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28th January
written by Mombo#9

We are staying at the O. Henry Hotel. That’s correct. A hotel dedicated to the writer who penned “The Gift of the Magi.” There is much to be said for ambience and charm. My daughter is less impressed with the high teas at 4:00 p.m. each day and the text of the touching story printed in the Great Room off the lobby than the proximity of O. Henry in relationship to the arena and the official hotel.

“Why aren’t we staying at the Sheraton?” she queried as we drove past the mall across the street from the main hotel that broadcasts its giant red “S” into the night as if this is really Metropolis and not Greensboro.

“Because we need to have a cultural experience. We need to share what is offered from our Southern neighbors.”

“It’s because it’s a writer isn’t it? It would be the same if it were called The Hemingway or The T.S. Eliot, wouldn’t it?”

I pause for a moment to John Lennon the idea, and then shake my head to clear it.

“It is because we need to go to an area and embrace what they value and what they hold dear.”

My daughter eyes the 1920s taxicab sitting at the curb of the hotel. “Will they charge me a 1925 price to take that to the Coliseum?”

We did venture to the Sheraton for my daughter to get her credential, necessary for one who is attending midnight meetings and voting for the international selections. While she was being photographed for the credential, I wandered the two-acre lobby and see Charlie White and Rockne Brubaker and a sea of current Team USA jackets, as well as several fine restaurants and five bars.

She comes back and shows me her picture, “Probably the worse one so far. I look like a deer in the headlights. How did I get my eyes this round? Did you see anybody?”

“No.” I lie. “Let’s go back to our hotel and have some tea.” She didn’t answer, but I sensed an eye roll behind my back.

Once seated and waiting for our porcelain pot, she picks us a brochure and reads. “Oh I get it. They had you at, ‘The O. Henry Hotel, like the Roman god Janus, faces both forward and backward.”‘ She laughs out loud.

Now at 8:00 in the morning, I munch on homemade breakfast rolls and sip fresh pressed coffee as she sleeps away on the “luxurious comfort of the Magi Bed” and one for the four “sumptuous Egyptian combed-cotton pillows” and snuggles in the “Italian-woven sheets and pillowcases” (all available for purchase) and I smile.

Yes my sweet, sleep on.

When you wake you can wander the coffee shop sans makeup or coiffed hair, comfortable in the knowledge that you will not see anyone you know.


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