I'm sorry you envy "wife of" and Mr. Ambassador because we've been to five cities in a month. Admittedly our life seems richer than yours, but traveling the way we do has some low moments. When you spend only a brief time in each city it's like interrupting a conversation on a subject you know nothing about.
As far as I can judge, we travel because Mr. Ambassador has to make a speech, meet the governor, throw a ball or drop a puck. For reasons of state he occasionally has to combine the sports event with the speeches, and we both find this so nerve-racking that we forget about Sonny Goldstone's file.
Unlike Mr. Ambassador and "wife of," Sonny, the Social Asset and Gilded Bachelor, knows how to travel. Hotels are important to Sonny. He says, "There's noth into the Beverly Hills in Los Angeles after putting a big deal together." His personal file contains lists of the best hotels, the best restaurants and members of the Forbes Four Hundred in every major city. (Those are the 400 richest people in the United States, Beverly.)
He also updates his file with the lat he'll be in the know when he hits Chicago, Los Angeles or Atlanta. But even though Sonny is generous about sharing his file, we've never been able to take advantage of it.
When we returned from Dallas, Sonny asked, "Did you stay at the Mansion on Turtle Creek, as I told you?"
"We stayed at the Hilton," I replied. "The Mansion was all filled up. Anyway, the Hilton was cheaper -- only $52 a night, for a double."
"I chalk that up as a loss for your country," Sonny said. "What sort of impression can an ambassador make in Dallas by staying at a cheap hotel? What did Trammell Crowe say when you told him where you were staying?" (I think, Beverly, that Trammell Crowe is a person on the Forbes list.)
"He didn't say anything," I replied, "because we never called him up."
"I can see why you went to New Orleans," Sonny said. "Nobody on the Forbes list lives there. Relieves the pressure on Mr. Ambassador, I guess. Where did you stay?"
"A nice little place in the French Quarter. We even had a suite with a fruit basket." I hoped that would mollify him.
"When I go to New Orleans," Sonny said, "I always stay at the Royal Pontchartrain. Just because it's not in the French Quarter, which, of course, is too touristy. In any case, hotels in New Orleans aren't as important as restaurants. Did you eat at Moscas?"
"No, we ate in our hotel room because we didn't have time because of the speeches."
Sonny was horrified.
"Nobody eats in his hotel room in New Orleans, even if he has a free fruit basket. To whom did he speak?"
"It was Canada Night at the World's Fair," I said, "and there was an audience of 3,000 waiting for the dancers to come on. Mr. Ambassador had to speak before the show."
"I hope he didn't share any heavy political thoughts with a group waiting for a little light entertainment."
"He mentioned acid rain," I said, a little weakly. "But he only spoke for five minutes, and I don't think the microphone was working."
"Be thankful for that," Sonny concluded. "When you went to Chicago, did you call on the Pritzkers?"
"Who are the Pritzkers?"
Sonny was beside himself. "Five hundred million dollars each on the Forbes list. Probably more. Real estate, timber, hotels. Chicago's a money town. Why on earth would anyone go there unless it was to make a deal." Then Sonny had a thought. "I also gave you Saul Bellow's number in case Mr. Ambassador's business was cultural."
"We didn't call anybody," I said, "because Mr. Ambassador spent most of his time in the dugout waiting to throw the ball. It was the opening game of the season between the Chicago Cubs and the Montreal Expos. They are baseball teams," I added.
Sonny said, "I know that. What happened?"
"First we listened to the two national anthems, then the mayor spoke, then they called out the names of the ballplayers and finally they mentioned Mr. Ambassador's name. And then it started to rain. Everybody waited for an hour, but it rained so hard they had to cancel the game. Mr. Ambassador never got to throw out the ball. But he caught a cold."
"That's too bad," Sonny sympathized.
"No, it isn't," I said. "I remember what happened in San Francisco. Mr. Ambassador threw the ball at the opening game of the San Francisco Giants and the Expos and it bounced before t reached the plate. No," I added, before Sonny could ask the question, "we didn't call Gordon Getty."
"At least," Sonny said, "you must have done some touring. Did you drive to Big Sur?"
"Halfway," I said. "But we had to turn back because it was too foggy to see the road."
"Where did you go after that?"
"The airport. It was the only place where there wasn't any fog and we had to get back to Washington because Mr. Ambassador had to drop the puck. The Edmonton Oilers and the Capitals were having an opening game. They're hockey teams."
Sonny said, "I know that. Did everything go well?"
"He dropped it on his shoe," I replied. "But they gave him a second chance."
Don't get me wrong, Beverly, our trips are not limited to airport roads, sports stadiums and convention hotels. There's generally a reception at the top of the tallest building. I don't know why it is, but locals seem proudest of the view that is the most remote from their city.
There's also the art gallery reception, but the place where they hang the pictures is roped off. Cocktails and canap,es can ruin the canvases. And then there's the obligatory tour of where the rich people live. My knowledge of the Forbes 400 is limited to staring at their hedges from the road.
"You can't really see the house from here," says our well-meaning guide, "but it cost five million and who knows how much has gone into it."
I do know one thing, Beverly. While we're staring from the outside, Sonny Goldstone's inside, closing a deal.
Your best friend,