It was the seventh game of the world series, Yankees vs. Atlanta, and I was coerced into attending a new singles event by the pastor of my church. He was hosting a night filled with fun, young people, and baseball. If I could have talked my way out of this event, I would have, but politician’s and pastor’s have more than a handshake in common. I couldn’t say no gracefully and I had to bring a dessert.
After returning empty of hand and heart from a five day bear hunt, FringeMan’s friend lured him into showering and dressing with the promise of “new” girls. The pastor of this church knew what it took to corral a bunch of young men – women. FringeMan went with a chip on his shoulder and a vow to steer clear of any skirts.
Although according to FringeMan, I had run into him several times prior to this fateful night, I only remember once. He offered me a glass of 7-Up and I refused it. I knew by the look in his eyes he had more than a cold beverage in mind and I was not thirsty.
Outnumbered by Yankees, FringeMan was the only Atlanta Braves fan in the house that night. He was more obnoxious than a seventh grader and not wanting to be outdone, I soon found myself in a battle of wits and words. I don’t remember much about the baseball game, except that I think it went into extra innings and the Yankees won.
By the time we made it to the desert table, FringeMan was thinking “She’s a good looking girl who brought good food. What could be better?” His words, not mine.
Unfortunately I begged my mother to bake me something tasty. Had I known what was under the wrappings, I would have tossed it and gotten a box of donuts. While eating through layers of cake, chocolate pudding, chopped toffee, and whipped cream, FringeMan commended me on my domestic prowess. I silently cursed my mother’s attempt to marry me off with confectionery enticements, and with as much obnoxiousness as possible, I regaled him with tales of setting toaster oven’s on fire and burning bags of microwave pop-corn until they resembled scorched bricks. I wasn’t there to find a date or husband, and I wasn’t about to start cooking. In my mind domestication was something for 1950’s sitcoms and animals you wanted for pets.
I left that night thinking FringeMan was crazy and would get on my last nerve if I let him and I was not about to let him. The pastor’s wife happened to be a friend of my mother’s. They’d worked together at one time and unbeknownst to me, she called my mother the next day and told her to keep an eye on the two of us. Apparently she had mistaken our relentless bickering for attraction. Silly her.
After our extra inning bickering, FringeMan and I seemed to often find ourselves thrown together. We didn’t immediately begin dating, but we played in the same social group and found ourselves gravitating to one another. In reality, I couldn’t escape him. He’ll tell you that I didn’t want to escape, but I’m not letting him tell this story.
He had decided to marry me early on and although he kept that decision to himself for a short time, he was on the hunt. I may as well have been covered in long brown fur with honey dripping from my mouth. He may not have gotten a bear on his hunting trip that fall, but he was determined to capture my heart.
I was hesitant. I planned to fall in love with a suit and tie a few years down the road and FringeMan was anything but a suit a tie. He was rough, slightly reckless, and very exciting. I never quite knew what to expect from him. Being seven years my senior, he preyed on my youth. At least that’s what I tell him. He said he needed to find a young wife so she could bare him many babies. Obviously he hadn’t yet experienced 2 am feedings.
After church one Sunday a group of us single and desperate adults decided to meet at a Chinese restaurant (this was before my chinese food aversion) and FringeMan quickly offered to give my cousin and I a ride home. FringeMan, Jenn, and I squished into the front seat of his work truck and he toted us 45 minutes out of his way. I must have been shot with one of Cupid’s arrows, because for some reason unknown to me, I told him to drop Jenn off at her house first, giving FringeMan and I an extra 10 minutes alone. He took that as a good sign.
I wasn’t sure I could ever ride his truck again. It was filthy, but I had yet to see his apartment. My first mistake is that I was wearing a winter white skirt and navy blazer. It made me afraid to sit anywhere. The local dry cleaners got rich after I began dating FringeMan. I didn’t realize electrician’s could get so dirty and that they transferred half their dirt to their trucks.
I don’t remember what my fortune was that day, but it should have said, “You will find love while wearing washable fabrics and hiking boots.”
