by Dawn DeBraal
Alma opened the door with a little bump of her hip. Things smelled a little musty. She went through the cottage, opening the windows, grabbing the furniture polish and a rag. After vacuuming, the place started to smell better. She and her girlfriends were doing a getaway weekend from their husbands. It had been a while since she’d been here. They’d outgrown the place after the kids left for college. Standing there now, nostalgia filled her heart. Putting a few bottles of wine in the refrigerator, Alma started to mix cream cheese and a can of soup for a dip, then moved on to slicing celery and carrot sticks. She was ready when the girls arrived. Everyone had a bottle of wine in one hand and hors d’oeuvres in the other. Several board games came out on the card tables: Life, Monopoly, Cribbage, and Scrabble. Oh, the laughter of old friends getting together. Someone said, let’s open the wine!
Alma went to the silverware drawer, where she searched for a corkscrew. There was none to be found. Everyone moaned when they realized every bottle of wine they’d brought to the party had a cork!
Stella said she’d seen a video showing how if they took a lighter and heated the neck of the bottle all the way around for about a minute, the cork would pop out. No one had a lighter; they’d all given up smoking years ago. Renee said she saw a person who put a screw in the cork and used a fork to pry it out, but no one had a screw in their purse. No tools, no screwdriver. Alma remembered someone telling her if you put the bottom of the wine bottle in your tennis shoe and pounded it on the wall the cork will come out. The girls were giggling so hard that they didn’t need wine any longer to have fun. Alma took her shoe off, planting the first bottle of wine at the heel. She struck the bottom of the shoe on the wall. Nothing happened. Everyone laughed. Alma struck the shoe over and over. The cork started to unseat itself. “It’s working!” The ladies said in awe. With each blow, the cork came out a little further. The chatter grew more excited. The cork reached the point where it could be twisted out of the bottle. Everyone cheered. The wine started to pour freely. The ladies applauded, and they all took off a shoe and grabbed a bottle and began “stomping” on the walls of the cottage. It reminded Alma of the Native American drumming classes she’d taken at the YMCA last year. Games started to be played and the laughter caused by not having a corkscrew created one of the better parties Alma had ever had at the cottage. They would not forget this party for a long time.