Wedding

I have never seen my friend Tim look so happy.  That moment everyone talks about–when the groom first sees the bride start down the aisle–happened just as everyone said it would.  Tim looked as if he were about to cry, explode from happiness, and faint from nervousness all at once.  I almost burst into tears just to see it.  A small edit: I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone look that happy.

Children, that’s the look your partner should have on your wedding day.

The wedding was in a church in Fergus Falls, Minnesota.  I drove from Minneapolis with two friends, and drove from Sauk Centre to Fergus Falls with those same two friends plus Ben.  He still goes to Morris, the lucky dog.  It was a long three and a half hours in the car, punctuated by a visit to Keith’s Kettle for lunch.

Keith’s Kettle is advertised via billboard for about one-hundred miles of highway, and every billboard features a color photograph of Keith himself, smiling and pink-faced.  It has long been a goal of mine to pay a visit to the famed establishment, and now I have.  My chili was actually fairly delicious, if you’re looking for a recommendation.  And we saw Keith himself, greeting diners from the front desk.  He was wearing the exact same polo shirt he wears on the billboards.

When we arrived in Fergus Falls, we piled into the church bathrooms to change.  I called dibs on the shower stall, and was able to shimmy into dress and heels with relative ease.

Then we found the groomsmen, two fellow Morris graduates and former Pine Hall (my freshman dorm) residents, and were brought in to hug the groom before we found our seats.

It was a beautiful, beautiful ceremony, draped with white tulle and navy silk.  I fumbled a little through the rock version of “Amazing Grace” (rather unlike the solemn Catholic version), but that was largely overlooked.  Tears were shed again (in case you’re looking to tally) when the bride and groom distributed roses to their parents and grandparents.

The reception began with an announcement asking guests not to clink glasses in order to get the bride and groom to kiss.  We at table five, self-dubbed the “kids’ table” (made up of a smattering of Tim’s friends from elementary school, high school, and college) hid our disappointment and politely obliged.  A half hour later, the mother of the groom came by our table to say hello and to tell us quietly that if we clinked, she would pretend she didn’t hear.  So we clinked and cheered at the resulting kiss.  An hour later, the bride walked by and told us quietly to clink again.  Not wishing to deny the bride anything on her wedding day, of course we complied.

After cake was eaten and another round of hugs swept the hall, we piled back into the Prius for the ride home.  King was with us now, squished between Ben and I in the dreaded middle backseat.  It was just like freshman year.  We played twenty questions.  King and I sang about the ninety-nine bottles of beer on the wall until Evan made us stop.  We talked endlessly about how happy Tim and Morgan had looked.  And how much older they had looked, suddenly.  How impressively distant from the rest of us unmarried, freshly independent, jobless folk.

As we passed illuminated billboard after billboard plastered with Keith’s welcoming grin, I could almost believe that we had been on just another Perkins run in Alexandria, and were now on our way back to campus.

Photo credit: SR Photography

Sidenote: best wedding photograph I’ve ever seen.  Photo credit: SR Photography.

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First Snow

First snow tonight.  We were walking home, admiring the purple rim of clouds that clutched the treeline, when suddenly there were white flashes in the palisade of street lights surrounding the police station.

My sleeve was dotted dark, and although we couldn’t see them, faint pellets hit our foreheads, stinging and colder than the air.

It reminded me of freshman year, when we watched Underworld in the Cow Palace, and went outside halfway through to find an inch of snow on the ground and fat flakes falling.  Of that night, the only written record I have is a small journal entry: “October 9th and it’s snowing in Morris.  I love it here.”  Still, I remember how amazed we were, how even Evan was in disbelief, how quiet the campus was, how lovely with white draped over roofs and tumbling softly down gutters to the sidewalks.

But I’m inside currently, having dragged myself away from such sentimentality for the research that has been tugging at me for some time now.

There was an open mic night going on downstairs; I had to open the door carefully when I came in, for Joey was crouched on a chair reading from a book I’ve never heard of, and a dozen of my friends listened with cocked heads and clutched guitars or sheets of poetry or warm beers.

The party went out a few minutes ago, though.  They’re going to a house called The Bakery, which is self-explanatory, I think.  Before they left, someone shouted up to me:

“Bye Holly, I love you!”

“Bye Zak, I love you too!” I returned.

And then the door shut and the house inhaled and I turned back to my work.

Making Friends at Work

Things That Happened Today:

1.  I got The Birthday Package From Home in the mail.  I retrieved it at noon or so, and because it’s now 11:53 pm and I’m still on campus, it’s safe to say that I’ve been carrying a box roughly the size of a microwave around for twelve hours.  Mom, Dad: I hope you didn’t get me a puppy, because there’s a good chance that he didn’t make it.

2.  I helped a freshman (oh the glorious first few months of classes when it’s cake to spot them in a crowd) unlock her mailbox.  She was almost crying at the Post Office, and I can remember only too well when a letter from home was enough to open the floodgates for the rest of the day.  I thought she might hug me when I finally clicked the lock and wrenched the tiny door open, but instead she shuffled her mail into her eighteen-year-old arms and skipped away.

3.  I worked a Higbies shift during which I a) made a berry white mocha cooler for the first time b) took about ten minutes to make said cooler, as I had never made one before c) finally blended and whipped and drizzled said cooler into perfection, and d) proceeded to drop the entire thing on the floor, where it burst rather spectacularly, drenching my legs and feet in a wave of pink froth.  The orderer, who looked like she wanted to burst out laughing, said no when I told her I’d make her a new one.  “I’ll have a white chocolate cooler instead,” she said.  I emptied the sugary juice from my shoes before making her the drink.

A Good Find

While searching through my word document files, trying to find post material, I came upon something I had jotted down freshman year, shortly after finals week:

May 25th, 2010

For his biology final, my friend Sean had no idea what some of the short answer answers were.  So he made up answers.  He wrote stories in the blanks.  He told puns and jokes.  He drew pictures.  He generally had fun with the fact that he was drawing a biology blank. 

I know all of this because he told be about it shortly after taking the final, on one of the last days we were all freshman together in Morris.  I was probably stressed and carrying a heavy load of anthropology flash cards in my pocket.  Despite my state of mind, however, I was struck by what he did, and even more struck when he sent me the note his professor wrote on his graded final.  Enjoy:

“I doubt that your grade for Fun Gen will come as a great surprise, but (from the footnote you wrote) I did want to reassure you that I took no offense at your answers on the final exam.  I scored the answers to written questions starting with the back section (rather than the front page), and your answer to “Why are you a chordate?” made me laugh out loud.  I trust you won’t mind that I shared it with a few other people, including one prof who then commented “now that makes me want to start grading exams”.  So your good humor brought a little light to others as well.  And so this brings me to what I most want to say.  Sure, I am sorry that I could not inspire you with the fire of curiosity to understand how living things work, but knowing biology is not terribly important for most people’s lives.  On the other hand, being able to maintain, in the face of adversity, a sense of humor, charity, and respect, are wonderful qualities that anyone would aspire to but too few people have.  They are a gift you will bring to people throughout your life, and I am grateful for the chance to have met you.  You will know, then, that the grade you got in Fun Gen was solely a measure of what you learned in the course, and in no way my judgment of you.  And I trust you will recognize my sincerity in wishing you the very best.”