When you are nominated for Magazine of the Year (Saskatchewan) it's only polite to attend the award ceremony. We found out that we made the list of finalists (the first time) just when our next issue was scheduled to go to press and we were running on financial vapour. Should we go? We can't afford to. But what if we win? We should be there...
Lionel decided he could make a quick trip to attend the ceremony on Friday and return on Saturday. We booked his plane ticket and packed up his one and only suit. He wasn't going to eat until he arrived at the gala in order to save money, and he had enough time to take the public transit from the airport rather than pay for taxi fare.
At the time we were following 100% in the steps of British Columbia Magazine and were printing our magazine in Vancouver with Quebecor. We even managed to get the same sales rep as they had, a wonderful man by the name of Ian Sanderson. Ian appreciated the spirit of our small business enterprise and took us under his wing right from the first issue of the magazine. Now that Lionel was coming to Vancouver, he kindly offered to book Lionel a room in Vancouver. Heck, had we told him that we were coming sooner, he would have spotted for the plane ticket, too!
Lionel arrived in Vancouver and immediately went to the bus stop seeking information as to how he could get to the Pacific Palisades Hotel. As luck would have it, the bus driver was on his way back to the depot and offered to take Lionel right to the front door. Lionel was fully expecting to be dropped off at a location outside the downtown area, but as they drilled deeper and deeper into the downtown core, it appeared that he was headed right into the expensive part of the city. As the bus driver stopped at an opulent looking doorway and opened the doors to let Lionel out, he said, "Bob Hope used to stay here."
Lionel's jaw dropped when he realized where he was staying. He had no baggage to speak of, so he made his way directly to the front desk to get keys to his room, pinching himself along the way. The front desk clerk greeted him with great formality.
The room was a palatial suite, and it took Lionel a few minutes to discover that the bedroom was its own separate area. The living room faced a wall of glass that allowed a panoramic view of Vancouver from the 16th floor. The fridge was stocked with an extraordinary variety of things that were, to say the least, not free.
In the end, we did not win an award that weekend, but we certainly were treated like royalty by a friend who appreciated our hard work. (Thank you, Ian. I have many more stories of your goodness to us which I hope to share later.)
Lionel left the beautiful hotel room with a sense that he didn't have the time to enjoy it enough. He had enjoyed a couple of things from that ridiculously well-stocked fridge. He ran up a $12 bill for some very tasty local libation. Paying for the indulgence took three tries with three different credit cards but one finally went through. I don't think he ate again until he got back to Saskatchewan.