Tapering off weeks of wedding prep

The "Towny" is a little white Yamaha moped. It sits now by the front door of this farmhouse, somewhat in shock at the sudden inactivity. Well, I told it, The Next Wedding is over, the nieces and nephews are all gone, so you're going back into the...

The "Towny" is a little white Yamaha moped. It sits now by the front door of this farmhouse, somewhat in shock at the sudden inactivity.

Well, I told it, The Next Wedding is over, the nieces and nephews are all gone, so you're going back into the shed into retirement once again.

"Whew," it replied, "why don't you race me down to the end of the driveway and back like they did nonstop for the past week, just a couple of times, kind of taper me off the action just a little bit?" I understood what he meant. I felt the same way. It was quiet around here for the first time in weeks. Everyone was gone. The kids? They'd put four tanks of gas through Towny. It's never had four tanks of gas put through it. There's even a circular rut down at the end of the driveway where they turned it around.

Back a year ago, when A Daughter and her future husband and I had stood down in the wedding hollow, I guess I knew a moment would come when it would all be over. I determined then that I would pack every moment full.

So I asked him: "Since you've been a carpenter summers to get through school, why don't you come a month early and tear that old porch off the house and we'll build an addition there?"


While you're at it, I added, let's gut those two upstairs bedrooms so the urethane foam insulation people can come and insulate everything at the same time. Then, we'll figure out how to move that gazebo and deck down into the hollow.

Okay. Maybe in hindsight, I over packed those moments. He'd probably agree. But he was kind of over a barrel. The Daughter wouldn't be coming home until the week before The Next Wedding, so it was him and me, and I had to teach through the third week of June, so, unless he wanted to spend his wedding night sleeping on the lawn, he had to get this stuff done.

It's the best barrel I've ever had a carpenter over, you have to admit.

He spent the first two weeks certain we'd get everything done, and I kind of wondered if we would; we changed position at the midpoint. "I don't know if we're going to make it," said he, then. "Sure we will," said I. And we did. The Next Wedding was on a Saturday; we had the upstairs bedrooms rocked, painted, and trimmed back out by the weekend before. We had the addition finished outside and rocked inside, far enough.

Packed every moment. Three days before The Next Wedding, the daughter who was baking the wedding cake came home and sequestered herself in the garage with a gas range that I had installed out there, special for the cake project. "I'll need lots of cooler space, dad," she had warned me. Got it, I told her.

What I didn't got was enough electrical circuits to run everything at once. That was more than one packed moment, rewiring the garage. Plus what with the heat that the coolers emitted, the heat from the cook stove, and the heat from the weather, ventilation required some fan installation. Another packed moment.

The daughter who was making the wedding dress came home three days before The Next Wedding, and locked herself in one of the bedrooms upstairs, and proceeded to build a dress, whatever that entails. It must entail quite a bit: In the next three days, I only saw her once before I saw her as a bridesmaid, down in the wedding hollow.

I saw Towny a lot more, either from the rear as it was going down the driveway, or from the front, as it was speeding back into the yard.


"Where are we going to park two hundred cars, dad?"

Two hundred? There might be two hundred?

"We sent out three hundred invitations,dad." "Dad?" "Are you okay?"

Oh, yes. Dad's okay. He can build a parking lot, easy. He'll just get right to it.

"And," said A Daughter, "wouldn't an outdoor shower be nice?" Uh huh. It would be.

The three tents arrived, and at midnight, the night before The Next Wedding, we all watched as a storm did it's best to blow them into the next county, but they held. How, I don't know. I do know that there weren't many campers left out in the yard. They all moved into the house. "We need chairs for the tent, dad."

And then it was time. The Next Wedding arrived, accompanied by perfect weather. At six in the evening, the guests were seated down in the wedding hollow, in front of the gazebo. There were wild flowers in vases lined up beside the white cloth walkway leading down the grassy slope of the hill, through the apple trees. There were more flowers around the gazebo. Five bridesmaids standing on the left; five groomsmen standing on the right; the minister and the groom standing in the center--all looking expectantly up the hill. Looking up at me bringing my youngest down to the greatest moment a dad can pack into a lifetime.

I remember supper. I remember the cousin who's a drummer, the cousin who's a guitar player, the cousin who sings, and me, we played. I remember the other band, who took over when we finished. A marvelous wedding dress that lit up later when it got dark. A remarkable cake that stood two feet tall. Hundreds of people. Dancing.


People arriving; people leaving. Cleaning up. The rest of the weekend. Some fishing. Some cutthroat croquet in the yard. And then the moments were all gone.

"C'mon," I told Towny, "one trip down the driveway, just for a moment." One more.

Just to taper off a little.

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