Since I officially became old, a few years ago, my sisters and I meet in Columbus on Friday nights with the rest of the family joining us on Saturday. The group includes two by-birth sisters and one by-choice sister. A birther and the choicer have a convention that coincides with my aging, so they have warm the place up for me and the other sister who lives much closer to the right coast.

Last year coaster sister found a really good deal for the hotel room on a third-party web site. Unfortunately, the deal was so good, the news was kept from the hotel. When I arrived, Coaster Sis was at the front desk with Birth Sis and Choice Sis (the later two were still checked in from the convention). There was no record of Coasters reservation although she had a printed confirmation in hand.

Soon, I had a similar problem. I didn’t have a print-out, but did have my computer that I put on the check-in counter to show my confirmation. Somehow the very friendly, efficient, and intelligent person at the desk eventually found out that despite what our reservations said in print, they were at another hotel a block away.

The hotel earned our eternal commitment by supplying us rooms at no charge. If I recall, the person who checked us in was concerned that we would get our money back from the third-party company (we did, with minimal resistance).

I, at least, was not going to rely on a unknown source and booked directly through the hotels web site. The senior rate for a suite was just a few dollars more than a regular room. Hoping that Son and Husband would join me/us on Saturday I had booked the suite. After all, it was my birthday!

While booking the room, however, I noticed the hotel would charge more than I would have liked to park my vehicle in their parking garage. I opted for a ride from a girlfriend. That would leave the “good” vehicle for Husband and Son to come on Saturday.

At one quick stop before the hotel, I realized that I didn’t have my cell phone. Worse than that, I didn’t have my wallet that had my ID and credit card. (I had rushed home from errands to change pants and pack. I had emptied my pants pockets in the bathroom and never went back after I repanted.)

Upon arrival at the inn’s front desk, I announced to the clerk, “Well, I caused you headaches last year and I guess I’m going to do it again this year!”

The clerk needed to check with her manager. If all else failed, I figured a sis could float me a loan and I would write them a check or repay them. A check! At least I had something with my address on it.

Shown the checkbook with the same address and supplying part of my credit card number was the magic combination to get me in my room.

As long as I was asking and getting favors, I asked if it would be all right if I played the baby grand piano in the hotel lobby later that evening. (I knew from last year that there was a Do Not Touch sign on the lid.) I was granted permission with an explanation that means usually kids who like to pound the keys.

Later that evening, I took advantage of the instrument. I started with a little Cole Porter, but, I began the Beguine In the Still of the Night. It was Just One of Those Things. Despite being Too Darn Hot, I was ready for Christmas music.

My sisters must have felt the same way. I played The Christmas Song; before the chestnuts were roasting over that open fire, one of them approached with a plastic cup, placed it on the piano lid then stuffed a dollar bill into it (without a brandy snifter, any port in a storm would do. Or Merlot or Diet Coke or…). The other two soon followed suit.

Maybe this was a suggestion for how to pay for the room?