Wine Hour at Brewery Gulch Inn last night was a romantic affair. As the innkeeper on duty, I was busy every single moment, going back and forth between the kitchen and foyer to help the attendant pour wine and set up the dinner buffet, stopping to answer guests’ questions, turning around every which way at my desk to sort through what seemed to be a hundred distinct pieces of paperwork, picking up the ever-ringing phone to answer reservation inquiries, and constantly strolling over to the fireplace to jab the smoking logs into a decent blaze. But for all that, it was too lovely an evening to go at all crazy. The guests chatted quietly over little glass lamps burning brightly on the tables, the fire was cozy, and food and wine found its way into guests’ hands around the myriad candles lighting the service area. Most of our lights were off, and more candles glimmered around the rest of the foyer. Every movement and word seemed softened in the flickering glow. The food itself, delicious as it always is, seemed somehow better for the ambience.
It was such a peaceful picture of rest and enjoyment.
Even the owner, harried as he was with keeping constant watch over the generator and frequently checking to see if the power had been restored after the big storm, seemed affected by the graceful mood of the candles. Instead of being peevish, as he most certainly had a right to be, deprived as he had been of sleep throughout a long night and day of running an inn on the fragile strength of a back-up generator, he was generous and friendly as he talked with guests softly illuminated in the darkness.
And when PG&E called to let us know that power might not be restored until the following evening, even that news was not immune to the effect of the candles. As I hung up the phone, they continued to flicker gently, seeming to say, “Don’t worry. Things will work out. Now sit here with us and enjoy this moment of quiet.”