Greetings from Grand Camp! One week every summer our granddaughters come for the week. We always start with a short business meeting around the kitchen table. This is when we write out a list of everything we intend to do.
So far we have 11 things on the list. They range from building a miniature golf course to learning the Ten Commandments. The last one is their Sunday School class assignment, not my idea. We got them signed up for swimming lessons. They’ve already had a water balloon fight and made something out of paper mache’. And the miniature golf course got a lot more miniature when they decided on only two holes. The rest of the list is fairly easy; things like bowling and going to Chuck E Cheese.
In other generation-bridging events this past week I went into Garland early Saturday to help Elizabeth give a bridal luncheon. Emily and I worked in the background as cooks/maids so Elizabeth could concentrate on being the perfect hostess. Somewhere between the Shrimp Puffs and the pita bread crisps we realized we really work well together. And it was nice to help Elizabeth out for a change—it’s usually the other way around. Then that night we went to see Sex and the City followed by dinner. A great day, no?
I fell in love with one of the minor songs from the movie and ended up ordering the whole soundtrack when I couldn’t get the single of “Auld Lang Syne.” The version sung in the movie is in a Scottish dialect, the way it is supposed to be sung. If you wait until the end of the movie like we did and check out the music credits, it gives the name of the songwriter as “Robert Burns.” Yes, the poet. I guess it proves what an absolute nerd I am but I love the way this song is sung. But I also loved the movie so I guess I’m not an uptight nerd. Let me reassure anyone who loved the TV show that the movie does not disappoint. It was perfect.
Since the kids are here underfoot I won't have time to write anything very profound so I’m going to punt today and leave you with one of my oldest essays. I wrote it after Emily got married. I was quite the expert by then. If you ever need wedding advice, just ask me.--
Neither one of my girls got married in June. Instead, they got married within a five month time span. This made it a lot easier to plan Emily’s wedding since Elizabeth’s had been so recent. All we had to do was call the florist, photographer, caterer and basically ask for what we had done a mere five months prior. In some cases we learned valuable lessons the first time around and made a few changes. But in some case we didn’t learn a damned thing and made the same stupid mistake all over again. I offer wisdom we learned the hard way. I guess if we had a third daughter we’d have the perfect wedding. Yeah, right.
· Brides: Let your mother run the show. She’s waited all your life for this occasion, since the moment of your birth. She started planning this wedding the day she brought you home from the hospital. Your name was probably chosen based on how it would look on the invitation
· Mothers: Let your daughter run the show. She’s read about a billion brides magazines and knows what she wants--she wants the wedding just like the one the millionaire on Long Island had last spring with the string quartet and the orchid canopy. But, she’s also probably helping to pay for it and it’s her money.
· Men: Let the women run the show. Your job is to show up in the rented tux and keep your mouth shut. If you possibly can, try to look interested. If not, avoid giving any kind of negative opinion. You have no idea what you’re talking about and nobody really cares what you think. How many weddings have you planned?
· Relax. Somebody, sometime, will screw up. Expect it. Accept it. Apologize, if needed. Move on.
· Allot a certain number of nervous breakdowns. Keep track of them. Pace yourself so you don’t use them all up before the big day.
· Try not to let nervous breakdowns upset you. If the bride wants to throw the ice cream sandwich across the room because she’s late to go taste the cake, just smile and point out that she appears a little upset. You might tell her gently “This looks like you may be having one of your 10 allotted breakdowns, dear.” But don’t say anything else.
· Invite everybody you can think of. It’s better to be accused of trolling for gifts than accused of being a snob.
· Be kind to your feet. Wear tennis shoes as much as you can, even up to 15 minutes before the ceremony is permissible. (Try not to appear in public like this, however).
· Avoid heavy medications and/or alcohol. You want to be able to remember all this and you certainly don’t want to embarrass anybody.
· Forget about eating at the reception. It won’t happen. Yes, you did pay a lot of money for this food. Plan instead to eat twice as much at the next wedding you attend.
· Put those disposable cameras at the reception tables. It’s the best money spent with the greatest payback. One warning, however: keep them out of the hands of the 9 year old cousin from out of town, otherwise you could spend your money on 86 fuzzy pictures of various food trays, the ice sculpture and the serving guys.
· Have the ceremony recorded some way, either audio or video. Later, when your spouse claims you promised to deliver fresh squeezed orange juice every morning, you will have a record of what you really did say in your vows.
· Have a roll of tape handy at the reception. Make sure each gift has a card firmly attached to it before the cousins start throwing them into the back of the van. Duct tape is not too extreme for this job. It saves you from trying to match up loose cards to gifts a week later after the honeymoon and thanking someone for the wrong gift. After the reception is over, nobody cares what the packages look like anymore. Use the duct tape.
· Look at it this way: The wedding ceremony is really a celebration of two people that have, hopefully, grown into adults. They will be surrounded by the folks who helped raise them and other people who have an interest in their lives; people who are very proud of them. The reception is your way to thank this extended family for being part of all this.
· After it’s all over, sit back the next evening and prop your feet up. Take stock of all that you’ve done: scouts, braces, football games, college and, now, a wedding. You’re through. Go ahead and cry.