Time was moving quickly. The world series game was October 26 and I had tickets to spend a long Thanksgiving weekend in Florida. I had attended college in Florida and was returning to visit friends. FringeMan was as convinced that I was returning to see a guy as he was convinced that I should stay in New York for Thanksgiving. He tried everything short of water torture to get me to spill this imaginary guy’s name, but I was having too much fun keeping him guessing.
The one thing he managed to squeeze from me was a promise to write him from Florida. It didn’t matter that I was only going to be away for 5 days and would probably beat my letter home.
A quick note sounded easy enough, but it was a decision almost as momentous as choosing a name for my firstborn. What would be appropriate? I didn’t want to write him an actual letter, surely not a love letter! Would a postcard convey wary interest? I flipped through ‘thinking of you’ cards, blank cards, postcards, notecards, and out of desperation, birthday cards. My friend convinced me the stationary from the hotel she worked at would hit the perfect note.
I was more than speechless, for once in my life, I was wordless. I don’t remember what I wrote in that note, but FringeMan still has it squirreled away.
I had hoped some time away from New York and FringeMan would help clear my head and I’d make a decision to date or not date FringeMan. It was a tough decision because I knew that casual dating wasn’t an option. It would be my whole heart or nothing. After all, I considered FringeMan an ‘older man’. Although he didn’t say it, I was certain he had marriage on the mind.
I left Florida undecided…must’ve been a hanging chad, but I think my actions betrayed my heart. Despite FringeMan’s fears, I didn’t go to Florida to see ANY guy; however, there was one guy I secretly hoped to see at least one more time. I got a message saying he wanted to see me and to give him a call before I left for New York. As I made the decision not to see him, I think I also made the decision to see FringeMan. I just didn’t realize it at the time.
FringeMan took me to a Christmas party for our first “date”. We had been to the lighting of Christmas Tree in Rockefeller Center the week after I returned from Florida, but our first official, just the two of us date, was a Christmas party. As far as first dates go, it was slightly more than typical.
FringeMan didn’t believe in taking things slowly. On the way to the Christmas party, he told me that we were stopping by his mom’s house. Meeting his parents was way more than I bargained for on a first date. Thankfully his mother was kind and didn’t bring up any ghosts of girlfriend’s past like one of his uncles did at our first meeting.
It was at a funeral that I got to meet the bulk of FringeMan’s family for the first time. His uncle, a man of stature, took my hand in his big one, greeting me with a smile that warmed his eyes and my heart. A moment later he looked at FringeMan and said, “Is she the same girl as last time?”
I certainly was not!
The warmth in my heart quickly faded as ice-daggers flew from my eyes to FringeMan’s soul.
But that wasn’t our first date. Our first date was the Christmas party with the quick stop to meet FringeMan’s parents. When we left his mom’s house I suspected that dating FringeMan would be anything but ordinary. Little did I know how quickly I should expect the unforeseen. The Christmas party proved normal unless you consider the fact we were seated at a table that included FringeMan’s ex-girlfriend. In fact, I sat right next her. Making small talk was as much fun as being bitten by a swarm of mosquitoes.
Is it any wonder that while sipping a diet coke at the Red Robin, a placed we stopped to “talk” on the way back to my house, I told FringeMan that I really didn’t want to date him right then. I wasn’t ready to be serious. Besides talking to him over a cheeseburger was like being at an inquisition and I was on trial. He played both the good cop and the bad cop trying to get me to ‘open up’, reveal my future plans, and unwrap my past from birth to present.
Equipped with too many useless facts from my psychology minor, I tried to unravel FringeMan’s thoughts, dissect his words, and peek into his heart. I left more confused than ever.
After our ill-fated first date, a day FringeMan still does not think was inappropriate, we only saw each other in church and in a few group functions; however, it was the holiday season. There were parties including a Christmas party thrown by me. I subjected FringeMan to Kenny G’s Christmas CD and then made him watch “White Christmas”. I guess you could say that I was getting even.
On New Year’s Eve FringeMan invited a whole bunch of people to his house for a little party. It wasn’t the first time I had been to his house. He once cooked venison for my cousin Jenn and I. It was my first deer. The venison was certainly easier to digest than FringeMan’s bachelor pad. He had black curtains hanging in the windows that were draped with spider web designs and his once white couch was covered in six inches of dog hair. I would later, clean for him. Actually it was more for myself than for him. If I was going to eat from his kitchen and sit on his couch, soap and a vacuum were a must.
