Dear Reader, the following story actually happened. Some names were changed to protect the guilty.
I was having a conversation with my co-worker Nora. She asks me how was my recent honeymoon.
“Do you have time for a long story?” I ask.
Nora nods her head.
“We got married at the Moose Lodge, said our vows, turned around, took 12 steps and there was our buffet table.”
Nora giggles like a school girl.
“Let me back up a bit. We got a call the night before the wedding from a mutual friend, telling us that no one had decorated the Lodge. I look at my wife-to- be and say: “What the f***? Wasn’t your aunt Myrtle and Aunt BettyLou supposed to take care of it?”
“They’re old,” she says, defensively.
“Senile is more like it,” I snort. ”Why in the world did you tell them they could do it?”
“I didn’t. They volunteered.”
“If a blind person offered to drive the Bookmobile, would you hand them the keys?”
The wife- to-be glares at me. “We’ll have to get up at 4:30 in the morning and do it ourselves.”
Nora giggles like a school girl.
By 5 O’clock, I and wife-to-be are out the door in the pouring rain. When we get to the Lodge, sister in law-to-be is there waiting. The three of us open the legs of all the tables and set them up. Then we place white party favors on them and hang up white streamers. In just over an hour, we leave to shower and eat breakfast. I put on my expensive Italian suit looking as sharp as a gangster with my hair slicked back. The suit is dark gray, the shirt is ivory and the tie is red.
Wife-to -be will be getting dressed at the Lodge and is taking a suitcase. Back out there we go and it’s still raining. When we arrive, wife-to-be makes a mad dash for the ladies room and soon mother in-law-to-be joins her. So do Myrtle, BettyLou, 2 co-workers, 3 cousins and a friend. You wonder how the hell do they all fit in there. Its like that photo from the 60’s where a bunch of college kids jammed themselves inside a phone booth to see if they could make the Guinness Book of World Records.
Nora giggles like a school girl.
The next thing I know, someone pokes a bony finger in the middle of my back like it’s a pistol and starts whispering in my bad ear that the half decent singer was in a car accident 2 days before and is in the hospital. “Swell,” I say, sarcastically. “Nothing has gone right since I woke up. Why should I expect it to now!”
After the guests have arrived, I worry what is taking the wife-to-be so long. Someone is sent to rap on the Ladies room door.
“Give us 5 minutes,” Myrtle shouts.
A minute later, wife-to-be comes out in a panic and says she can’t find her shoes. A quick search turns up nothing. The wedding must go on. The flower girl begins her march down the aisle and then gets paralyzed with stage fright. Her mother starts making frantic, weird faces and flails her arms like a helicopter propeller. The little girl proceeds slowly, but doesn’t toss any petals until she is standing next to me and then dumps the entire contents in a heap. I look dumbly at the pile by my feet while everyone oohs and ahhs and says what a cute little darling she is!
“Aww,” says Nora.
By this time, the harpist/guitar lady should have already been strumming, but she didn’t hear her cue. I thought she was blind, not deaf. She is quietly sitting there and of course you can’t make eye contact with her. When bride- to-be is nearly all the way down the aisle, we finally hear a few chords. All eyes are on the harpist/guitar lady and not on the blushing bride.
“Aww,” says Nora
After the vows and the kiss, we both go to the back of the room where a cold buffet is set up. All the food was brought by friends and family. Cold meats, green salad, macaroni salad, potato salad, pasta salad. Are we having a picnic, I wonder?
Nora tries to stifle a giggle which comes out sounding like a snort.
An old, dusty piano sits in a far corner and Aunt BettyLou decides to tickle the ivories, although she has only played an organ once and that was many years ago. Not knowing any modern love songs, she belts out an ancient church hymn: “Faith of our Fathers…” I quickly rush to her side and tell her to come and eat before the food gets cold. BettyLou looks at me weirdly because there are no hot foods in the buffet. By this time I am feeling gassy and need to use the restroom. I walk in to find there is only one stall and it’s occupied. I can see the white shoes. I walk out, wait 10 minutes and try again. The guy’s still there. So I use the urinal and break wind.
Nora giggles like a school girl with her hand over her mouth.
Before long people start leaving. “Its raining hard,” they say. “Gotta get home.”
“What the f***?” I whisper to the wife. “It was raining when they drove here.”
“Hush,” she says.
