Sunday, December 16, 2018

Grandma Capsulized

My earliest memory is washing dishes with Grandma Ruth. 
She’d back a chair up to the sink for me to stand in and every dish she washed, she handed to me to dry. There were always camellias floating in water on the windowsill in front of us and Grandma was always talking. She used bright green Palmolive soap and dish rags with yellow borders. As I got older, she let me take over washing while she dried but she kept doing all the talking.

As kids, Grandma would halt a Saturday morning’s play with Jordan and Alston, to make us sit for a bible lesson. This was burdensome to us because certainly we would be attending Sunday school the next day. This was our only day off. Ellen and I would try to sit quietly but Jordan and Alston would disrupt our class, seeing who could contort their bodies into the weirdest position without leaving their chair. Grandma would gently nudge us to pay attention, but she would also let out one loud blast of a laugh first. When we were old enough to read, she resorted to bribery. “I’ll give you a dollar to read the bible for ten minutes.”

I’d ride around in the car with her while she looked at (and approached) other people’s houses. She feared not the red warning signs and taped off areas. I’m not sure she understood the concept of trespassing. Grandma would call me on the phone and talk for so long that I’d go for a jog or clean my room while she recounted tales and life lessons she’d learned without ever pausing to take a breath.
Grandma would stay with Ellen and me when our folks left on a business trip and I always used this time to further study Grandma’s behavior. She did lots of funny, strange things and when you pointed them out to her she would laugh at herself, but then stand by her thoughts. One time, as we got ready for bed, she covered up the knife block with a dishtowel and said, “In case of burglars.”
“You don’t want them to steal the knives?” I asked.
“I don’t want them to find the knives and hurt us with them.”
“I think burglars bring their own weapons.”
“Haha!” she’d blast out and then she looked at the knife block, agreed with her actions and sent me off to bed.”

When I was old enough to be auctioned off for baby making, Grandma began pedaling a photo of me around town, looking for my husband. Most notably she asked me to call a man named Gus who she had met at the Folly Beach dump because he had a pet parrot that spoke Russian and she thought this was special. On a lunch outing with Ellen and me, she asked our waiter if he thought I was pretty.
Before he could answer, she directed an open palm towards Ellen and said, “If you don’t like her, I also have this one.” This carried on for a long time and she’d get frustrated when I wouldn’t “do right.”

For a character as large as Grandma, it’s difficult to choose the most distinguishable memories. There are too many great ones. Too many great stories and quotes and eccentricities.
She’d come in and rearrange your furniture while you were out on vacation.
Her eyebrows would involuntarily rise when she took a bite of food.
She gifted you things you’d seen sitting in her bookshelf for fifteen years.
She’d wash her own cat’s face with a wet rag and warm water.
One time someone broke into our house when I was home alone, so I slipped out the back door and ran to Ari's house to call for help. I was terrified. Imagine the confusion to see Grandma leaving the crime scene with Mom’s casserole dish and a few magazines.

All this time Grandma had been talking and laughing. Always laughing. She was so easy to make laugh. Towards the end when she stopped talking all together, she would still look at me and laugh at my facial expressions. Ellen would say “Ello Grandmotha!” and she’d respond with that blast of “Haha!”

It had been over a year of her not speaking and I couldn’t tell if she knew who I was. She acted like she liked me but she was a polite woman and maybe she just thought I was a friend or the neighbor. A few days after our wedding, Brett and I went over to see her and Bob. Mostly we talked to Bob. Grandma was looking at a newspaper and not really listening but she’d smile politely when I looked at her. When we got to talk of the wedding day, she perked up a little. She always did love a wedding.
“Bunny,” Bob said to her, “They’ve gotten married. Laura got married.”
Grandma lit up and looked at me. “Are you serious?” she said to me, like suddenly she remembered trying to sell me off all these years.
“We got married last weekend!” I said, and Grandma smiled a giant Grandma Ruth smile and said “Well Congratulations!” with a giggle in her voice and she beamed at Brett and me. She was so happy. She stayed with us long enough to see a photo from the day and then she kind of glazed over again and sunk back into her chair.