He did clean for his New Year’s party. He actually painted the inside of his shower in case anybody peeked into it. I don’t think he’d been introduced to Scrubbing Bubbles yet. I was actually looking forward to New Year’s Eve, but I had spent the previous two days with a stomach virus, so I wasn’t in great shape and I couldn’t eat anything. I didn’t want to spend the night in the bathroom, fresh paint or not. I even had my mom bake me a pineapple dream cake to bring. Unfortunately FringeMan has a food allergy/intolerance/psychiatric disorder towards cream cheese, sour cream, and mayonnaise. The cake was laced with cream cheese and so he spent the next two days in the bathroom.
My friend Nat innocently wandered into FringeMan’s bedroom, picked up a rose sitting in a vase on his dresser and exclaimed to everyone in the house, “Oh, it’s so nice, somebody gave you a rose!”
FringeMan turned 5 shades of red and a few shades of pink. The rose was for me.
Because the romance of a rose did not win my heart, FringeMan struggled to uncover my true feelings. unfortunately my feelings were as mixed up as a milkshake. I knew FringeMan wouldn’t settle for a casual romance. He was looking for love or the door and I teetered on the threshold.
He beckoned me out to his truck one night after a church service and as I stood on the sidewalk beneath the stars, FringeMan pulled out an enormous, beautifully arranged bouquet. The flowers shone under the street lamp, each bright head reaching in a different direction, but all straight to my heart.
While some woman are won with words and others wooed with gifts, my heart was melted with a sunflower. Roses are pretty, but sunflowers were my signature.
I love sunflowers.
There were well over a dozen miniature sunflowers, golden reeds that made me sneeze more than a December cold, and purple stalks filling in any gaps. It was the largest bouquet I had ever seen and it was beautiful. FringeMan says he worked in an old Italian man’s flower shop that day wiring a propane furnace. Since Italians are known for their love of opera, meatballs, and woman, FringeMan cried the blues and the aged Italian artist created a masterpiece sure to win any good woman’s heart.
His magic worked and that night I crossed the threshold of doubt into the arms of FringeMan. Our love, yet unspoken, was sealed with a kiss of yellow blooms.
He won my heart.
I reached my hand up to my forehead and then quickly looked at my fingertips to see if they were bloody. The tempo of the throbbing seemed to match the blinking of my emergency lights that automatically turned on. I unbuckled my seatbelt and leaned up to look in my review mirror. Still surprised not to see blood, I was thankful I was in one piece. It was more than I could say for my 1986 Honda Prelude.
I wasn’t paying any attention to the road as I swerved around the corner, but in all fairness, the road was empty. It was early, dark, and cold. Neither my heater nor my defroster were working.
If only I can get this fan blowing, I thought as I leaned over into the dashboard jiggling the lever and trying to see the settings in the early morning blackness.
I looked up through the frosted glass of my windshield and realized that I was headed directly for a giant oak tree. Gripping the wheel with both hands, I slammed my foot down hard on the pedal, but only accelerated until I collided. The sound of crunching metal rang in my ears. My car and the oak became intimately acquainted when in my panic, I hit the gas pedal instead of the brake. An already small Prelude now resembled a large man’s accordion more than the vehicle that was going to get me to my job – My Job!
It was February eleventh and the second day of my first real, honest to goodness, benefits paying, sick days offering, room for advancement job. It’s also the night that FringeMan was taking me to see Phantom of the Opera on Broadway.
My heart sank to my toes as I staggered from the driver’s seat into the road. It looked worse from outside the car. A man, about my father’s age, had pulled over and was already giving me the third degree about drinking and driving and how partying was all young people thought about these days. The sad truth was that I hadn’t even had a cup of coffee yet. In fact the water that trickled down the back of my throat while I was brushing my teeth would have to suffice until lunchtime or later, the way my day was already going. When I finally convinced him that I was on my way to work and not on my way home, he offered to call the police for me.
