The wedding dance
This is why I will never be honored with the prestigious Baltimore Sun Mobbie award; because this past weekend I went to California, Cali in the vernacular, and I brought my incomparable MacBook Pro with me so I could write down every detail and share it with you. Instead it sat on the desk of the fabuloso hotel room which served as home base for La Sooze and I and did not receive a single word. Hey there lonely Mac. Award winning bloggers, we all know, do not let opportunities like this pass. I did. I am a bad, bad blogger boy. I also love alliteration. But that will not win me any awards.
So last Thursday La Sooze and Daughter Shannon and I awakened at the ungodly hour of 4:45 in the am and we schlepped in a driving and cold rainstorm that is indigenous to the black and holy east coast, to Thurgood Marshall Airport in B'more, easily the worst airport in the 50 states, and we flew to warmer, brighter climes, specifically Orange County, Cali. In fact when we arrived on Thursday in the OC it was in the high 80s and the sun was blazing and the sky an azure blue. Paradise. Living here in the east suffering through these endless winters I can tell you that at some point, not yet, maybe in January or February, I am so thoroughly disheartened by the incessant freeze that even my bones and heart and soul are cold. It is not that chilly yet here, but cold enough, and as La Sooze and Daughter Shannon and I stepped out of the Orange County Airport named after the marvelous John Wayne, I felt my bones immediately thaw. I think I will come back later in the winter.
You know I call my little nuclear family now - me and La Sooze and Daughter Shannon and Sean the Chief and Little Kev - the Fab Five (FF). Well four of the Fab Five were in Cali to attend a wedding. The missing link was Little Kev who did not come to Cali but chose instead to stay in the already snowing college town of Syracuse to keep at his studies. He was missed. The FF is just not the same without him. Anyway the Fab Five minus one was out west to attend the wedding of my cousin Pat's daughter, the lovely Katy. On Saturday, Katy married a former college football player named Chris who my Cali aunt, AK, told us was described to her by female neighbors as "eye candy." This is not a description that has ever been applied to me. Be that as it may, may I report that Chris is an attractive and strapping and successful young man. As a former collegiate football star I assume he could kick my ass on a moment's notice but would not because he is now a family member, though that did not stop my mother.
Anyway as a preview to our trip to Cali I must tell you that Number One Son Sean, who is also a collegiate and no doubt could be described as eye candy by some, met us in Cali along with his roommate and friend Eric, ditto on the eye candy. Sean and Eric actually co-wrote a song for Katy and Chris which they played at the actual wedding reception on Saturday and it was terrific and I actually danced to the song with my cousin Pat, the mother of the bride. What a moment that was. My own son crooning and tinkling the ivories of an electric piano, handsome and talented Eric caressing the guitar, the room full of family members from both sides who had flown in from the four corners of our great world, and I recall only my diminutive cousin Pat and I swaying on the dance floor talking about families and how far we both had come, and here we were in a yacht club in Southern California and her stunning daughter was being married and my beautiful son was singing and we were realizing each of us in our way, shifting in a small circle to the music, that we had both grown up, and that things had turned out pretty damned good for us both.
Which reminds me. In music college in Bahston, of course, Sean has no use for a suit since he is not often attending afternoon tea, and so he leaves his two terrific suits here in Miserable Maryland for La Sooze and I to watch over like guardians. So before we left last week Sean had texted La Sooze and told her that the pants on the suit he wanted to wear to the wedding were too small in the waist and was there a way we could take them and have them altered? Why sure we can. So I myself took said trousers to the dry cleaners which I visit each and every Saturday morning to pick-up and drop off dress shirts for work and each week when I walk in the spritely Asian woman, whose name is Mi, pronounced "Me" who owns the place along with her husband, looks up from the hangars and says "oh hi Kevin" in clipped English and so we get along famously. So I take the pants to her last week and have a detailed conversation with her about taking them out one full entire inch in the waist and she says no problem and she will have them back in my Cali-bound hands by Wednesday. All good. So Wednesday La Sooze picks up the famous britches and when I return home from work very late I anxiously drop my own pants and pull on the altered ones and as I do I notice a handwritten tag hanging from Sean's belt loop that says in clipped English "take in 1 inch." Seriously. I could not fit my foot into the damn things they were so tight. Sean would have had to have been a straw to wear them. Up to the very moment that I read the little pants note I thought Miss Mi was a nice and hardworking woman. I now think she's learning disabled. La Sooze, at midnight mind you, had to turn into Seamstress La Sooze and alter the pants, recouping the lost inch and then adding the original inch that was lost in the translation. In the end, Sean looked great in them in Cali. Ass candy, at least.