It’s probably not something she could recall a few hours later but I really cherish that moment. She knew me again for just a second and I got to tell her something she’d been waiting years to hear. It’s a really happy last exchange before she danced off to go be with her beloved "sweet baby Jesus." 

Well congratulations.

Monday, December 10, 2018

The Pendulum Year

After that triple decker, bucket-kicking January, Dad also lost two of his cousins and an aunt. Losing so many people at once can just make you feel unsafe somehow. I began a swirling debate in my head about the meaning of life, seeing as I already think I know the meaning and all, but had to add in new thoughts because I've never really lost someone so close to me before and all that winds up making you look at things differently. The positive outcome is that it reminded me how unimportant I am, how short life is, and that the water will fill in real quick behind me. I think people that fancy themselves important should remember that last one.

After all this, in February, Big Bubba Brett proposed and I moved into one of life's giddiest stages. Brett later admitted that all of my family members "dropping like flies" disrupted his proposal plans. I started my happy scheming at the same time that my Lux Spring season started, so I was paying extra attention to the little things about each wedding, picking out things I definitely did not want for my own. Towards the end of the month, Ellen and Dad ventured off to Burma for a few weeks and I invited Aunt Melody to help me for a doozie of a wedding. While Mom and I really could use the extra hands, we also wanted to get her out of the house, busy with something besides thinking about Russell. It's no surprise that Aunt Melody whipped things into shape, tying perfect bows and making wonderful quick fixes. She probably should just take over my job altogether. So she jumped on as a new member of the Lux & U team and has been slaving away for me at just about every wedding I booked for the year.

The doozie wedding.

In March I moved into my little cottage and the giddiness levels were at an all time high - which made me feel guilty somehow. Look at what I get to have and where I get to live and what I do for a "job". I haven't earned any of it and I keep wondering what I'll wind up doing to even pay God back a cent. My guilty phase lined up perfectly with an Ellen downswing. She's had a rough go since all that with "Buttface" (that's her nickname for Mr. Villard) and she started to get a little hopeless and negative which is a hard thing to watch.

We had a Merlefest adventure with my Happy Hon's and Dad started big house renovations against Mom and my wishes. I can admit now that Dad was right. We love it and like he promised, it was done in time for the wedding. We took a trip to the Keys for some family time, cousin antics, and iguana love time. The fun times continued with a trip to the lake with The Crew and then a big Scandinavian adventure with my family -the giggliest family trip the four of us have taken, I think.

Throughout all of this time Mom, Carolyn, and Georgia had been tending to Bob and Ruth. Grandma Ruth was on a steady decline which was hard to watch but worse, led to lots of tough thoughts and questions. Mom was not happy this summer and I missed her a lot. I missed my friend. Ellen also started to avoid us (a lady of grand mysteries) which hurt Dad's feelings and left me feeling lonely on the family front and extra thankful for EisenEars' steady and warm presence.
As the Fall rolled in, I jumped into lending a hand for Ari and Nate's wedding which pushed my Mama Bear happiness levels way up again. I started working alongside funny Margie at Dad's office, I was spoiled by my friends for a bachelorette day and then, the first weekend of October, I had the funnest dern day of my life. It's all any of us talked about for days.

Two weeks after that my cousin Chelsea gave birth to a little baby boy.

Three weeks after that, one of the great loves of my life married the greatest love of hers.

A few days before Ari's wedding, my grandma Ruth died and I've got post coming just for her. The day after Ari's wedding, just hours after Grandma's funeral, I got a phone call from Aussie Dan, a friend from my first restaurant job when I was seventeen. Mike, another friend we worked with back then got into a car accident and wasn't waking up. The decision had been made to take him off of life support so Dan planned an ICU waiting room party for everyone that Mike loved, and that included the Union girls.