As soon as he hit ‘end’ and flipped his phone shut, he picked up on my lecture. Just when I leaned up against the side of his car to settle in for the fourth and fifth degrees, a woman from across the street ran over and began ushering me back to her house. She was a nurse with good intentions who regularly attended accidents with ‘my’ tree. I’d already claimed a chunk of it and it obviously had claimed a bigger piece of me. While I sat on a stool letting this nurse apply ice to my head, she tried her best to convince me a trip to the hospital was not only necessary, but possibly life-altering. All I could think of was the pain involved when I’d be fired from my new job.
Finally the cops arrived and saved me from the lecturers. “Totaled” they insisted, but they also took pity on me, tried to assure there must have been a patch of black ice involved, and called a tow-truck. Just then my mother came to my rescue. Before we left the scene, the nicest officer salvaged my ice-skates from the trunk. It was enough to lose my car, but I couldn’t let my ice-skates go to rest in the tomb of twisted metal junkers.
February eleventh began with a bang and ended with FringeMan coming to pick me up for our date.
Buzz, Buzz, Buzz…
I adjusted the bodice of my black dress to cover the bruises left from my seatbelt this morning as my mother rang the buzzer allowing FringeMan to enter the doors below. FringeMan made his way up to our second story apartment, just as I dusted my forehead with one last swipe of powder. I didn’t want any bumps showing tonight.
The air was charged as we raced into the city. I hadn’t been to see a Broadway play since my uncle treated me to Annie for my fifth birthday. We found a parking spot a million miles away from the theater, but not even the frigid walk through Manhattan dampened my spirits. I simply snuggled into FringeMan’s arms and forgot the morning’s events.
Phantom of the Opera, an unparalleled masterpiece, is the longest running show on Broadway. I sat fascinated in my front/center balcony seat and didn’t even feel the bruises lining my chest and stomach. My accident faded into memories from an earlier life. All was suddenly right in the world as FringeMan slipped his arm around me.
I stood and applauded with exuberance beside the rest of the auditorium as the final curtain closed. FringeMan gave me more than a special night, he turned my bad dream good. We started back to the car on a cloud and while I lost track of time replaying my favorite scenes, FringeMan drove aimlessly through the city. I finally looked up and realized we should have been back to my house by now and we were still only about five blocks from the theater.
“What are we doing?” I asked.
“A surprise.” He whispered with a gleam in his eye. I couldn’t imagine anything better than we’d already enjoyed, until FringeMan pulled over at exactly twelve midnight. Reaching for my hand, he asked me, “Do you know what time it is?’
Not wanting to break the gaze of his green eyes, I incoherently muttered, “What time?”
He slowly leaned toward me and slid his free hand up behind my head and into my hair. “It’s your Birthday!” He breathed and sealed my surprise with a kiss.
My birthday in mid-February marked the beginning of the roller-coaster of love. By the end of the month FringeMan, in his casual and laid-back way, dragged me into a jewelry store to determine which shape diamond I would want if at any time in the near future he may be in the market for buying diamonds.
I stood at the jewelry case looking in at little rocks throwing prisms of light in every direction. While there sparkles captivated my being, my hands began to sweat and my heart beat out the rhythm of a tribal chant. I felt as if I were about to be thrown in the pot of boiling water and eaten as soup. I panicked.
I didn’t question my love for FringeMan, but I did question acting on my love. I was just twenty-two and I hadn’t been looking for a man or marriage. I knew from our first date that FringeMan was too determined. He was a hunter from the beginning and I was his prey.
I bolted from the store and into the parking lot, filling my lungs with large gasps of cool winter air. Sensing my panic, FringeMan gave me some space. Space for my mind to wonder in a million directions. Every bad long-term scenario played through my head in those few parking lot minutes. I wanted my marriage to be the forever-after kind, the once in a life-time kind, the till death do us part kind and I didn’t want to wish death sooner than necessary.
I didn’t want to make a mistake.
The only real reason I could think of not to consider a future with FringeMan was based on our different eating styles. You see, I was and am a carnivore. I eat meat with a side of potatoes. Everything else is negligible. FringeMan operated on the premise that vegetables were not only necessary for health, but were vital to life. A marriage between us could never work.
