When Mary approached her mother, Elaine, about the project and asked her the key events questions, Elaine said, “Sit down and let's talk about this, because it's something you don't know about.” Elaine proceeded to tell her key event story. She was the wife of an Army general and took her role as an officer's wife very seriously. She was a self-proclaimed perfectionist, and when she entertained the families of other officers, everything had to be (and always was) perfect, down to the last detail.

One afternoon, as Elaine was readying the house for a dinner party later that evening, she realized that she had forgotten to buy an important ingredient of her favorite dip. She could have just forgone the dip and done without it, but the ...

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