently everything else as well. I had reasoned that having a couple of stiff drinks would make my upcoming date more bearable. As it turned out, I forgot all about him, and didn’t show up for out date.
Sometime later that evening, I became aware that I was dancing at the Smuggler’s Inn. I had no recollection of how I had gotten there, but there I was with a bunch of my coworkers. When I announced that I should probably go home, my firm’s office manager said “Margaret here’s your coat,” and handed me a short, blond mink coat. I said “Martin, that’s not my coat,” to which he responded “well, I’ve been sitting here watching it for you all night.” The Smuggler’s Inn wouldn’t let you check a fur coat because they didn’t want to be responsible for it, so Martin had been watching it while I danced. I left Smuggler’s, without a coat, leaving the fancy mink on my chair.
One of my coworkers offered to drive me home, but the problem was that my house keys were in the pocket of my coat – a dark, long muskrat bought at a Goodwill store on Lake Street – so I had to spend the night at her house.
The following morning I wondered who would know what had transpired the night before. Mary, an older secretary in our tax department, seemed like a good bet, so I called her. Mary told that when the official office party was over, a bunch of us had decided to continue partying at Smuggler’s. I had donned the short, blond mink coat from the unattended coat rack. She had protested that that was not my coat, but I had assured her that it was, that I had two fur coats. I seemed perfectly normal, she said, so she believed me.
At this point I realized that I had left The Minnesota Club wearing a mink coat that didn’t belong to me. I immediately called the club to ask if my coat was there, to which they responded “are you the woman whose $5,000 mink coat was stolen last night?”. “And no,” they added, “it hadn’t been returned.”
Oh lord, can you imagine how I felt at this point? I had left a $5,000 mink coat – that had been reported stolen to the police – slung over the back of a chair at Smuggler’s Inn.
I was lucky enough that the coat was still there when they opened a little later that morning. I returned it to The Minnesota Club and retrieved my own $25.00 muskrat which was still hanging where I had left it.
I was very lucky that this story had a happy ending, but I can assure you I learned a lesson about my capacity for handling hard liquor.
What innocent error might have put you in jail?