10, Not 15

A Year of Memories is almost up. Officially, on October 6th.

So far, we’ve only been through dating and a wedding.

There is so much more.

I really thought this would be a cathartic year.

At the moment, I think I’m going in the opposite direction.

I really believed it would only take a year to recap our limited lives.

At times, I even worried I’d have nothing more to write about, that I would run out of stories too soon.

The thing is, we all know how this story ends.

15 Years Ago, a wedding; 10 Years Ago, a funeral.

Maybe that’s where I’ll go next: the ending. And work backwards.

Quote for The Week:

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Ball, Chain, Toss, Catch, Cake and a Surprise (con’t)

I mentioned the surprise. It really was a surprise. Never saw it coming.

But before the surprise was cake. Cakes, I should say

Our wedding cake was beautiful. And delicious. And demolished. And someone took a picture of that. Or, more accurately, someone took a picture of Jeff’s sister, Sally’s friend and I dealing with the aftermath and creating more laughter.

Towards the end of the wedding, I learned that the smallest layer of cake, on top, was traditionally saved for the first anniversary. It successfully went home with Jeff’s mom, and carefully made it into the freezer.

A year later, it was as flat as a pancake. Somehow, it had migrated to the bottom of the chest and was subjected to the weight of anything that might have required freezing. Jeff’s mom was greatly disappointed and apologetic when she discovered it.

It was Jeff’s idea to go the grocer and purchase a small round with yellow icing roses, which was as close as they had to orange roses. We requested “1st Anniversary’” be added in orange, which turned out to be red because there was no orange.

When we showed up with it, Sally laughed delightedly, teared-up, and then giggled when Jeff royally announced, “It’s time to eat cake!”

Cake was distributed – and, as now was J & J tradition, my plate had an extra-large dollop of icing scraped from Jeff’s piece.

A Groom’s cake was another thing I knew nothing about. But, I was assured it was a thing way back when we purchased the race car cake pan. The cake turned out spectacularly. The fondant “stickers” and the accessories were perfect.

Not nearly as perfect as the enthusiasm shared by Jeff and his best man, as they cut the cake together and proceeded to the feeding. That’s another one of my favorite pictures, because it reminds me of how easy it was and how much fun it was to get drawn into Jeff’s enthusiasm.

The last surprise was a wonderful one. Jeff and I were led to folding chairs in the middle of the dance floor. As we sat, our families and friends began to gather around us. Most everyone had a small piece of paper with them. Those who didn’t, shared.

We were still baffled… until the singing started. We sat there amazed and touched; smiling and crying, surrounded by a not-so-impromptu choir organized by my family.

There were only 3 pictures in the stash of developed disposables. One is a barely distinguishable crowd of crooners, one is fairly clear picture of us being confused; one is clearly full of love.

I still feel the joy of that picture. The boisterous singing is what I recall every time I hear that song. What a wonderful uninhibited gift to wrap things up.

Going to the Chapel. Yes, we did.

Quote for the Week:

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This song: Going to the Chapel

Bonus: Cakes and C

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Ball, Chain, Toss, Catch, Cake and a Surprise

Things went pretty smoothly after that.

There was the delish dinner, more dancing, cake cutting, traditional garter and bouquet tosses, customary ball & chain and an adorable surprise.

I guess I didn’t realize that the term ‘ball and chain,’ can hold a really a negative connotation. For this particular group of friends and family, it was actually a playful right-of-marriage-passage.

The groom knew it would be coming, and so did most the brides. So, when the groomsmen and friends corralled Jeff to chain the real bowling ball to his leg, I wasn’t surprised. I don’t think anyone was surprised, at least not on Jeff’s side of the family.

You see, the heavy ball, light-weight but sturdy plastic chain and real lock and key came as a set, passed down from each married couple, who’d save it for the next. In some of the photos you can see the names written on the legacy.

The beauty of it was, that the bride was immediately given the key and the task of symbolic loving release. How long she let her beloved tote that thing around wasn’t really indicative of anything but fun.

