The Grand Balloon

OK, so last night I had a "boys night" and went to a whiskey tasting in downtown DC. Just me, a room full of men and Johnnie Walker. Sounds like a good time, right?
By the end of the night I was almost in stitches, I was laughing so hard.

When I was about 7 years old, I made my parents take me to this seminar way out in Virginia because they said they were giving away Grand Pianos. I played the guitar, but I wanted a piano so badly I could taste it and if someone was willing to give one to me, no questions asked, I was prepared to collect, by any means necessary. So off we went to claim my baby grand and bless my parents for not bursting my bubble right then and there. Even though it didn't occur to me to contemplate how we would get this massive piano back to DC in our Volvo. Details, details... I was already envisioning myself in the living room like a little black Mozartette with my eyes closed and my fingers running passionately over the ebony and ivory keys. A dramatic inhale with every momentous note.

So we get out to Whateversville, Wherever and I'm totally confused because I don't see a grand piano in sight. Not one. We are greeted by a staff member of whatever seminar we were attending and she explains that the lecture will begin in 10 minutes and we were welcome to take a seat until showtime. My parents gave each other knowing looks, while I was growing more and more alarmed. This was not part of the deal. All I wanted was to pick up my damn piano and roll out. So we took our seats and the video started.

Two and a half hours later, we sat there still as the lights came up, the presenters eager for our response. This was a chance of a lifetime, they said. Purchasing a trailer/camper was the way to go! Just think, family vacations riding across country with all the comforts of home. My little face was as red as it was going to get, I was so frustrated. What about my grand piano???

So I piped up. "Where's the piano you promised??"

"Oh you'll get that when you leave, darlin'"

So out we rode, on the way back to DC. When we exited the parking lot, we stopped at a little vestibule with a man inside. He handed my father a large box with a small synthesizer piano inside. The synthesizer was made by a company called "Grand". It was my first lesson in Bamboozle 101.
But here I was again. I'd worked my way up to Bamboozled 401, the senior course that required the completion of 101,201, and 301 before you could enroll. This time, the grand piano at the end of the night was a shot of Johnnie Walker Blue. I sat through the spiel and watched the romanticized videos long enough to make you book a ticket to Edinburgh and be done with it. All for what? A snifter of Blue Label and two rowdy boys on either side of me. I started to chuckle when I realized that I was back in Whateversville, Wherever and I was holding my baby grand in a glass.

Nothing for nothing, my pops would say.

Though I did find that I liked Green Label more than Black and I'd definitely pick up a bottle the next time I decided on steak frites for dinner (recipe and photos to follow). I'm sure it would pair wonderfully with haggis, but I'm just not there yet.

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