So there was Becca and me, grandma and grandpa (who puts a gold star next to my name every time I get him into the Magic Castle) and their kids and spouses, including necessarily my dad and his wife, and her son and his wife. And great-uncle Bob, grandma's brother. Through luck of the table, I was seated next to Uncle Bob, who I've met maybe once or twice before in my entire life.
Fortunately, he turns out to be a great dinner companion now that I'm finally old enough to appreciate his stories. He served in North Africa at the end of WWII and told stories of Casablanca and Tunis and Tripoli. Of selling his cigarette ration on the black market. Of how his high school French came in handy with the mademoiselles who had fled France when the Nazis came. Presumably, he could have used his French with the monsieurs, too, but that didn't seem to have left as deep an impression.
Uncle Bob is also something of a science fiction fan. In civilian life, he (like a couple of his brothers) drove truck. He fondly remembers driving hundreds of miles through the night, watching meteors and thinking about outer space. Varoujan and I were both a little leery of his approving remarks about Velikovsky, but since Bob only seems to consider his work a form of science fiction, I guess that's the right attitude.
After dinner, of course, were the magic shows. All the acts we saw were good, but not the best we've seen there. One performer clearly had exceeded the legal limit on waterfowl in one's clothing. Grandma was in a feisty mood, since she all-but heckled one of the performers. Varoujan showed us around and tried out his own magic skills on us. He's certainly more smooth and practised and versatile than the first time he tried out his magic on us, but his hands still quiver like aspens.
Friday day, Rebecca and I did wedding-stuff and cocktail-party-stuff, for we had invited all the out-of-town guests (and a special few in-town guests) to a cocktail party at our house. Thank Yog-Sothoth we didn't go through with the plan of also having a breakfast set-up, because there was barely enough time to prepare for what we did. Friday evening, I believe just about everyone we invited to the cocktail party came, and boy did it look like it. The front room was packed to the walls with people. I'm still really glad we did it, since it gave us a bit more time to hang out with the distant relatives, but it was pretty chaotic.
Saturday, you already know about. I'll just jot down here the Clark Ashton Smith poem that I read during the ceremony:
To house our happy love
We long for an alcove
Curtained against the dawn in Ispahan,
Or some Algerian roof, whereon
At eventide to lie
And watch the fiery passing of the sky;
Till morning takes the last star, ere it set
Beyond the parapet.
In this one little room, this homely place,
Have we not known enough of time and space?
With mouths together drawn,
Have we not prayed the night to linger on,
And found as much of glamor manifold,
Of happiness and pleasure,
As our four hands can measure
And our two hearts can hold?
Sunday morning, we met up with some of Becca's family for breakfast. Emily needed to get her Griddle Cafe fix, so we waited interminably for a table big enough for us all. I think I paid a lot more attention to my meal than the other guests, but I was starving and starting to come down with a little cold. Not to mention the newfound and happy distraction of marital bliss. With breakfast over, life could begin to go back to normal. When we got back to the house, we unloaded all the wedding presents and undrunk booze from the cars and moved it inside. A brief orgy of present unwrapping ensued, followed by (if I recall correctly) several hours of drinking beer and watching football... a much needed reward for both of us after being continuously on-the-go for the past three and half days.
Slowly over the past week, we've put the house back in order again--with the wedding following close on the heels of the cocktail party, it's not as though we had time to clean up after the cocktail party, much less deal with the presents and their scattered wrappings and boxes.
Yesterday, we put up one of our presents--an overhead wineglass rack. It was something of a comedy of errors getting it up there. We indulged in our usual home-improvement ritual of drinking margaritas before attempting to use powertools. When building IKEA furniture, margaritas work a wondrous magic that keep me on an even keel when discovering that parts or missing or that things don't fit correctly. However, when experimenting with home carpentry without even the benefit of Swedish instructions, margaritas may not necessarily be your friend. If I knew then what I know now, it would have come out better, but it's up, it's done and it's sturdy. Even if it does look like Homer Simpson's spice rack.