I make several trips out to the car carrying the wedding gifts and stuffing them roof high in the wife’s compact car. When I am finally done, I come inside breathing heavy like an obscene caller on the other end of the phone line. The wife takes one look at me and says I’ve ruined my $200 Italian suit. Then she tells me that I have to take down all the decorations and my new in-laws will help. I gather all the cheap Kmart party favors and dump them in plastic bags. Then I fold in the table legs, line them up against the wall and stack up the plastic chairs. Then the streamers come down. Someone had brought a portable trellis and I spend nearly 10 minutes trying to figure it out. To save face, I tell the wife it’s slightly broken and should be tossed out. She glares at me and I know better than to argue. I spend another 20 minutes taking it all apart. I’m thinking I probably broke it in the process.
The wife is still shoe-less, so mother in-law tells her to wear hers, although they are 2 1/2 sizes too large. The wife limps all the way to the car in the drenching rain. At last, we are on our way to the honeymoon. The motel is in another town, a good 20 miles south. With the wipers on high, I still can’t see a thing, so I creep at a snail’s pace and it takes over an hour to get there. I start searching for the motel, driving up and down a busy highway. My eyes peeled out my window and the wife looks out hers. I drive in circles several times till the wife gets frustrated and yells at me to just get any frigging motel.
Finally, I spot one that I am sure is cheap. It’s called the Buck Motel. I soon find out that “Buck” does not mean $1.00, but is the name of the Proprietor. He is a foreign guy with bad teeth and bad English. But I have no difficulty understanding him when he says one night’s stay is $93.13. I glance out the window at the row of run-down shanties and nearly accuse him of highway robbery to his face, when I see my angry looking wife sitting in the car and decide to pay him. Then I usher the wife quickly inside the room and snap on all the lights. The room is tiny and grungy looking. It resembles an efficiency apartment where everything you need is all in one room. The microwave is next to the bed and the coffee maker is in the bathroom. How nice to be able to grab a cup while you’re sitting on the john. Suddenly I see a movement in the corner of my eye. A cockroach is crawling across the carpet. I quietly step on it.
“Isn’t this great, dear?” I say.
The wife is tired and tells me that if I don’t start right away she will fall asleep. She lies down on the lumpy bed and we fool around for about two minutes, when suddenly the wife starts yelling and pointing at something. I follow the direction of her finger and see a roach on the wall. Then I spot what looks like a dead one on the blanket. The mood is over and the wife wants to leave immediately. She tells me to take care of it while she waits in the car. I walk over to the office and tell the foreign guy that we will not be staying another minute and want my money back.
“What tis thee problem?” he asks.
“Roaches!” I shouted.”
” Nah, they be no roaches. Wife clean room.”
“There are roaches everywhere and my wife will not go back inside”
“Nah, nah, no roaches. Wife clean room yesterday.”
We go back and forth like this, defending our wives, until I threaten to call the police. He opens the cash register and hands me my money. We drive away in the pouring rain. The wife suggests we get a pizza and a movie, then head home. I get the pizza and she gets the video. She comes out carrying a small plain brown bag. It’s porn, I think, excitedly. Upon arriving home, we both put on PJs.
“Aww” says Nora.
Then we sit on the living room floor Chinese style in front of the coffee table and grab a slice of pizza while the wife puts the VHS tape inside the machine. I am happy and excited for the first time since I woke up and discovered my eyes were puffy. I look up at the TV screen and to my horror I see Pa and Ma Ingalls on a horse and buggy with little Laura, saying: “Oh, Pa!”
“What the f***?”
“Hush,” the wife says. In less than 30 minutes we are both exhausted and shuffle to bed without having sex.
The next morning I am sworn to secrecy not to tell the in-laws what happened and pretend we are still at the motel enjoying the honeymoon. As luck would have it, my in-laws drive by later in the day on their way to the mall and see our car in the driveway. Shocked, they pull in and ring our doorbell. Despite the vow of secrecy, the wife blabs every grizzly detail. The mother in-law goes to her car to retrieve something. She comes back carrying a plastic bag and hands it to the wife. Inside are her white shoes.
“It was found in the men’s room of all places.” the mother-in-law says.
The wife glares at me and asks if I had played a joke by hiding it there. I try to tell her that I knew absolutely nothing of the whereabouts of her shoes. Then it hits me. The shoes in the stall that I thought were on the feet of some guy who was taking a crap. In hindsight, I recall wondering why the guy was wearing such small, feminine looking shoes.
Nora laughs and snorts like a school girl