It’s been a languid and sultry couple of days in New York City, the kind where you move slowly, sipping ice water and blowing a fan on your bare toes while you smile and look professional from the shoulders up for your zoom calls. Usually I don’t care for hot weather, but I’ve kind of been soaking it in these days and relishing my well-deserved shower every night. And did I mention I’m showering in my very own shower these days? I don’t mind too much sleeping in other people’s beds and eating in other kitchens, but man, I’m happy to be back with my own shower which I know how to adjust just right every time.
Also, I’ve been sick the last few days, which just makes being at home all the better. Nobody likes to be sick on someone else’s couch, right? But let me back up and tell you the story of the last week or so.
My little brother decided to commit matrimony with a very cute little girl from Montana. They picked a date, which didn’t work, so they picked a second one and sent out invitations. But Covid. So with much less grumbling than you would have heard from me, they picked a third date which finally rolled around. Third time’s the charm! Our family flew and drove to Montana in various packs, settling ourselves into sundry nooks and crannies for the big day. Several of the kiddies had never flown before, and boy, it was a big day for them, riding not only airplanes but also sky trains and escalators. They minded the bumps less than I did, but I’m pretty sure I admired the view just as much as them! Flying over the Rocky Mountains never gets old. After many hours of flying and driving, we finally arrived, ready to start the party.
The day before the wedding was spent dismantling the hijjus church decor and replacing it with glittery runners and candles and willow branches galore, and assembling wildflower bouquets for the church to hold and the bridesmaids to carry. The father of the bride was a bit green about the gills with a stomach bug, but the rest of us were mostly fine and dandy, if rather droopy from our incredibly early flight the day before. Also, the sun scarcely sets in Montana; when do people ever sleep in the summer?
Shortly before the wedding day, the reception venue cancelled on the couple, leaving them scrambling for a place to feed their guests. Somehow in the scramble, a realtor was contacted, and when asked if he knew of any places, he offered his own lake house back yard for the day. Not quite as close as the original place, but very beautiful and free of charge, so that wrinkle was smoothed out. Whew.
The wedding day arrived, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, and after a nice little breakfast at a cafe with my girlfriends, I was dropped off at the church to begin getting ready. A couple of sisters were already there, wringing their proverbial hands over the bouquets, which had wilted badly during the night and almost all needed to be redone. They also recounted that they had arrived at the church just in time to stop the clueless cleaning lady from tearing up all the decor we had sweated over the previous day, since she knew nothing about the wedding and figured it probably should be taken up. And to top it off, the cute little bride had also caught the stomach bug and spent her last single night in less than ideal straits.
In the middle of the hubbub, the groom comes in with a tale about his wedding shirt. Apparently he had parked his car somewhere for a couple days and a Wicked Little Mouse had decided to make its home there. Finding a delicious and chewy black shirt in the car, it had nibbled all the way up one sleeve, plus one hole in the trousers for good measure. So there he was, with no backup shirt, and a chewed slit the whole way up one arm. Fortunately his coat covered most of the damage, but it did mean he’d have to wear it the whole, hot, long day. I am not ashamed to admit I laughed until I cried.
I holed up in a room to get ready with the other bridesmaids and the bride, while the other siblings finished reception decor and redid the flowers. There was a miscommunication, and some of the items meant to go to the reception venue never arrived, while the setup people waited and waited. Meanwhile, one of the bride’s sisters received word that her baby boy was having seizures for the first time in his life, and she had to fly off to take him to the ER.
Finally, finally, the wedding hour arrived and we floated up the aisle on the golden runner in our swishy dresses, and the cute little couple finally, finally said their “I Dos” and the deed was done. We all bounced outside to a jaunty instrumental version of I Will Survive, of all things, which the couple chose because of the jolly sound, but which really seemed exceedingly fitting given everything that had gone down in opposition to this day actually happening.
We took some very hot and sunny photos, and then relaxed in the shade with our danishes and cereal bowls. Yes, they had a deluxe cereal bar at their wedding, because they’re that awesome. The couple did have a surprising moment when they dug into the bowls of cereal they were brought by their devious relatives and found a couple of crawdads, fresh out of the lake. Philip calmly fished it out and took another bite, because I guess that’s what you do when you’re wearing a mouse-chewed shirt and have just married the girl you’ve been waiting on for years. I’m afraid did not quite have the same poker face when a little girl ran by and knocked over a glass of milk which dripped onto my dress and into my sparkly shoe.
After some lovely speeches and lots of hugs, we sent the couple off in a fragrant shower of apple blossoms- the prettiest send off I’ve ever seen- and after a swooping kiss, they were off and away.
Lest you think the drama ends there, let me tell you, O Best Beloved, it does not.
Saturday was mostly free of disasters, and included walking across a long bridge over a lovely lake, a cookout at my uncle’s house, and the most gorgeous drive up to an apple orchard in the Montana mountains under the lingering northern sunset. It was golden. Then I arrived back at the house I was staying at to be warned that a little girl had…umm…used the carpet in my loaned bedroom for a bathroom, then proceed to touch many, many things in the house with her little fingers. The horrified hosts had scrubbed and scrubbed all the spots they could find, but jokes about refried beans and such abounded. Because really, what can you do but laugh?
Sunday we woke up to a dark house. The electricity was out not only for our local town, but all the way to the city an hour away. So we had ourselves a dark and cloudy day with generators and coffee made on camp stoves, and lots of gratitude that the wedding day had already passed.
I had some lovely times on the trip too, like the apple orchard I mentioned, and like many late night gab sessions over popcorn and sushi and such with my lovely hosts, and like the day the uncle with the Great Mustache took us all fishing at a dam about three million miles back in the wilderness. We hiked back in a little past where we could drive, carrying important things like cheese puffs and guns in case of a grizzly bear, a valid concern in the Montana wilderness. (To be fair though, if I met a grizzly while carrying a gun, I’d probably have better luck hitting it if I threw the gun at it than by aiming and firing.)
At one point Philip texted me, letting me know the sequel to the Wicked Mouse story. He and the cute little bride were sitting in their car enjoying some pizza on their honeymoon, when the Wicked Mouse appeared out of nowhere and BIT HER ON THE TOE. She screamed and threw the pizza across the car, and I, predictably, laugh every time I think of it. Seriously guys, what kind of evil mouse attacks people?!
Many adventures later, I finally flew back home to New York City on Tuesday night, and after some qualms about whether I was allowed to go home from the airport with a curfew and all, I procured a genuine yellow New York City cab after a very long wait, which kindly took me right to my door. I had never ridden in one before, but spent the novel ride feeling sicker and sicker. Fortunately I made it all the way to my very own bathroom before the stomach bug caught up with me too, and I clutched the toilet like a New York girl who had just gone clubbing. In the grand scheme of things, my being sick isn’t very important, but it did seem like the nice little cherry on top of the mousy, wilty, disastrous, and lovely weekend, and I now have extra respect for all the women who still go about living normal lives when plagued with morning sickness. Today I had my first coffee in three days, which if you know me, is pretty remarkable, and I’ve also eaten a plate of savory cabbage which I’d weirdly been craving even while the thought of croissants turned me off. I’m just so grateful to be sick in my own home, and also in the few days gap I have before starting work full time again.
So that’s story of my last week or so. I guess if I ever marry I’ll probably just elope, in case anyone was wondering. Congratulations, Philip and Kirsten! I don’t know if you guys are gonna be a serious power couple or what, given all the roadblocks to your wedding day, but I’m so glad you made it through, and all with an impeccable sense of humor and unshakeable calm. Welcome to the family, Kirst!