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.

Second Snow

I’ve been grinning like a fool all morning, ever since I opened my eyes at 8:15, when my alarm sounded.  I didn’t get out of bed right away; my legs were curled perfectly under mounds of blankets, and my arms inside my sweatshirt and my toes inside my thick socks were warm.  But I knew right away what had happened.

A trip out to the hall window confirmed it.

Snow changes everything.  Even our gravel alley lined with garbage cans looks sufficiently magical.

I was stopped by two trains on my walk to campus, but how could I care with slush at my feet and heavy clouds hanging promisingly above my head?

And then, and then, I walked into work.  Sharon handed me, as she does every few mornings, signs to be posted on specific classroom doors.  The signs announce that a class has been cancelled, and I always imagine this task of mine to be a noble one, for what other announcement causes so much joy amongst students?  But on this particular day, as I posted the signs, I read them: “Cancelled: Latin American History, 2:00-3:40.”  It was my class.  My only class for today has been cancelled.

I suspect I don’t have to tell you that I squealed with delight and jumped up and down and bounded outside to make a snow angel, and then wasn’t even disappointed that there’s not quite enough ground coverage for that kind of joyful expression.

I still have a paper to write today, friends, but Thursday has come through again.

First Day of Twenty-Two

I did some things yesterday.  There aren’t pictures, because I’m a goon, but basically, I had a birthday.

I pulled an all-nighter, of course, only going to sleep once 5:30 (and official birthday time) was upon us.

When I woke up, I tore into the mysterious box that had been looming with promise all week.

Then I grocery shopped.

Then I cleaned.  I did piles of dishes, glared at Joey when he dared to dirty more for lunch.  I swept, arranged chairs, baked a cake, licked the bowl used to mix up said cake, did laundry, made up with Joey after he agreed to mow the lawn, arranged pitas in attractive spirals on a chipped plate, spent an hour creating a party playlist, and changed outfits twice.

Then I paced.  And paced.  And asked my housemates if I could do anything else.  And paced some more after they said no.

I couldn’t decide if it would be worse if people didn’t arrive, or if they did.  You see, now that we’ve gotten to know each other a little better, I feel that I can tell you that I don’t like parties.  I’m not good at mingling, I’m never the most outgoing person in the room, and I tend to shrink into a corner when people start dancing.  And even though there would only be friends at this party, many of whom I have known since freshman year, I was still worried that this party would be some sort of horrifying dud that would involve many polite coughs and eye rolls.

Furthermore, Jordan, not knowing about my meticulously-crafted birthday playlist, had attached his iPad to the speakers.  Upbeat Latin music was blaring, and I was pacing, and the scarf I had eventually decided to wear was feeling more and more like a noose with each passing second.

And then I unplugged Jordan’s iPad and plugged in my laptop.  The Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun” started to play.  And I felt infinitely better.

The party, of course, was fantastic.  Everyone brought loads of food: sushi, soup, shish kebab, snickers salad, homemade salsa, soda, fruit snacks (it was a college party, after all), brownies, pasta, etc.  It was a little strange to realize that everyone was essentially there to see me, but I tried to bounce around to all the groups, and to talk to every person there for at least a little while.  And, although I invited people from different walks of campus life (there were my friends from my freshman dorm, my English major buddies, and my MCSA comrades), everyone got along and seemed to have a good time.

The best moment, however, was when Maddie walked out of the kitchen holding a lit cake,  and everyone started singing.  I don’t know that I’ve ever felt so perfectly happy.

Things That Make Me Happy

Things That Make Me Happy, A List:

1.  The special features on the Lord of the Rings extended editions

2.  Owning a fan during a heat wave

3.  The Oxford Comma

4.  Vega of Lyra

5.  Also, Spica of Virgo

6.  Staying up until 2 am to finish a fantastic book

7.  Joking around with strangers

8.  Oatmeal for breakfast

9.  Sleeping in

10.  Waking up early in the morning, realizing I don’t have to get up, and promptly falling back to sleep

11.  Frisbee

12.  Walking across campus and recognizing almost everyone I pass

13.  National Geographic Magazine

14.  Long car rides when I have a backpack o’books at my feet

15.  The Muensters

16.  Munster cheese

17.  Touring historic places

18.  Postcards

19.  Libraries

20.  Pride and Prejudice in any form

21.  Oldies music

22.  Dogs doing goofy things

23.  That freshly-showered, clean feeling

24.  Getting lots of wax on the Q-tip when I clean my ears (gross, but true)

25.  Painted fingernails

26.  Exploring new towns

27.  People riding lawnmowers across town

28.  Poetry

29.  Working at the movie theatre

30.  Root beer

31.  Amazonian cultures that are untouched by the rest of civilization

32.  Teddy Roosevelt

33.  The color blue

34.  Survivor

35.  Secret handshakes

36.  Wikipedia

37.  When professors use Wikipedia

38.  Sweaters

39.  Making lists

40.  Going for walks

41.  Concerts, especially of the free variety

42.  Fall

43.  Nature programs (before they began involving aliens)

44.  Not losing at Hearts (a rarity)

45.  When the radio plays songs you’re in the mood for

46.  The first day of school

47.  New jeans

48.  Crossword puzzles

49.  Crazy genius writers (I’m looking at you, Ernest)

50.  The fact that you, friend, have read all the way down to 50.  Thanks for that.