I only let Jeff tote it around long enough to be sure he had his fun with it.

I don’t know who has the ball now. I hope someone is saving it for their children’s wedding.

The bouquet toss was a little bit of a scramble when we realized that the toss bouquet was embedded in the top of the cake. I ended up grabbing a smaller and very pointy attendant’s, nobody got their eye poked out so, that was good.

The garter was the most normal thing about our wedding. Except, I don’t know the young lady who caught the bouquet and was subsequently gartered.

Anyone have a clue? I’d love to know….

Quote for the Week:

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Bonus Photos:

Nannee noticed the ritual beginning, the putting on, the carrying,t he assist from Sally and the unlocking. One thing though, where’d that extra hand on Jeff’s waist come from?

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Who’s that girl?

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Not Quite The Dance

If it seems like I have a lot of ‘Dad’ stories, it’s because I do. Most resulted from his stubbornness, but some resulted from mine. Inherited, it seems.

Please, understand I’m not implying that my father ruined my wedding in any sort of way. Yes, at the time he frustrated me, but there ended up being so many golden memorable moments.  These moments still make me shake my head. But, also make me smile. That is what is important.

Thank goodness we had a photographer that knew what she was doing. Again, I’d never done this before; hadn’t even been a bridesmaid, so I was clueless.

Before the wedding, Jeff and I went with her to a park to capture the fall colors. Then, back at the venue, (bar sounds so icky, now,) the pre-wedding shots continued: families, bridesmaids, groomsmen, groups and individual, first dances, and portraits.

By the end of our wedding festivities, I understood why we’d needed to take these close-up photos at the peak of appearances, and of course, what sort of things could go wrong at weddings.

I also am grateful I have dance pictures with my father, because, well… that didn’t go as planned, either.

Oxygen related, again, when it came time for the Son and Mother and Daughter and Father dance, I went to collect him. He made a request, which I denied. He wanted to dance right where we were. I did not want to dance beside the dinner table where he sat.

The song was not an unusual choice, which is why we chose it. It’s the kind of song most everyone associates with happy occasions. Neither of us realized that, after a while, life would change our happiness into bittersweet memories.

So, my Dad followed me to the dance floor without his portable. Akin to holding his breath, he lasted less than a minute then hurriedly scurried back to his chair, leaving me standing alone on the parquet. This was not quite the dance I’d envisioned.

I’m only guesstimating on the 60 seconds, but that seems about right based on what happened next.

I glanced toward Jeff. With his back to me, he and Sally were more talking than dancing. I realized without her wheelchair, she was struggling, too.

My now Father-in-Law (whom I wasn’t sure was truly my father-in-law, yet, because I wasn’t sure we were truly married, yet,) had been watching from the side. I was still processing that I had been necessarily abandoned, when he stepped forward, opening his arms. Suddenly, I was dancing again.

At about another 30 second mark, my Uncle Sheldon tapped Roger’s shoulder, requesting to cut-in.  I was handed off, and continued the dance with the man who had managed to speed to the hospital faster than my father was able to get there from his job when it was clear I was about to be born.

These are precious memories, and sad ones, as well. I realize now, that it probably wouldn’t have mattered where we danced, because we already had professional shots. I just stubbornly wanted to dance on the dance floor with my father, next to my husband and his mother.

I can’t imagine what my father was feeling watching me finish the dance from the sidelines. I wish he hadn’t had to. I wish I’d have had as much of a dance with him as possible.

Quote for the Week:

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Follow this Week’s discovery Links:

It is: Louis Armstrong’s Wonderful World Bio

They are: Precious Memories   (I don’t know why my parents had a gospel compilation record, but I played it often. I’m not at all sure who sang this song on that record. Might have been Tennessee Ernie Ford, but Jim Reeves’ version sounds most like my memory.)

If I could do it again: Dance With My Father

Bonus:  PS – I don’t believe Nannee was wearing her oxygen for her dance with Jeff, either.

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