The sun rose on a sunny, August morning, as a vague bluish haze settled over the Sierra Nevadas—a perfect day for a wedding. The bridal couple dressed separately, each tended to by close friends and family. Claire perched patiently on a stool, wedding face emerging as the makeup artist brushed and patted. (“When did she get to be a beauty?”) The bridesmaids, dressed in matching flannel robes, lounged on the bed nearby. Riva, black Lab of the bride, sat at Claire’s feet waiting for attention.
In Vinny’s quarters, Laureen, mother-of-the-groom, steam-pressed his pleated white shirt and blue tuxedo pants. (“When did he grow to be so tall?”) The men got down to work, ironing, fastening buttons and studs—the groomsmen manipulating bow ties, the fathers adjusting the knots and length of grown-up ties. “Do you know how to work this iron?” “Did anyone bring aspirin?” “Do I really have to wear shoes without socks?”
Using a knitting needle, Ginny, mother-of-the-bride, carefully fastened the long row of covered buttons running down the back of Claire’s lacey white dress. In a nearby bathroom, an emergency alteration was in progress as a passerby stitched a bridesmaid into her dress. “Anybody have some duck tape?” “Did you see my shoes?” “Who’s got the dog?” Music and the murmur of wedding guests filtered into the dressing rooms, adding to the anticipation.
The ceremony was held outdoors with North Lake Tahoe as the backdrop. The bride arrived in a speed boat, the wedding officials (“with power vested in us by the internet”) were friends of the couple, the flower girl rolled down the aisle in a Radio Flyer wagon, both Ron and Ginny walked Claire down the aisle, a dark storm cloud threatened to disrupt proceedings but thought better of it, and after heartfelt promises were exchanged, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.
Once we dried our tears, we moved over to the Gar Woods Grill & Pier for wedding food. Passed appetizers included mini-shrimp tacos, poke won tons, and mozzarella/roasted-vegetable skewers, with entree choices of salmon, filet mignon, or roasted chicken. Ron, father of the bride and expert wine maker, created a blend of Vashon and Napa-grown grapes for a special wedding wine, the “Cuvine Wedding Blend”, which was given to each guest in a mini-bottle with commemorative label.
After dinner, there was dancing, toasting, storytelling, singing, hugging, and an all around good time. True warriors celebrated til midnight and beyond; wimps, like the Sweetie and I, left for bed while visions of wedded bliss danced in our head.
I flipped through my mental calendar pages, remembering: a smudged-face toddler wandering barefoot through Ginny’s garden; three-year old Anna and Claire playing Barbies on a blanket in Muth’s yard, a nine-year old, pink-nosed bunny at my front door in her Halloween costume, a twelve-year old soccer star rocketing down the soccer pitch, a jubilant young woman in a green Vashon graduation gown, an intelligent, professional helping me decide how to fix my wrist pain. (“Wasn’t it yesterday when they were small?”)
And while I remember, Claire and Vinny anticipate—their return home as a married couple, a honeymoon in Italy, their first, twelfth, twentieth, etc. anniversaries, holding hands in the dark, morning coffee, Christmas dinners, summer vacations, private jokes, the compromises, the joys of a long history together, being a family, and building a life—“one season following an other, laden with happiness and tears.”