Ellen and I signed into the hospital, took the elevator up four levels, and found a pale, tired looking Dan folded up in a chair. Hospitals give me the heebeegeebees. I know you don't know Mike Thomas but I'll tell you that he was a boisterous and bossy fella. He had a loud, fiendish laugh that actually was a bit frightening. Lots of people knew and loved him but he was selective about who he graced with full and loyal love. He took me under his wing when I started at the restaurant because I looked frightened and unsure. Ellen worked there too and Mike loved that we were sisters and he wouldn't let any customers be rude to us.
Mike was big and animated and haphazard and one time, at a beach outing, he picked me up and threw me into the ocean so hard that he bruised my ribs and I had to go to the doctor. I couldn't laugh or exhale without pain for two months. He did not apologize and only laughed at my situation but somehow he did that endearingly and I didn't feel the need for him to apologize. I knew he felt guilty. Ever met a mean person so sweet that they can get away with anything?

I'm probably making him sound obnoxious but he wasn't. Mike was really a teddy bear and he had a daughter who was the highlight of his life. He talked about her constantly. She's seventeen now and I instantly recognized her in the ICU waiting room from pictures I've seen posted to Facebook anytime Mike took her out on an adventure. Being Mike's daughter, we shouldn't have been surprised to see her holding up better than everyone else in the waiting room. He made sure she'd be tough. No daughter of Mike's would be a ninny.

Mike just had a way of making people feel like they always had a home with him. It's a shame to loose someone who gave so much to other people.
Here's an unflattering but perfect picture to describe Mike Thomas.

I left Mike's sad sack departure and jaunted off for an exhausting two weeks of Portuguese Honeymoon fun, came home to some of the most exciting news about cousin Margie, Brett and my first Christmas tree together, a breakfast date with the newlywed Ari and Nate, and any day now, the welcoming of cousin Alex's baby girl, appropriately named after Grandma Sadie.

So you see, it's been a lot in every direction. A very full year with a pendulum of happy to sad, giddy to guilty. I want to look at the year and claim it as my happiest so far but that does a disservice to the loss and hurt. I want to look at the year and claim it as the worst I've seen but that does a disservice to the parts in there that are what make life worth grieving for in the first place.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

A Dose of Real Things

After much debating, which may lead one to think this blog is carried by a team of writers that have meetings and strategies, I scribbled all of my “upcoming blog post” thoughts onto a white board and moved them around and reordered them to find the perfect sequence of events and have elected to forgo blogging about two extremely happy occasions until after I blog about a gaggle of downer but hopefully uplifting things because I just can’t let this year end without acknowledging these things and who wants to start a new year on a low note? 

So I will withhold the beauty of Ari and Nate’s wedding day and the rip-roaring adventurers of EisenEars and Big Lu zooming around Portugal in a white mini-cooper and instead, I’ve got thoughts on this year, the most bizarre twelve months of life’s happiest and saddest offerings.
When I started the blog I hoped it would create nostalgia and giggles and I never intended to write anything personal or truly sad, though many times Mom would call me, upset that I sounded depressed in a blog post that I had intended to have more of an Andy Rooney style outraged-rant flavor to it.

This year started with the death of my wacky Uncle Bill, zesty Grandma Sadie, and spunky cousin Russell. We had the most time to get used to sending off Uncle Bill because he got sick and took a bad turn. I felt weird carrying on in South Carolina knowing he and Georgia were on their own up on a mountain in Idaho. Of this trio, I was the least close to Uncle Bill. When I was little I was afraid of him because of his facial hair but I eventually came around when I saw how much he enjoyed the delight I found in his “Bat Child” t-shirt. It was something we repeated to each other when there was nothing else to say. He was a chatty eccentric with a distinct voice and wacky theories. I found him amusing. He’d learn about something and then become fixated on it. Towards the end, he came into a fondness for the canning process and left Georgia with innumerable jars of potatoes to find a home for. Uncle Bill enjoyed this blog very much and with his somewhat sudden departure, he helped complete the mission of Awe Geez, which was to bring my Aunt Georgia home.

I couldn't find a photo Uncle Bill but here's the beloved view from his mountain. 

