I will be adding the recent presentation at the November meeting of Westerners International, Prescott Corral, to the lessons learned column. As planned it was to include a history of Route 66 with a slide show accompaniment that presented a virtual tour of the highway from Grant Park to Santa Monica Pier.
It was to conclude with the showing of select historic sites and a brief commentary on the significance of these places. The wrap up would be a question and answer period.
First lesson learned, don’t depend on someone else’s equipment. After almost twenty minutes before dinner spent trying to make the projector function (no one was familiar with how it worked), it froze after less than five minutes of the slide show presentation.
The second incident was more of a refresher course than a lesson learned. Long ago I learned that presentations seldom go as planned or as envisioned.
This time the light at the podium was defunct. So, when the lights dimmed I was left with trying to read notes to about 120 people in the glow of a slide show frozen on the tenth picture.
A generous attempt to assist in the form of a member with a pen light compounded the problem. When her finger slipped on the pen light button, I was left with a strobe affect.
Still, I kept a smooth flow for the presentation, and it ended with an excellent question and answer session. Positive, excited, and engaged comments received as I signed books and distributed rack cards from the Wagon Wheel Motel, Blue Swallow Motel, El Trovatore Motel, Wigwam Motel, and other Route 66 sites and attractions led me to believe that once again I had bluffed my way through a near disaster.
The next lesson learned is one that I should have mastered by now and that is to always confirm arrangements, and then confirm them one more time. As I packed books and rack cards the organizers of the event panicked when they realized no one had made reservations for us at the Hassayampa Inn next door, an arrangement that was to be part of our compensation.
As it turned out, we were fortunate since there was room at the inn. A well deserved glass of beer at the Hassayampa rounded out another episode that is one more due paid. This quest to become a writer when I grow up is truly an adventure.