So I turned my tragically love torn gaze toward FringeMan and exclaimed with open arms for all the world to hear, “We can never get married. I don’t eat my vegetables!”
It was an early May Sunday morning when my father solemnly walked up the few flights of stairs into our apartment. Growing up in my house, Sunday was the morning when my father traditionally went to the bakery before sunrise to buy rolls, bagels, and doughnuts. To this day, I have a hard time understanding how anyone can sit through a church service without a belly full of yeasty dough. God’s voice may be like thunder, but the whisper of the Spirit isn’t often heard over the rumbling of tummies in church.
My father set the bags on the kitchen table and turned to FringeMan. Without eye contact, my dad muttered a question that didn’t require an answer. “Did you park around the corner on Lake Avenue?”
FringeDad is much like Ricky Ricardo, only he’s lighter on the bongos and heavier on the Bronx accent. In times of excitement, he’s been known to break out in Portuguese while we just stare and wait for the subtitles to roll across the screen. Unfortunately this Sunday’s excitement wasn’t the variety that warranted a song and dance from the Copa Cabana.
For some reason, FringeMan had spent Saturday night at my house. My brother was away in college and because FringeMan lived an hour away, my parents sometimes let him use my brother’s empty room. It was on those nights that my mother slept in the hallway across my door jamb. She has in fact required me to sleep in bed with her before…for my protection, you understand. Big mama had a way of protecting her baby cubs, and even a seasoned hunter like the FringeMan was no match for her.
Looking at my dad with worry, FringeMan said, “Ya, I’m parked around the corner. What happened?”
Parking on city streets is usually challenging, often adventure filled, and sometimes dangerous. This morning didn’t disappoint. My father muttered something about us needing to go check on the truck and we (FringeMan, Myself, my mother, and father) proceeded to run single file down three flights of steps, a city block, and around the corner.
Holding his head in his hands, FringeMan began uttering words in a tongue almost as foreign as my father’s. His truck had been hit by one heavy piece of steel. No longer parked alongside the curb, it had been pushed over the curb, through a mailbox, and across a sidewalk. We could actually see the police station from the parking space FringeMan’s truck had once filled. The cops arrived and in an act of kindness they told FringeMan not to bother having the truck towed until Monday morning. It would save him hassle and money. They promised to keep an eye on it, because in New York a broken down vehicle is like a clearance sale sign at Kohl’s. You turn your back for a second and your car has been stripped of its clothes, carpet, and all mechanical parts.
My mother rallied her energies for another night of patrolling the halls and took us to church. We managed to enjoy the day despite the morning’s excitement and found things to keep us out and occupied until after dark. It was when my mother’s little Toyota Corolla, stuffed with our large adult bodies, rounded the corner just past the police station that we were blinded by lights flashing in every direction.
FringeMan exploded out the passenger’s side window as he gazed upon his twisted piece of junk metal, formerly known as his truck, now surrounded by police with guns drawn. Never underestimate a promise from New York’s finest. They had their man on the ground and in handcuffs when we spilled from the car. He had just begun stripping FringeMan’s truck of whatever was left intact.
That night we waited under the stars for the tow truck. FringeMan secretly contemplated hitching a ride from my cousin to buy my engagement ring.
Strains from a small live band flitted over to our table, as I sat staring across the candlelight flame into the eyes of my adoring man. I had just finished eating the most exquisite meal and was now awaiting a sinfully rich chocolate desert. Fresh flowers filled our personal space with the aroma of rose petals. An eager waiter hovered close by waiting to fulfill our every wish. In my mind, nothing could be more perfect about this night. Little did I know it was about to get even better. A sparkling diamond awaited me, served with desert.
As the ever romantic FringeMan dropped to one knee, took my hand, and pledged his forever love, onlookers drew in a long breath of anticipation. How could I resist the look of raw passion blazing from his eyes? Throwing my arms around his neck, I half laughed, half cried yes, yes, yes.
Applause erupted from ever corner of the restaurant, echoing off the dimly lit ceiling. The band struck up a song dedicated to our new young love. This remarkable moment will forever be etched in my mind.
AND, in my mind alone.
