A gin and tonic in hand, I watched as dozens of other guests swarmed the bar at one end of the gorgeous Sweetwater Restaurant in the Cobble Beach Golf Resort (pictured. Stay tuned for more on my fantastic February weekend in nearby Owen Sound, Ont.)
Suddenly, I caught sight of the groom amidst the swirl of beards, silk and cleavage. Eager to congratulate him with a man-hug and high-five, I set off in his direction.
I didn’t get far. You need both arms for a man-hug, you see, so I instinctively placed my beverage on a nearby table laden with coffee cups and saucers stacked four deep like a stout Mayan pyramid. But the arrangement was not quite as sturdy as Chichen Itza: The imperceptible contact between the foundation layer and my rock glass set off a chain reaction I will never forget.
It was like a miniature Las Vegas casino demolition: The top cups collapsed inward, knocking their neighbours from their perches and a creating a vortex of gleaming white china. I stared in horror for a millisecond or two, then lunged forward in an effort to…do what, exactly? Any attempt to halt the implosion would have doubtlessly made it worse, so I encircled the table with my arms like a desperate juggler in hopes of preventing the chinaware from shattering on the parquet floor.
Of course, the coffee table faced the crowded bar area and had been thoughtfully illuminated. But even without the extra pot lights the collapse would have received Vegas-like attention. Imagine the subtle click of a cup being placed on a saucer, and multiply that by, oh, about 2,000 times. My wife, who was at my side when I spotted the groom, had somehow relocated to the far side of the room, and was wearing that “Who is this guy?” expression I know so well. Then she joined the assembled throng in a bout of hysterical laughter.
There were three silver linings to the Great Coffee Cup Collapse of 2015. One, not a single piece of china made it to the floor. Two, I received an especially enthusiastic — albeit highly amused — high-five and man-hug from the groom.
And I will always treasure Lining No. 3: Shortly after the laughter died down, a server mentioned that she had never seen anything like the GCCC in her eight years at the resort. The pyramid was rebuilt, a few minutes went by, a good friend of mine set his glass down on the table…and the exact same thing happened!