Now let me tell you about Grandma Sadie. Like my favorite Mexican dish, Siti was zesty. That’s the word that comes to mind when I think of her, all 4ft 10” of her and the heap of enthusiasm and energy she had. I was always jealous that my Orangeburg cousins got to spend so much time with her. There are so many tiny moments that I string together to form my picture of her. I’ll shamefully admit that I don’t know too much about the life she had before her grandchildren. Dad has told me she was a lovely mother. He also told me she’d help her kids cover up bad things they had done before Zhuddi got home from work. Classic Siti.
Sometimes I would hear her tell a story so unexpected from such a tiny, put-together grandmother. 
“You know, I used to go dance for the Navy Sailors. They just loved it.” she told me one time. She would drag Ellen and me through the mall and spend hours in one 12x12ft section. We’d flake out, sprawl across the sofas and complain but she didn’t care. She was shopping.
When I was twelve or so I bought my first pair of shoes with a slight heel on them. They were black and strappy and had a rhinestone on one toe. I put them on and clomped down the stairs to show Siti and she said, “Oh! Those are sexy!” and I was shocked and appalled. That word. So sharp and jarring to a young girl. Mom wouldn’t want me to have sexy shoes. Should a twelve your old wear something…sexy?
Siti’s offhanded approval of those shoes sent me into a tailspin and I hear her voice say that to this day when I try on any shoe with a heel.

Siti's dedication to shopping was only matched by her commitment to slot-machines, preferably in Las Vegas but in a pinch, any casino environment will do.  She played the penny slots and here, let hours pass seated in a 3x3ft section. As she got older and it became harder to move around, she’d play up her “handicap” to avoid waiting in long lines. 

She made sure all ten grandchildren had at least a dozen Christmas presents but she would not spend more than five dollars on any one thing. She shopped and hoarded and gave me the same scarf and mitten set three years in a row. She’d haggle for prices, haggle for desserts, and never skip out on her hair appointments. She had long, long fingernails that she’d use to pick things up with and when she was deep in thought, she’d wiggle her lips around in a strange way and always made me tell her when she was doing it so she would stop. She didn’t like that lip thing.

Siti thought everything was “gaw-gous” and would be just as happy eating a gas station hot-dog as a healthy, home-cooked feast. She may have even preferred the hot dog. She liked sugary white bread, bubbly sodas that she would grasp with both hands, and anything I ever baked for her. She’d circle a parking lot for ten minutes until a spot in the front opened up. We could jump out and run the errand before she’d ever park the car. 
And she was always upbeat. Even when she felt badly, she’d tell you with a smile and then encourage you to give her just a pinch of pity too. She literally wore rose-colored glasses, the same giant pair since I was born.

If you ask me, she had the worst taste in history and it only made her more endearing. She loved busy patterns, old-lady floral prints, and ceramic figurines of angles and babies. She had busy wallpaper, wore loud costume jewelry, and had plastic on her dining room chairs. She’d pick out things she liked and I would hate them but the things I picked out, she thought were boring and plain.

She’d stay up late watching movies on full blast, snoring through the gunshots and explosions that would wake us up three rooms over. Siti just really enjoyed everything and I worry that the world doesn’t make people like that anymore. 

The most disturbing death was cousin Russell. Dad called me one morning with a shaky voice and told me that Russell had passed away and I didn't believe him. I thought Dad must be confused. Because young people don't just die. 
Certainly there's a misunderstanding. Russell is fine, I'm sure of it. 
Russell was twenty-four, physically fit, and irresponsibly happy. 

Young people don't just die. I kept saying this to myself. 
Young people don't just not wake up. They don't pop or stop breathing or disintegrate. 

I was honored and confused to be chosen to write his obituary. Honored, that of his three siblings, nine cousins, six uncles and aunts, and nearly hundreds of friends, they wanted me to do it. Why on earth me? Confused, because he's my little cousin (perpetually twelve or so and about 5'3" in my mind) and writing a formal document about his life in the past tense was wrong. 

