Monday, June 13, 2005

Allison’s marriage to Joe was celebrated at the farm in Connecticut with a good and lovely time. After years of talking on the phone and e-mailing I flew to New York to meet her for the first time and it was like meeting a long lost family member. This weekend just confirmed that she is indeed my sister from another mother and I feel so blessed to have been there as she took this step.

Because getting married is a big deal!

There’s so much to tell about the whole experience, from landing in Boston, to arriving home again, that I’m going to do an outline while I still have pretty fresh memories to tap into and then I can always and come back and flesh out the best bits.

I got to Boston on Thursday night and was met by Aaron, who I knew immediately, although we’ve never met. He taught me the html to link when I started writing here, but anyway, I just saw him as I came down the hallway and thought, “Oh there he is!”

We went to dinner at the most amazing tapas restaurant I’ve ever been to, and I could seriously write a whole entry about that meal, and I most likely will so I need to mention that along with the fabulous bottle of red wine we ordered pork sausage with what tasted like a balsamic vinegar reduction with figs, pork tenderloin smothered in a blue sheep’s cheese and carmelized onions, meaty marinated mushrooms, sauteed artichoke hearts, beef tenderloin on toasted sourdough, topped with roasted red pepper and a decadent chocolate tort for dessert.

Went back to Aaron’s and blew through another bottle of wine and I smoked almost my whole “I just like to drink when I smoke” pack of cigarettes. Yeah, no kidding! It’s a good thing the wine made me so lah-di-dah, I can party like I'm 15, because the Lactaid I took didn’t work and I kept running back and forth to the bathroom for episodes of intestinal distress that are so not the first impression you want to make on someone – even if you feel like you’ve known them forever and they’re super cool.

Woke up Friday feeling pretty much shattered due to a severe, time release hangover, and sucked down a litre of water and three super strength Excedrin, then swam in slow motion through a shower and into the car where I squinted and read directions to get us to Middletown where our hotel accommodations were located. And I have to say that even in the haze Massachusetss and Connecticut are really pretty states.

It was in Middletown that I began to be really aware of the level of humidity in the air. And it wasn’t even that bad, but for a girl from California where we are really spoiled weather wise it was a bit disconcerting. Have to say that all that moisture makes for a glowing complexion. Or zits. Depending on your perspective.

After grabbing lunch we headed to Higgenam and the 100 acre farm that Joe is lucky enough to live. As we came up the drive I saw a huge red barn, rolling green lawns, gravel road and a real farm house with a screen door that slams. I think that the original owners started with a very small house and over the years rooms have been added on so it sprawls in a very charming farmy kind of way. I walked into the kitchen/living room that smells like my Nana’s garage and overflowed with all kinds of wonderful collectibles and piles and piles of stuff. Alli was busily prepping food for the feeding of her 150 guests, because, YES! Allison and Joe catered their own wedding.

Don’t try that yourself. She's tell you that if she were sitting next to me right now.

Luckily there were a plethora of pals – the totally awesome kind who come and help – and they were all busily working around the land doing various list items. Allison had four pages of lists because she's very organized, and for someone who is not on medication, she was very calm. Aaron and I jumped in.

He got the cleaning and boiling of 30 pounds of potatoes. Did I mention how humid it was? And what a prince he is?

I was sent down to the root cellar, so cool and cavelike and good old house smelling, it made me want to can tomatoes or make jam. Jen was down there doing the flower arrangements for the tables. I have been visiting Jen’s site for probably the last couple of years, but I really had no idea what to expect, because she is more circumspect when she writes than I am, e.g. she doesn’t overshare and write long self involved posts. I am delighted to say that she is another member of my tribe, a long lost, not yet met sister friend who I had soooooo much fun with that I will have to write about in another entry. And now I so totally want her to write self involved, too much information filled posts because she's hysterical and witty as well as wise.

I got pulled off flowers and put on lemons and limes and then Andrew aka Magic Fingers (he is a genius on the classical guitar) and his wife Kristin arrived.

And as I chopped cilantro Robert and his girlfriend Pesya arrived. They got scallions and then when the potatoes were all cooled Jen, Robert and Aaron sliced'em all and it was at that point that we decided that we should all pick our spice names. Out of left field, I know, and I can't deny that the chorus, "If you wanna be my lover," passed through my head, but it’s a fun ball to run down the field with. Especially when Aaron picks Cumin. Heh.

After that potato salad was mixed, corn salad was put together and so was durable salad and then the green beans were started and I just can’t even write about it because while they were super tasty they were a pain in Allison’s butt, and I know she’ll read this and I don’t want to remind her.

We hauled all the food up to the barn and by now there was beer and pizza and Les and his fiance Tanda had arrived. Dave and Cat came down from the barn where they’d been making signs and stuff that required a creative hand. Buck arrived with kegs.

The wedding wing ding was so on.