So Friday night we attended the rehearsal dinner which was held at a nice Italian restaurant in Newport Beach and then Saturday was the wedding at a terrific little Catholic chapel on the equally terrific Balboa Island. Then it was on to the reception at the yacht club which featured an entire hallway of pictures of guys who were former Commodores of the club, including one guy from 1947 whose last name was Converse and he may have invented the sailing deck shoes. At least that's what I wanted to believe. I had time to look at all the commodore photos because, naturally this was a wedding and besides being a terrific moment to celebrate the love and incredibly bright future of a very bright young couple, it also features two things that are not my gift: drinking and dancing. The drinking you know about. But the dancing, oy. You know from our story that La Sooze and I have been taking dancing lessons, partly, at least, because we hoped to dance at Chris and Katy's wedding instead of me sitting like a schlub checking football scores on my Blackberry while La Sooze eventually gives up on my danceless and sorry behind and heads for the dance floor without me along with 99 percent of the other people at any wedding. Well listen, the dance lessons – not so good. We actually went up to the dance floor on Saturday and there was a very terrific band playing, and we actually danced one slow dance but I do not think we used any of the lessons taught to us by Twinkle Toes (TT) back at the studio. Instead I think we did what we always do – we walked in a circle. Only this time we counted the steps. It was like I had a spontaneous foot lobotomy. Then we tried to do some "swing" dance which is what we have been sweating over on the dance studio floor the last two lessons. We got about three steps into the thing when I realized I had totally forgotten every single thing TT had taught us. Gone. I couldn't even count. La Sooze ditched me. I ended up sitting alone at the meticulously decorated table while she went back out on the dance floor and danced away for herself. She had a ball. I tracked the end of the Michigan-Illinois game on my Blackberry. Michigan won in overtime. Hooray for them.
Did I tell you the entire time we were in Cali I drove my uncle's car? It is a nearly new absolutely spotless Mercedes 350 that looks and drives like a million shekels. The only drawback to this car, of course, was that I do not look like a guy who should be driving it. I am sure on Saturday morning when Daughter Shannon and I took the Benz to Huntington Beach for breakfast and I was wearing a t-shirt with the name of the hardcore punk band "Madball" emblazoned across the front, anyone seeing me thought I had either stolen it or I was taking it to have it waxed. Anyway, this morning I awoke back here in Miserable Maryland and instead of the Benzeroo I drove my white Honda Accord with the crack in the rear bumper to the subway station and went back to work where I belong. It was cold, of course, and the wind was whipping down Market Place as I headed to the office. But I was thinking as I walked about how much in love Katy and Chris looked when they slipped the gold rings on each other's fingers at the altar on Saturday, and about the mixed look of sadness and profound love on the face of Katy's father Graham when he hugged and kissed his daughter for the last time as a single woman and then handed her over to her soon-to-be husband. And I was thinking of my cousin Pat and I on the dance floor slowly swaying to Sean and Eric's love song. We have known each other since we were children. We have grown and we have gone through our stuff and there we were, adults, watching the next generation take their steps forward, and we both knew in different ways, that we have made long, long strides in our lives. And even though this morning I could feel the heartless chill of winter moving slowly in around me, I felt the Cali warmth still, right down to the core of my bones and my soul.