Russell's life was hilarious. He was accidentally hilarious and there was no ounce of formality or seriousness in there anywhere. Death felt too serious and a funeral, much to formal. 
But there are a lot of perfect Russell tidbits in all of this seriousness because he surely did not fit in to the new, untimely scenario. 

Before I get to those though, you need to know that Russell was a local celebrity at The College. He was a highly sought after boyfriend, best friend, and unintentional party promoter. Where Russell went there was a party ... and a gaggle of drunken trollops there to greet him. He was awfully handsome. 
But he was also a sweetheart and he deeply loved just about everyone. I think of him as a Labrador Retriever, genuinely elated to see anyone, anywhere, anytime and he'd come bounding over for a hug. He insisted on good, real hugs. 
He was always up to the best kind of no good and I secretly enjoyed it for him. I'd roll my eyes and smile when I thought about him. I still do really.

The great Russell tidbits about associating him with such a serious and formal scenario are this:
Russell got to live through the fun, party part of life and totally ducked out before the boring, hard, responsibility parts. He was along for the party and then Irish Goodbyed before desk jobs and taxes and broken hearts. That's got Russell written all over it. 

The second great tidbit was his funeral. 
So many people showed up that they couldn't all fit into the church. There was a lot of family and friends of family... and then there were Russell's friends; college kids young enough to disregard funeral decorum and still focus most on their fashions on this occasion to be seen. I saw more girls in mini-skirts and high heels at his funeral than I have seen clomping around King Street on a Friday night. They did at least choose black skirts and stilettos. It was January and I'm certain they were cold. 
Guys arrived in skin tight suits with shirts unbuttoned to their sternum. Some wore sunglasses inside and a few girls would visit the bathroom to touch up their makeup. Ellen and I sat on the sofa reserved for family and watched the girls shift their weight from one pointed leg to the other while the guys huddled together talking about so and so from that one party a few weeks ago. They'd all look over at a girl and then discuss. The girls did the same. One girl showed up drunk and had to be escorted around because her shoes were too tall and she was teetering around too much. Somehow Russell's funeral was a social event for his friends; happy chatter and story telling and checking out other people. 
This made me smile... and roll my eyes. 

I couldn't go see Russell in his casket. I didn't want to see him that way and watching six of his closest friends carrying him, quietly carrying their brother to his grave, is a visual that sometimes pops into my head and makes me cry. I think about Russell all the time now and I never really did before. I always knew he was Downtown somewhere kicking up some trouble and that if I called him he'd answer with, "Cuzzo! What's up!"

Wednesday, November 21, 2018


We're off on our grand adventure. I'm taking notes and pictures to give you a full report. I hope Ari has her wedding pictures by thim I get back so I can share those with you too. Boy I can't wait to see those. In the meantime, enjoy the big thankful meals and cozy, long-weekend things.

We're making some gut busting' memories.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

As Of Late

It was a year ago this week that we found this little place. So much has gone on since then.

With the grand finale that was Ari and Nate's wedding this past weekend, I'm now "off duty" until February. I haven't really had a chance yet to decompressed and go, "Oh boy, I'm done for the year!" because there are too many things going on. I reckoned I'd do a year recap type of blog post next month to actually detail all the things that went on in 2018 that I've not acknowledged on the blog space. You know I like for this to be a happy place (except for the hateful thoughts I produced back during my college sentence).

Brett prepares to leave for the day. Both pups get a floor cuddle after breakfast. 

For now I'll tell you that my house and garage are a wreck and that Brett and I have not yet worked out how to properly buy and use groceries for two. I've "elevated" (word I've been using a lot lately - not sure I like it) my Lux & U marketing tactics and with that comes lots of frustrating phone calls to Google and pretentious emails from wedding listing companies that fancy themselves more than a glorified phone book.

Brett and I have taken my new nephews to a pumpkin patch, met Ellen's latest boyfriend (we really like him), danced foolishly at Ari's wedding, eaten lots of baked goods, and had a few days where we got to leave the windows open. Brett's folks have bought a plot of land about two miles away and will be moving to James Island in June. Ellen is throwing in the towel at the lawyer's office and starting nursing school January. We think this is a good choice. Ellen is the best combination of compassionate and bossy. She'll be able to feel for the sick people and then tell them to shut up and drop their pants, or whatever sticky, humiliating things they make you do. Mom is excited to have a medical person in the family to answer our scary medical questions. I'm excited about Ellen wearing scrubs.

