“What? There’s no potatoes?”
(Words spoken by Sharon, music by David)
I’d just put the final touches on the bride’s bouquet. Long stemmed pink roses, a few sprigs of purple statice, white yarrow and lime green ivy. Voila! The wedding bouquet of her dreams. I tensed as I heard a vehicle slowly creeping up the one lane road leading to the farmhouse. The part that typically made the bride and groom a lot less stressed on their wedding day was the fact that we asked that all of the guests, with the exception of anyone helping the wedding couple, arrive 30 minutes before the set wedding time. We still had two hours to go and the bride and her best friend were already upstairs giggling and sipping champagne together while creating something magical with the bride’s hair.
I really wasn’t surprised. Someone always arrived earlier than the set time. I watched as the Cadillac approached and I waited on the porch for the first of the guests to arrive. The elderly couple turned out to be the groom’s grandparents. They’d introduced themselves as Charles and Anna. Their surprised, leery expressions showed their concern for their grandson’s choice of wedding facilities. This was very common, however, and I was used to it after 300 or so weddings here in our little hollow. So I patiently waited while they walked around the porch and stared in awe at the hundreds of butterflies and hummingbirds flitting in and out of the flower gardens. Then I gently led them inside to show them where they could find a bathroom and to the kitchen where coffee, tea and water were provided for the guests. Anna then wandered over to where my prized old cast iron skillets hung from the 200 year old exposed beam in the kitchen.
“I remember cooking in those as a child,” she exclaimed excitedly. “And, look Charles,” she said to her husband, pointing at the old washboard hanging over the pine pantry. “Mama washed her clothes on one of those back when we lived on the farm in Kentucky.” Charles inquired about the old wide plank kitchen table and I told him that my Grandpa and Great Uncle Sam had built it for my great grandparents over 80 years ago. And, that’s pretty much how it went from there. Their gaze would land on some old piece of history that I had laying around or tucked in a corner for decoration and I’d share the story of how it came to be here at our Bed and Breakfast . I pointed out the little photo album of the farmhouse restoration and together they’d taken it out to the rocking chairs on the porch to wait for the wedding.
Earlier that morning at breakfast, we’d went over the general plan for John and Jackie’s perfect wedding day. We’d
pointed out that the weather station was predicting a 40% chance of rain. We usually had the covered wraparound porch decorated as a rain alternative but they were insistent that they only wanted us to decorate the Gazebo as they were positive the rain would hold off. “We’ll just think positive. That’s 60% chance that it won’t rain.” David had told them. We wrote down the names of all of the expected guests so that we had a name to put with the faces as they arrived.
We’d then asked if there were any guests that we should be mindful of; like a mother and a step-mother that shouldn’t be asked to be in the same group photo together. Stuff like that. No, they assured us that everyone was totally okay together.
“Except for my crazy Aunt Sharon.” Jackie had added. “She may or may not show up. She just kind of does her own thing and there’s usually some great story to tell afterwards.”
Of course, there’s a crazy Aunt Sharon. I had thought to myself. Well, okay, we’ll be on the lookout for crazy Aunt Sharon.
The guests all trickled in. No, just kidding they never trickled in. They all arrived about the same time and David and I were “ON” from that moment on. David welcomed everyone on the outside and helped them situate their vehicles while I put on my hostess cap and worked the inside.
A very smartly dressed man approached me just as I was heading upstairs to take the bride’s pre-wedding pictures. I stopped to greet him and he stuck out his hand.
“Hhhhiiii, IIIIII’mmmm, JJJJJJaaaacccckkkkiiii’s DDDAAADDD.” He sputtered and spit in my face. He had a very obvious lisp, speech impediment and a very profound shoulder jerk when he spoke. Now, trust me when I say that I am not mocking this man in the least. I spent much of the third grade in a speech class to correct a lisp and slight stutter. I am only saying that a little warning like, “Oh yeah. My Dad has a very obvious speech impediment and you might not want to stand to close to him as he spits with every word,” would have been very much appreciated. Not to mention that he was very, very negative, wouldn’t let you get a word in edgewise and LOVED to talk.
