Our G-d-daughters had their wedding this weekend. At a retreat in the Catskills. POB (partner of blogger) and I were leading the ceremony. SOS (our son, source of sanity) was the usher.
The weekend was fabulous. The brides were beautiful. It was such a happy occasion.
Ok, enough of that. Now, my take on some key events in the weekend:
The rehearsal was called for 4 pm on Friday, so we set out on Friday morning. The place was about 3 hours north of New York City. Not quite above the tree line, but north of most measures of civilization. It is in area hard hit by the economy and by the summer’s hurricane.
And no cell coverage. Imagine being without access for 48 hours. Nearly irreconcilable co-existence of serenity and extreme agitation.
We were told that the turn-off to the dirt road that would take us to the inn/camp site, would have a “road closed” sign and we were just supposed to ignore it. Pause. WHAAAAAT?
“Oh, yeah, and it would be good if your car had all wheel drive.” (This is a picture of the road AFTER we arrived and the work men had graded the road.) The pot holes in some places could swallow up a Mini Cooper.
We drove along the road in our sissy four door sedan, while the work men were trying to guide us toward to more “packed” dirt. How NICE FOR US.
And, it was so sad to see the damage sustained by this community from the hurricane (let alone what the nor-easter was about to bring this weekend).
A house had slid off its foundation, almost into the road, as a result of the August hurricane. It was a tragic sight. But, at least, the owners found some morbid humor in it all (the sign reads, “For Sale. Flexible Price”).
We arrived at the Inn and extended grounds. Note to brides: When Jews say we don’t camp, we mean it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WJLFcRdjW4o&feature=channel_video_title. Still, because we love you, we camped (ok, it was a cabin with a working kitchen):
Good thing, it was so picturesque.
The inn doesn’t really serve food on the fly, so when we were hungry for lunch, the concierge directed us to the Norman Bates (as in “Psycho”) deli, all the way back down the dirt road.
There was very little food there and there was a for sale sign on the building. We decided that we would rather find a diner than eat anything in this place, so we asked the slightly crazed looking woman who was chopping meat behind the counter in the dark about a restaurant. “We don’t have much in the way of food around here. But if you go up the road a ways, there’ll be something.” Well, all right-y then.
At 4 pm, the wedding party and the officiants (us) proceeded to the lower fields. When I asked for directions, someone pointed in a direction and said, “down yonder, a ways.” (It may have been one of the brides.) It was beautiful place and there was a babbling brook. If it were, say, 20 degrees warmer, it would have been chilly and lovely. At that moment, however, it was bone-chilling cold.
The brides also had us practice in a tent in case there was snow.
No decision on the venue until the morning. We had a barbeque rehearsal dinner (in a slightly heated tent, no fire) and a campfire (outdoors, with fire).
At the barbeque, the bartender had the gauged-out ears (the rings that make a hole you can drive a truck through and that make middle-age women a little sick) and was heavily tattooed. I saw the FEAR spelled out on the four fingers of one hand. I had to ask, “what does the other hand say?” It said HOPE, which I thought was a good sign. As it turned out, this guy was the sweetest, most helpful guy the whole weekend. So, yes, I did learn something.
SOS wanted to get back to the cabin because he was afraid that the Yeti would do a home invasion. One of the brides assured me that one of her aunts probably had the “technology” necessary to protect us if necessary. I kept that information confidential (until now) because I thought that would freak out our sissy family.
I went over the ceremony I had planned and X-ed out anything superfluous. When everyone is freezing, an extra few words can mean pneumonia.
The compromise was that we would have the ceremony in the tent but the back flap (the one behind the bridal parties and me) would be open so we could see nature’s beauty. And it was indeed a winter wonderland. It was magnificent. The tent was not heated. There was already 5 inches on the ground and it was 30 degrees in the tent. One bride and her attendants were wearing strapless gowns. I had six layers, and heavy storm boots and thermal socks. I was still dancing around to stay warm. People were shivering. POB read her part and I truncated a fair amount of my prepared remarks. It was the LEAST I could do.
When the brides were “recessing”, the attendants looked to me for the proper order of recessional. My answer, “RUN!”
The wedding reception and dinner were fabulous. First, it was warm. The food looked really great, especially the local grass-fed beef. That is, until one of the waitstaff said, “I raised that cow myself”. Showing immense restraint (because I have that way of picking at a scab), I did not ask the cow’s name. It was hard eating some animal you kind of/sort of know in a post-mortem, creepy way.
So, there were some crazy moments, AND it was fabulous. POB and I are still over the moon about the weekend. The people who trekked to this remote place are a hardy bunch. Everyone there wanted to be part of this event. A little cold wasn’t going to scare them. That love and joy carried through from Friday to Sunday and warmed an otherwise frigid weekend.
Love and family made us warm. The weather be damned.