It was not as if Debra Winger really wanted to be selling Pearl Beer yesterday at her Uncle Howard's liquor store at the corner of 25th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW . . .
But there are some things you'll do only for your family.
Now specifically this meant standing behind the counter, drawing in a sketchbook and chatting with the few dozen people who strolled into the store, perhaps prompted by the ad Uncle Howard Felder had run in the newspaper last week, or maybe just attracted by the hand-lettered cardboard sign he had hung in the door:
I'll be here on August 17 at 1-2 p.m. Debra Winger *Star Of* Urban Cowboy!
In point of fact, Ms. Winger, who is young enough to get carded in a bar and old enough to realize that, unlike her, most of her cousins have been married off, came to town this weekend for the wedding of Uncle Howard's daughter Beth. Uncle Howard thought it would be appropriate to get the star of the family into the shop, Howard's Liquor Store.
There are some things you'll do only for your family . . .
She sketches people as they come in the store. She is particularly fond of ties. "Can you get a tie for this picture?" she asks a man who is about to plunk down $3.20 for a six-pack of Pearl. Six'll getcha a free can compliments of the local distributors, who have a photographer out to record the event. "Not big on ties, huh? How about family ties? This is all my family . . ."
And indeed Ruth and Robert Winger (her parents), Howard and Barbra Felder (uncle and aunt), Emanuel and Theresa Felder (grandparents), Susan Felder (cousin), Jodi Winger (niece) and Jill Felder (English sheep dog, with purple ribbons in her ears in honor of the wedding) are all roaming around the shop, which at this very moment is being graced with the sound of country & western music, and the dealings of a fellow from the Hecht Co. who would like Ms. Winger to promote her upcoming film, "Cannery Row," at the Hecht Co., and an autograph request from a Xerox salesman who's wearing a beige tropical suit that's absolutely identical to beige tropical suits worn by other Xerox salesmen, and the flash of a Kodachrome being snapped by an enormously tall man.
"Can I sell a product?" she says, holding a stapler up next to the ringlets of brown curls and eyes that are as sparkly and wide-open as the day outside.
A fellow comes in with a painter's cap on.
"Sort of looks like a cross between a coffeepot and a hat," she says.
Now she's asking the customers for their autographs:
"Laura, can I have your autograph?"
And sketching again, this time the suit of a patron:
"Vince, would you just sign under the double-knit fabric here."
It's just a few squiggles really: lines on paper and an imagination that goes right out the door and off a long way into a big blue breezy sky.
Outside, the man from Pearl Beer says, "I really can't believe Debra Winger would do this."
Well, there are some things you'll do only for your family.