In retrospect, preparing for the wedding wasn’t quite as easy as I thought it would be. Because my middle name is Procrastinate, all the little things crawled out of the cracks during the last week. On the other hands, most of those things couldn’t have been done earlier.
Fortunately for me, reinforcements arrived on the Tuesday before the wedding: an angel by the name of Reema. Always did wonder what that name meant. Now I know. It had been years since Fred, Reema and I had made our pact that if anything happened to Fred or me while the girls were growing up, she would move in with the remaining one and help us raise them. She never had to do that, but she more than fulfilled her godmother duties by trekking me here and there to pick up all those last-minute items like the glads, snapdragons and daisies our garden no longer held in quantity, and the ribbons to tie around said flowers. She carried the heavy stuff, insisted I take it easy on the shoulder, gave me massages on a daily basis, sorted through her mom’s things until she found the exact tablecloth we needed and was quick to offer a hug when I was feeling stressed.
A few days later, the second round of reinforcements arrived…my big brother, John, and his wife, Rachel. She’d promised to finish up Anne’s dress by removing all my little basting stitches. What a relief! She and John had also agreed to make the watermelon baskets. I found out later that they watched several videos explaining the process before they cut into the “practice” melon. Apparently, my sister-in-law, Helen, and my 8-year-old niece, Kendra, helped with cutting up the fruit — Kendra was entranced by the melon baller.
My next worry was how Fred would get the tables and chairs, but when it came time to fetch the tables from the church, and the chairs from the funeral home, two more big bros, Phil and Tom, offered their muscle power. In fact, they also offered to return early Sunday morning to help return the tables before Sunday school. Good thing….we’d have slept straight through SS had they not called us at 8 a.m. from our back yard.
Friday afternoon as I was trying to stay cool while drying my hair — read, not wearing much so as not to sweat…another sis-in-law, Karen, showed up. Boy, was I glad to see her for a few reasons — mostly just because I love her but also because she calmed me down (we spent time trying on sandals when I should have been dressing), but also because her arrival meant that my other big bro, James — our key musician (i.e., keyboardist and vocalist) had arrived with his Kurzweil. That in itself was a miracle — or so I thought. James and Karen had had problems finding the battery in the keyboard and finally scoured the Internet to figure out the replacement process.
I’m still trying to figure out how I got so lucky to have such wonderful brothers and sisters-in-law. Somehow they found time in their busy schedules to travel from all over (AZ, Kansas, and Virginia) not only to attend the wedding, but to lend support. When I was a kid and they were teasing me nonstop, calling my names like Mirpeth, and insisting that the cat’s name was Felix, not my favored Fluff, I would never have believed I’d someday be glad to see them!
About that time, the food began to arrive for the wedding…much of which was donated by friends and relatives. One sister-in-law brought three pies, my 87-year-old mother baked three pies with REAL crust, my beloved running partner fulfilled Anne’s request for the same butterscotch cookies she’d baked for Anne’s graduation party, another friend made 500 mints, my friend/cousin-in-law baked (at a last-minute request) some gluten-free fudge brownies, and Nick’s sister baked the wedding cake and cupcakes.
Thanks to Dave Andersen — Nick’s dad, and the officiating minister — the rehearsal went off without a hitch. Nick’s mom, Ellen, was right when she said Dave does the best weddings. Of course, we might have been behaving because we knew that Jeannie Previte was waiting for us at her restaurant — just the perfect ending to a fun day, and a great way to relax for the day to come. Anne and Nick were good sports as we all told stories about them and offered toasts in their honor.
As everyone cleared out and headed home, Anne, Lindsay, Fred and I got to spend the night alone with each other although I’ll admit Fred and I crashed long before the two of them. We drifted off to sleep as the two of them giggled and hooted from the attic, where they were sorting through their “stuff” and sifted through childhood memories that only the two of them truly understand. For Fred and me, it was yet another reminder that we must have done something right during their childhoods to make them such good friends.