EisenEars hangs my new kitchen plants. 

Today is Brett and my last day of work before we leave for our honeymoon. We didn't strategically plan our trip over Thanksgiving but now that we're headed out of town, it does feel like a bit of bustle that we get to skip, though I'll admit that ole T-gives is my favorite holiday.
But I'd say we'll sure enjoy a break from the bustle.

Pippa joins me at the office. 

Monday, November 12, 2018

A Girls Weekend in Lake Lure

A few weekends ago, Ari and I ventured up the road to North Carolina for a cozy bachelorette weekend. There were nine of us, all from different stages of Ari's schooling - except me, I'm just the neighbor girl. She had elementary-school friends, high-school friends, college friends and grad-school friends coming from a handful of different states to celebrate and breathe some fresh, mountain air together. Because Ari is a collection of interesting, perplexing, and inspiring characteristics, the gaggle of gals present that weekend felt like a carefully curated reserve of people you want in your corner. The smarts, the wit, the confidence. It was all there, bubbling up and overflowing from each lovely girl that loves my dear Ari. I felt loved for Ari. 

We stayed in a family friend's lake house and cooked cozy meals, drank wine from a box, and mostly just told stories. The occupations of each attendee are as follows: family doctor, nurse, surgery tech, three landscape architects, teacher, stem-cell researcher .... and a florist. I spent much of my time that weekend pretending to know what they were talking about, completely astounded by their knowledge and memory of things they learned in school. I picked up on about two of fourteen or so references to American history. There was lots of icky medical jargin and remarks about assorted pharmaceuticals that I've never heard of but everyone else already knew with a comfortable familiarity. I suppose they had filed it all away properly when they heard about it in those real schools they went to. I looked up words on my phone when no one was around. 
I told stories injected with accents and bathroom humor and when everyone filed up for bed and I got to share a room with Ari, I found myself feeling like the queen's jester, undeserving of the honor and unsure why she keeps me around.

When we got there Friday afternoon, there were four of us to keep each other company until everyone else arrived that night. Since we were all rotating being in charge of meals, we had each submitted a grocery list ahead of time that the four of us took on as an exciting Friday night challenge. We piled into a car and drove to the grocery store to shop for the weekend. One of the girls, the stem-cell researcher who lives in NYC, was blown away by the grocery store. It was notably large but I suppose when you only shop in city bogotá's it would seem especially grandiose. She wandered the overstocked aisles with her mouth open and would run up to us with excitement when they had some bizarre item she can never find back in the city. I liked watching her experience the grocery store. We filled a cart to the brim (it was embarrassing) and took wagers on how much three days of food for nine people was going to cost. Ari won. She can do anything.
We wheeled our cart up to the checkout line and sorely incensed the two high-school kids at the counter. The girl scanning the items shook her head side to side as she scanned and the bag boy wouldn't look at us but mumbled while he bagged. He also seemed annoyed and confused by the canvas grocery bags we asked him to use, insisting that some items needed to be in plastic bags and becoming disgruntled when Stem-cell would take things out of his bags and put them into our bags. "What's he not getting about this?"
 Later we decided that the check-out girl and the bag-boy had some tension in their relationship, possibly a recent break-up, and we had a great time filling in the details of that dubious tale. We holed up in the house and made chili and corn bread while more gals trickled in, chatting and listening to tunes until bedtime.

On Saturday morning, Ari and a few brave souls jumped into the chilly lake for a polar plunge. I made Laurie Hon's breakfast casserole and it was the only dish that weekend that had no leftovers. 

That afternoon we went for a hike in the hills and found lots of waterfalls, neat plants, and rock statues. It was damp and chilly so I enjoyed watching each girl and her own reaction to things. The landscapers were intrigued by fungi and mosses, the med-crew was cold, and the teacher was unexpectedly gung-ho about scrambling up slippery rocks for a better view. 

