From the Bride’s Father’s Notebook – Day 11

Wednesday, December 30 – The Day After/ The Reception

I am fascinated with typos.  Many accidental spelling errors make a point, though differently than the writer intended, that fits equally well or better.  I’ve considered writing a story with a character who doesn’t correct the typos he makes.  While writing the title of this article, I accidentally typed Fride instead of Bride.  At this point, the father is definitely beginning to feel a little fried.  Last night’s hour and a half drive home around midnight exhilarated me at the time, but the weight of it is now dangling from my neck, a joyful though real bit of wedding lead.

Today’s the reception.  I think my own bride and I are breathing a little sigh of exhausted relief to be back on familiar territory.  We’ve been serving groups large and small from the first weeks after our own wedding in July, 1981 until now.  What we had become pretty good at after all those years, we honed even more while living overseas where entertaining and being entertained were part of our work.  We are planning two receptions, one today and one on April 17 in Indianapolis for relatives and friends who can’t make it here. 

Food shopping calms me.  It’s a balm.  I love setting out, list in hand, to the stores I know well, whose aisles guide me to what I’m looking for, a plane touching the landing strip again and again, aimed exactly at  what I want and need.  Today is a little different because I am buying a spiral ham at a specialty store and high quality cheeses and breads somewhere else that sells a wide variety of top quality cheese.  We want to make the reception just right.

I met our sons and their women at that store.  They ate lunch while I shopped, though afterwards our middle son helped me select cheese and wine.  I’m glad for his palate and his knowledge of wines.  Later in the afternoon he rides with me as I dash to a few other stores.  We pick up the beautiful, thick, rich chocolate cake (at this point of the week, I’ve earned a luscious wedge of chocolaty goodness), a few things at a different grocery, and his pair of boots from the shoe repair shop.  The used vintage boots, a Christmas gift from his girlfriend, are well-made of high-quality leather, and needed only a few repairs.  While dashing from place to place, he gave me a little lecture about what my daughter calls go-mode.  That’s the fast and furious pace I get in when I’m wanting to get a lot done, though in retrospect it’s also what I get in when I’m anxious, worried, or feeling tied for time.  I don’t love my son’s lectures though I love his love for me and the confidence in himself they’re born of.  All he wants is for me to stay healthy and alive a good long time.  I’d like that too.

I’m glad for my children and their significant others.  Especially glad when I arrived home and found my current and hopefully future daughters-in-law cutting vegetables, helping set things up, supporting my wife who was fairly calm about the impending reception.  Her big, or at least pet, project for the event was setting out luminaries, brown paper bags with sand and a candle in the bottom of each.  She likes luminaries because they are a simple, inexpensive way to decorate outside the house.  The walk was lined with these glowing wonders, looking more wondrous as the sun set.  I love them because they’re little icons of us:  commonly wrappered bits of clay with an inexplicable glow that comes as a surprise.  Our candle: God’s image.  We have this treasure in earthen vessels, indeed.

The wedding wasn’t exactly traditional.  Only eleven people witnessed it, all standing in a 300 year old house George Washington might recognize were he still with us.   That little room had a fireplace, but no pews, a minister but no altar, attendants but no wedding party.  Would this reception, also not traditional, held a day after the event in our apartment, work?  Would it feel right?  Would it satisfy my daughter’s desire for a “real” wedding event?  In retrospect, I think it did.  Our tables overflowed with a grand ham, cheeses, breads, vegetables, wines, spirits and more.  Guests, food, a cake with a bride and groom (from her grandparents’ and parents’ wedding cakes), and presents all conspired together to make it real.  We had puzzled the traditional pieces (minus dancing but no one seemed to mind) together.  It all worked.

Relative and friend walked the luminary path to our door to celebrate this grand event.  Guests basked in the bride and groom’s glow.  Their presence, their taking time and trouble to greet the young couple, most meeting the new husband for the first time, and bring good wishes and gifts and stories and talk and laughter, lighted the evening and us in it, transforming mundane victuals and chat to something almost transcendent.  I am grateful for these people and this magic moment.

From the Bride’s Father’s Notebook

About literarylee

I sling words for a living. Always have, always will. Some have been interesting and fun; most not. These days, I write the fun words early in the morning before the adults are up and make me eat my Cream of Wheat.
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