Buzzzz, Buzzzz…my doorbell was ringing. As I hauled my lazy body up off the couch to go answer the door, I tried to figure out who it could be. My brother was home, my mom at my grandparent’s house, and I wasn’t expecting company. It was my night ‘off’.
I always took Thursday nights off from dating, seeing friends, and being social in general. Thursday nights I lounged around in pajamas, watched TV, read, or did anything I WANTED! My boyfriend (later husband) didn’t always understand this “night off” concept, but it was my rule. After all, a girl needs her space.
Apparently, FringeMan didn’t think I needed my space this Thursday.
“What are you doing here? It’s my night off.” I asked opening the door.
How could he resist me?
Acting much weirder than usual (considering his extreme personality, that’s scary), FringeMan came in looking like he was trying to hide something. He fidgeted more than a flea and turned 4 shades of red, pink, fuchsia, and salmon before pulling a ring box out of his pocket, falling to one knee, and blurting out “Will you marry me?”
I was so surprised.
It was so sudden.
This was my night off!
A beautiful diamond, nested in a band of small chips, sparkled up at me.
“Yes, of course I’ll marry you!” I cried out with joy.
My brother, wondering what all the commotion was about, poked his head around the living room door frame. I ran to show him my diamond and share my blissful news. He was so happy for us; he offered to make us all Sabrett hot dogs. It was true cause for celebration.
Nowadays, we good parents know not to use food as a reward. Using food as a reward causes our children to have an unhealthy relationship with what should be purely an energy source. Instead food becomes an expression of celebration, disappointment, and comfort, ultimately contributing to morbid obesity and early death.
Back when I was a kid, my parents obviously were not privy to such scientific data. Food was always used as a means of celebration; therefore, Sabrett and not just cheapo wieners would mark my engagement. My brother couldn’t have been happier for us.
Immediately, I thought, my mother MUST know. “Let’s run over to my grandparent’s house!” I urged FringeMan.
On the way over, we decided to allow my family to discover the diamond I was flashing for themselves.
My mom, aunt, and grandparents were all sitting around the kitchen table having coffee when we got there. We joined them and immediately I began talking mostly with my hands. For a moment, I thought our surprise would go undiscovered. Perhaps this rock of mine was not large enough after all…
Just as doubts descended like an angry vulture, her talons tightening their grip on my joy, a burst of light bounced from my diamond straight into my mother’s eye. Unfortunately for those in spraying range, she’d just gulped from her coffee cup.
Eye widening to the size of half-dollars, her cheeks squeezed inward (resembling a blow fish just before it blows) and a rather large stream of coffee sprayed from her lips across the entire table. Each of us in her wake was drenched. There was no doubt, she’d seen the ring.
Once again, my family had reason to celebrate and my grandmother insisted this remarkable day should be commemorated with nothing less than a Carvel ice-cream cake. That night I began an unhealthily relationship with food, but an adventure filled future with FringeMan.
At the suggestion of our pastor, FringeMan and I stood at the front door of the church greeting people, handing out bulletins, and flashing my new diamond ring. We received more hugs and kisses than the chubby cheeked Michelin tire baby on his first birthday; however, all celebrating stopped when FringeMan’s ex-girlfriend walked through the door.
This woman, who I sat near on our first Christmas party date, was less than impressed by my diamond. At least that’s the feeling I got when, as she stood in front of us, she lifted her lips into a snarl and growled. Caught completely off guard and fearing fangs would drop from her upper lip, I stepped backward and slightly behind FringeMan. Probably because shedding blood on the church steps would be considered unforgivable to fellow parishioners, she passed quickly by.
My brother had come up right behind the growler and as soon as she passed out of earshot, he looked at us with a mixture of shock and complete amusement.
“Did she just growl at you?” He asked in wonder and then collapsed into a heap of giggles.
Sadly I’ve forgotten all the well wishes and words of congratulations. In my mind my engagement is marked with a growl of disgust and so, I blame FringeMan for bad taste in women…until me of course.
Although I could have told this story myself, I wasn’t present for the actual event and it’s really FringeMan’s to tell. I convinced him to let me record him telling his wedding story. Please don’t ask what I had to promise him in return for today’s Vlog!