We came home to hot showers, naps, cider, and more stories. I'd love to share some with you but they are unladylike tales: things detailing people's reasons for emergency room visits and embarrassing things that happen when you're unconscious in a surgery lab. There were also great tales from the college days that had us shrieking with a combination of disgust and hysterics and the neighbor came outside to see what was going on. These are the great things in the life that you'll always remember... or at least vaguely recall when your grandchild asks you what you did for your bachelorette party way back when.

"Well, we went to the mountains..."

Monday, November 5, 2018

The Good Stuff

This post is photo heavy because these are the happiest photos, free of nerves and any "looming" activities. When you scroll through other people's photos of dancing friends, it means very little to you. When you know all the grinning faces in the pictures, they really warm your heart.

Wait! Before I get started.
After the ceremony, I noticed that Ms. Pigglesworth had made it to the party. I'm glad I didn't notice her while Don was talking. I caught Will Hon moving Wilhelmina many times throughout the day and was shocked and slightly frightened to find her on the front porch when Brett and I finally went home that night.

Alright. I'm ready.
Post ceremony was a short little cocktail chunk. During this time, Brett and I ambled out to the dock for more photos while our favorite folks mingled and snacked. We booted Will and Katie off the dock for sunset photos (which I felt badly about) but somehow one of our favorites, Drew, wound up out there with us and then got trapped and had to hide behind columns to stay out of the pictures. After while he took it upon himself to make sure we were fed and he reappeared with "carefully curated plates."

During the planning process, Brett opted out of helpful opinions and encouraged a "steampunk" themed wedding day.
"I'll wear a top hat and use a cane. You can wear goggles."
I'd ask for thoughts on linen colors and he'd suggest velvet with a ruffled trim.
"How can we incorporate light-machinery?"
As a little surprise, I tied some tiny gears to his boutonnière. He was not as amused as I thought he'd be.

Meanwhile, back in the yard...

Brett and I came in to eat our curated meals around the same time speeches started. I sat with sweaty palms while Brett was red in the face and we listened to nice words from our family members. Landon, Brett's best friend and the other half of his college Avett Brothers cover band, sang our first dance song... an Avett Brothers tune. Dad really tickled himself while we were dancing. Weeks back when I told Dad we were going to cram our first dance and the father-daughter and the mother-son dance all into one song, Dad objected and said that a two minute tune for all of that was too short. I disagreed. Watching other people slow dance take ages but I compromised by having Landon sing all the verses of the song instead of skipping a few like I had planned.
Dad hadn't been up there dancing with me for thirty seconds when he said, "We've been up here forever. When does this song ever end?"
I reminded him that he's the reason we still have two minutes of dancing time left and when he realized this was all his fault, he let out a very loud guffaw and then we both got the giggles. Folks thought we were having a tender moment but we were just hold back belly laughs.

After this, the dancing started,

We cut our perfect, little cake,

and then there were wigs.

 What tickled me most was how readily the wigs were accepted by everyone. I figured a small percentage of folks would partake in the silliness and I was so delighted to see serious old-folks dancing with their new dos. I did worry about the afros appearing slightly racist to the band. I thought about that a lot actually and was very hopeful that they took note of the many caucasian hairstyles that were also up for grabs. Someone put a wig on Wilhelmina and I saw the singer girl give a strange look to no one. I wondered what the band thought about us.

The dancing reception is a whirlwind of hugs and sweaty, smiling faces. It was awfully humid but I saw the sweatiness factor as a great thing. When everyone is sweaty, you don't feel so bad about being sweaty yourself. I held sweaty hands and kissed sweaty faces. I hugged drenched people goodbye and I loved it. This was the BEST day and I'd like to go again please.

Brett and I stayed until the very end, when the remaining people were Unions, Guys, Honbarriers and members of The Crew. I didn't want to go home but oh how I wanted to go to sleep. I was exhausted. The most happy kind of exhausted.


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