WEDDING REHEARSAL

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Sometimes I try to dress the part.  It was a wedding reception and I really didn’t know what to expect in terms of dress code.  I should have asked, but I didn’t.  I momentarily gave it some thought and then opted to dispense with wearing a tie.  Some folks (many) think of them as obsolete. However, to be on the safe side, a sports coat might be in order.

I checked my mirror image before I walked out the door to get in my truck. I looked sharp.  Although the sports coat is two or three years old, I’d never worn it before. It looked nice; it really did.  I made a mental note that I needed to wear it more often. I then smiled. Wear it where?  I’m retiring. My days of wearing starched ironed shirts, dress slacks and Italian leather shoes are almost over.  For better or worse, that train has already left the station. 

As it turned out, the wedding venue was only about eleven miles from where I live. I had never heard of it and truthfully, without GPS I probably never would have found it.  To say that it is in the middle of nowhere would be doing it a disservice.  It is on the periphery of being remote and is one of the most tranquil and picturesque wedding venues I’ve ever seen.

The drive from the road toward the event center is mostly a cliché-based gravel road.  It is not unlike many in the country, but it goes on and on and on.  It would make a great beginners ski slope on the outside chance that snow is ever a possibility in this part of Texas.  It happens, but only every decade or so. The roadway was all down hill. 

At one point, before you enter a secondary gate, there is a small parking area with the signage “For Cell Phone Use”.  Who would have thought?  For some reason I could understand the cell phone lot at the airport, but a wedding venue?  Really?  I noticed there was a car parked in that area. I drove by and attempted to peer inside the car, but I didn’t see anyone. 

The next sign caught my attention: “No cell phone coverage or Wifi Beyond This Point”.  I’m slow, but I got the message.  The intent wasn’t to indicate that cell phone usage was prohibited. It was a notification that cell phone usage wasn’t a possibility.  Wow, I said it was on the periphery of being remote, but this is primitive. The road continued to decline.   

Finally I came to a cliché-parking lot.  I could see a large building to my left and another small parking lot.  I walked in that direction.  As I got closer, the parking lot was reportedly for overnight guests.  I kept walking.  Turning a corner, so to speak, the view of the water, the immense green lawn and a very large rustic event center loomed ahead. Wow!  It looked amazing.

The third sign I saw wasn’t as large as the “No Cell Phone Coverage” sign. This one read: “This Is Country – Watch For Snakes”.  My heart skipped a beat.  I had the thought: “These shoes are made for walking”.  Actually, what I really thought was: “These shoes are not made for walking on a gravel pathway like this one.” Strange isn’t it, the kinds of things that pop into your head as you’re walking.

I could hear voices; actually I could hear lots of voices. However, they weren’t coming from the event center. They were coming from my left, but I hadn’t reached the place where I could see anyone.  However, I could see a large number of cars parked up ahead.  I momentarily felt a little envious.  They didn’t have to walk on the gravel pathway in dress shoes.  Like I said, “It really is strange how your mind works.”

Some of you are thinking, “I’m using a pretty broad brush to paint all of you in the same canvas where I find myself.”  Maybe I’m the one that’s weird and my disjointed thought process isn’t a universal experience of everyone?

However, it is of some. If you’re reading this, I bet it is true of your as well. The soon-to-be bride said that early in her relationship with the groom, she overheard him convincingly telling a customer who said she was from Alabama: “I’ve been to Alabama. Actually, I saw my first UFO there.”  The lady was so enamored with his response and he subsequent conversation that ensued that she bought whatever he was selling.   

The bride interrupted it differently.  She said, “I realized that this was one of the craziest @%#& that I’d ever met, but I realized I was falling in love with him”.  It only goes to show you that Leo Buscaglia was right.  He said repeatedly: “If you act crazy consistently, you can get by with damn near anything; otherwise they call the cops.”  That is certainly my modus of operation.  The groom also obviously falls into that same category.

In a brief period the people behind the voices could been seen. Several folks were on a patio.  A couple or four people that I didn’t know appeared to be tossing washers.  The mother of the bride spotted me and met me on the pathway. She thanked me for being there and said: “Come on up”.  “Thanks, but I’m going to go back to the car first and toss this sports coat.”  She smiled.

I met a lot of new people last night. I intuitively liked them all.  The first person I met was a guy named Cole.  I repeated his name three times, so I would remember it.  I explained  to him why I was repeating his name three times.  If I want to file the name in my memory bank, I have to enter the data by repeating it three times.  Seldom to I subsequently get it wrong.

Standing next to Cole was a guy named Demitri.  He goes by Dema.  Being somewhat hearing impaired, I asked him to spell it for me.  I then repeated it with the intent of doing so three times. Before I could do so, Cole interrupted and said: “You didn’t repeat Dema’s name three times”.  I smiled and said: “You didn’t give me time.” However, I subsequently did so. Consequently, I’ve got those two names filed away in my head.  As it turns out, Dema is married to a previous neighbor of ours who is a childhood friend of the brides.  Cole is in a relationship with Elizabeth who previously was a college friend of the bride from Texas A&M.  She and Cole now live in Seattle.

By the way, Cole laughed at the way I pronounced his name.  He asked me how I’d spell it?  I got the spelling correct, but he said, “Everyone in Texas pronounce Cole like it has a “W”. I asked, “So where are you from?”  Are you ready for this?  He grew up in Minnesota. I countered, “I’ve heard how Garrison Keillor describes the dark Lutherans in Minnesota.  In fact, his book Wobegon Boy was one of the funniest books I’ve heard on audio. I laughed until I cried”.

If I had been thinking, I wouldn’t have purposefully spelled Cole’s name “C” “O” “L” “E”.  I would have gone with “C” “O” “A” “L”. Long-story-short, I met a lot of new people last night and I have their names filed away in my memory bank.

All My Best!

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Don

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