So without further ado, here’s FringeMan!
I promise you that it really happened. He has witnesses.
If I had my wedding to do all over again, I’d have it on the beach in some tropical paradise. I’d be barefoot, slathered in sunscreen, and already at my honeymoon destination. The only problem that I see with a destination wedding is convincing the wedding party and guests to GO HOME. I would have had to spend my honeymoon with my entire family, so I guess I’m glad I got married in my church and then left.
This is my wedding invitation. For a while, our identities were replaced by frogs.
I shake my head in shame.
What was I thinking? Women think of roses, romance, and beauty when they plan their wedding. Did I have pond scum on my mind?
FringeMan and I had our first date in December. We were engaged on May 20th and married on September 20th of the same year. Whispers were told in person and on the telephone; however, our first child was not born until two and half years later. Unless I gestated for thirty months, I was not pregnant on my wedding day.
Because we were poor had a budget wedding, we enlisted the help of friends and family. My mother-in-law made chocolate bride and groom lollipop favors, a friend took pictures for us, my aunt made my veil, and a relative drove me to the church in his car…no limo. I fixed my own hair and put on some makeup.
Now I would need a crew of landscapers and painters just to work on my head, but this was twelve years ago and youth was on my side.
In keeping with our simple wedding, we decided to forgo a big reception. In New York your parents generally take out a home equity line to pay for your wedding and you promise the florist your first child’s college fund. Weddings are elaborate. You begin your lives in a blissful heap of wedded debt.
I decided that I was going to have cake and punch and hold my reception in the church’s all-purpose room. I think I made more than one aunt cry with my hasty actions, but I promised them that it would be a good cake – the best; however, my mother had a friend. The end.
Never let your mother’s friend bake your wedding cake and transport it from Brooklyn unless you live exactly three blocks from her house. New York’s potholes have been known to devour eighteen wheelers in one gulp.
My cake was to have five layers, strawberry filling, fluffy icing, and a sort of basket-weave pattern with mini pearls. This cake cost more than my wedding dress. It’s sad to eat so much money, but we did.
If I were making the decision now, I’d go to Kleinfeld’s, spend all my money on a dress, and be on TLC’s ‘Say Yes To The Dress’. I’d trade my cake for five minutes of fame and an overpriced cloud of tulle. Then I would send my guests away with their chocolate lollipops and call it a reception.
But I bought the cake and my grandmother bought the cookies. She said we must.
You can see by the high-end plastic table cloths that this was to be an event laced with class.
All good weddings need an events coordinator or wedding planner and my big day was no exception.
My aunt, the one with her hands on her hips, became ‘The Director’. Twelve years later my father-in-law still refers to her as ‘The Director’. She did her job well. She also made that veil that’s flying in the wind.
After the “I do’s”, the rings, and the big kiss, FringeMan and I dismissed our guests row by row. They filtered into the reception area and began drinking punch and nibbling on cookies. I’m sure they were hungry because I was starving. Lunch was on my mind, but we had to get through dessert first. Pictures were taken and we were led to the reception room.
For me, the morning of my wedding is mostly a blur. On the way to the church, my stomach knotted and my heart froze with fright. I walked down the aisle without really seeing anyone. It wasn’t until I tried putting FringeMan’s ring on the wrong hand and everyone broke out into laughter that I relaxed.
After the ceremony, we were led into the reception area. The time had come to cut the cake. I walked in and expected to find a party going on, but as I looked around, everyone stared at me and several women had tears in their eyes. I looked to ‘The Director’ and saw a grief on her face. Her hand covered her mouth and I heard her whisper, she doesn’t look too sad.
I was clueless.
They they, the throng of women, pointed to the cake.
I looked and thought, “It should be bigger.” That is when the women converged on me with a million words, tears, and hugs.
Apparently the cake fell victim to a New York City pothole. FringeMan says that before I arrived at the church, Spanish women were wailing like he only thought possible at a funeral. My cake was salvaged and scooped onto plates to serve our guests.
The top two layers survived unscathed.
The wedding topper – two frogs under wedding bells. One with a veil and one with a bow-tie and tophat…my grandfather’s creation.
My wedding advice…