His first few sentences went something like this: (For the sake of moving this along I’ll leave out my lisp impersonation)
“What in God’s names was my daughter thinking to want to get married out here? What do you do if it snows? The roads must be awful. Why aren’t you setting up the porch for the wedding? You know it’s going to rain and turn everything to mud don’t you?” Before I could answer or defend any of his rude comments, my sweet beloved dog Daisy came through the door. She is normally tucked away safely in the back for these events but we must have left a door open. Actually, it turned out that the brides little brother had went into our private quarters and let her out.
“Your dog is not real smart is she?” he said when Daisy refused to listen to my soft command to go back outside. At that point I truly was tempted to throw my camera down and give that sweet couple upstairs a refund because nobody talked smack about my dog. Daisy whom was almost deaf at the age of 10 didn’t deserve it! We had countless entries in our guestbook saying people would come back just to be with Ms. Daisy.
At that very moment my darling husband wandered in from outside where he had been trapped trying to explain why the little brother really shouldn’t be swinging from our porch railing. David then reached out his hand and said, “You must be John’s dad.” I tried to give him the look but he didn’t heed my warning glance. ““Nnnooo, IIIIII’mmmm, JJJJJJaaaacccckkkkiiii’s DDDAAADDD.” I watched David take a step back, wipe a little moisture from his forehead and then left him there to sort it out for himself.
The wedding actually went off without a glitch. The rain held off and even if there were a few unhappy guests in attendance the bride and groom were oblivious to it and that is all that mattered.
The family photos were very interesting to say the least. The bride’s 17 year old sister had a huge chip on her shoulder about something and kept her arms crossed over her chest and a sour look on her face the whole time. The bride’s 20 year old sister’s boyfriend would not look at the camera and when I asked him to smile he stuck his tongue out at me. Oh and crazy Aunt Sharon was amazing. She helped me clean up the cake plates and wash dishes. She helped pose the family for pictures and in my opinion, she was the only sane member of the bride’s family. Figures!
The little brother that committed the break and entry into our private quarters was a tad bit ADHD. He sat at the table and stared at the cake for a good 30 minutes before it was time to cut it and chanted over and over, “I want cake! I want cake!”
Afterwards, when Aunt Sharon or I would bring in the dirty cake plates, he’d lick the leftover icing off of them. Oh well, we all have our vices.
Earlier, before the wedding, David had overheard the groom, John, and his mother talking on the porch. Apparently, John’s father and step-mother had had a big cookout the night before for both sides of the family.
“Dad grilled steaks and chicken and everything was delicious.” Then his mother asked if there were any potatoes. “No, Mom, I couldn’t believe that there weren’t any potatoes at the cookout.” When he relayed this to his mother, she too had become upset and seemed shocked. “What, are you kidding me? No, potatoes? The potatoes were a no show?” Then John said, “Well, to be honest, it’s probably for the best.” Needless to say, David was very perplexed about why the absence of potatoes at the cook out was such a big deal. This family sure took their potatoes seriously.
At the end of this extremely long day, we stood hand and hand on the porch waving goodbye to the guests as they all
headed out for dinner. I waved to the bride’s parents and rather strange siblings. “Goodbye, Mr. and Mrs. Patayos.”
At first, I felt rather than heard David’s laughter. “What?” I whispered. We watched the last car disappear and he could hold it in no longer and the laughter exploded. “Tell me! Tell me!” I demanded. “I just realized…..” he started to say but couldn’t stop the laughter.
“David, tell me what is so funny!”
“John and his mother weren’t talking about there not being any potatoes at the cookout. They were saying that there weren’t any Patayos’ at the cookout. None of the bride’s family had been there. The Patayos’ were a no-show.”
“Oh my goodness.” I totally understood now and joined in on the laughter. I could also totally agree with John that the absence of the Patayos’ had probably been for the best.
Happy Anniversary to two of our favorites Love Birds!!! Sharon we loved the story and especially enjoyed hearing your voice and David’s music:o)) We can’t think of you two without thinking of “Potatoes”…they always seem to turn up sometime during our adventures. Can’t wait to cross paths again soon!!
I wait for these stories to come, I pretend Ron and I are exploring with you both. Your writing makes one believe they are right there in the moment. We hope to cross paths again. May God continue to show you the way. You are such a blessing to others. With Love, Ron and Connie Swinehart