We hung around drinking and smoking and discussing the merits of a complete bikini wax vs. brazilian vs. landing strip and that of course led to a discourse on manscaping and the optical illusion of enhanced endowment when there is less man hair down there. And then somehow we got onto Indian Guide princess names – Kristen was Prairie Dawn, daughter of Squatting Bull and Jen was Rainbow Dawn? Hmmmm something Rainbow, daughter of Big Cloud. And that still makes me laugh. Rainbow. Big Cloud. Get it?

After horking pizza and beer we went back to the hotel and passed out at midnight, which is incredibly early for Aaron who is nocturnal by nature. I am an in bed by 10pm person who likes to sleep with the curtains open so as better to welcome the day. He likes the black out blinds and since he had been such a complete prince I only argued my point briefly before submitting.

I woke up at 6am, but made myself go back to sleep because I couldn’t read in the dark and figured the TV would wake him up. I had the weirdest dream, you know like you do when you only go back to sleep for a few hours? So when I woke up at 9am I was dying to tell him all about my weird dream. But you know I could tell he totally didn’t care and in fact he got dressed really fast and went to “get coffee.” I was in the shower when he slipped in and left my non-fat latte with the pink stuff on the dresser and then escaped again before I emerged and started talking. But by then I had forgotten most of my dream and I think that was his plan.

Some people need to ease into their day.

We had breakfast at the counter of the Ford News diner which is owned, I think, by this hilarious Asian woman who was sitting next to me when we first got there and then got behind the counter to cook. She clearly knew all her customers and when a group of people came in who were probably part of the myriad wedding celebrations in Middletown, seriously, it seemed like everyone we saw was wearing wedding wear or carrying a garment bag containing same, so anyway, she hollered to the guys sitting at the big table in the back, “Hey you old guys, move! These people need your table.”

After breakfast it was back to the farm for countdown. Aaron took off to practice the ceremony. He’s a minister. From the Universal Life Church. Pretty cool, huh? I think it's great that someone who really knows you can do that ceremony for you.

I took my blue jeaned clad ass up to the barn to help with the setting up of the food tables, the bar, the table cloths, etc. So, you know the humidity? Well, if you wear blue jeans when it’s really hot and humid it won’t take long before it feels like you’re walking around in warm, wet pants and that feels as bad as it sounds.

At about 1 o’clock I ran down to the root cellar and pulled my pants down around my ankles just to get a little relief from the "hey I wet my pants" sensation. I was talking to Jen who was working on creating a bouquet for Allison out of what had arrived from the florist. She didn’t like it so we made her one and Jen said, “I’m not sure about this, but I think she’ll like it because it’s homemade.” And she was right. And it was way better than the foofy thing that the florist did. And we had a flower for Joe's buttonierre.

Oh, and the guys that were walking back from taking a swim down the road all strolled past as I was standing there with my pants around my ankles. These are friendships that are forged in the kind of immediate intimacy that you get when you’re camping and it’s hot. Let me tell ya.

Guests started arriving and Allison got her make up on, Joe got in his tux and put the bow tie on Siri, his dog who was going to be standing up with him. Jen and I got ready and then did Allison’s hair and helped her get in her dress and walked her up the road to where Carol and Tom were waiting to walk her up the hill to the gazebo and give her away while Etta James sang “At Last.”

We all gathered around and listened to them read the vows they’d written to each other and I cried. It was short and very sweet which was good because it was also kinda warm. Then everyone went back down the hill for BBQ and all that great food. We lounged around tables set up under apple trees while kids (and grown ups) made cotton candy and there was much bouncing in the bouncy castle.

Then the band arrived and played Bluegrass, blues and jug band music till it got dark. They had a woman who played the kazoo. Dude – it was awesome.

They had a couple of Polaroid cameras with the following instructions: Please take a picture of yourself, paste it on a page of the book and write us a message. And everyone did that and wrote the nicest things.

And then Jen and I got the camera and found props and so they have many pages of incriminating photos of us and anyone else we could get to go along with our fun. Like James who is sitting astride Joe’s Norton motorcycle wearing a helmut and clutching a knife with a sign that says “Ice your own cupcake.” And he’s a cupcake you’d want to ice so that was a good picture.

There were also some pictures of us worshipping the deerhead that Aaron found in the woods. We’re kneeling before him, with citronella torches aloft, as he holds the head at crotch level and we are, well, worshipping it. And we weren’t really drunk so those pictures will probably still be hilarious in years to come. Although maybe not if your grandma is looking at the wedding album.

The night wound down and the guitars came out for some blues and country singing and about half past midnight Aaron and I left our team spicy members and went back to Boston so I could fly home Sunday morning.

It was like leaving camp at the end of the summer. You’re tired and you know it’s time to go, but you don’t want to leave your new friends and the magic that you made and shared. And thank God Jen is an amazing photographer who’s going to send me a disc with pictures on it, and that I found my camera so I could take some pictures too, and that I wasn’t wasted so I could remember as much as I do and write it down here.

That was the best wedding EVER! And I think they should do it again next year and every year to come.

You know like wedding camp.

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