Monday, September 12, 2005

The wedding last week

Last week seems so long ago. I had a good time in New England, first in Vermont for the wedding, then in Maine visiting my parents, then in Connecticut visiting good friends.

In Vermont, I saw the kids I used to babysit, now all grown up. Pete has a son of his own, a fabulous wild boy who looks a ton like his father did. Angela was married in August and seems happy with her life. The youngest, Kristen, was getting married to Hans on this weekend in a relaxed backyard celebration. Kristen had asked if I would tell a story at the reception, and of course I agreed.

After the wedding, we had appetizers, and then lined up table by table to pile delicious food on our plates from the buffet. Hans is Swedish, and I got to sit next to his grandmother, the only one of the family who spoke no English. She was lovely. After the meal, we had speeches from the fathers (accompanied by catcalls from the mothers and adult children) and the friends, and of course the toasts (schnapps first, with the songs, then champagne). Grandmother sang to the couple in Swedish, and then the hall was cleared so we could get ready for the cake. During the cake, we had a slide show of the wedding couple's parallel upbringings, presented with much laughter by the mothers.

I thought maybe there wouldn't be time for the stories I had prepared, or maybe people would not be interested in listening, but Kristen wanted me to tell after the slide show. Pete and Angela had left early. Too bad--they would have liked hearing "The peanut butter story" again after so many years. They, with Kristen, were the main characters.

I told that story and then "Wali Dad, the simple-hearted," a quiet story from India about a man with a generous heart who brought a princess and a prince together. Next time I'm asked to tell a story at a wedding, I know just the story!

I was surprised. Everybody listened. Nobody chatted in the back of the room, nobody banged the door, nobody even scraped a fork on a plate. And when I was done, it was time to dance.

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