There are times that, as the old saying goes, I feel like some little old mushroom being kept in the dark and fed poop with respect to the lives of those around me. Whether my mushroom-ness is an unconscious act on my part to avoid a whole spectrum of assorted minutia I can do without or a deliberate act on the part of others to avoid bringing the redneck Neanderthal out in public is something for debate. But even then at some point news eventually filters down to me bringing me into the light, at least momentarily. Such an event happened this week while I was over armpit deep in fighting various work related alligators that have a habit of springing forth at the worst times. Dragonwife called me at work to report that her youngest brother who I will call descriptively "Warren Beatty" was finally tagged a few weeks ago , that is he asked his long suffering and totally fantastic girlfriend to marry him, and that now a date in which he will be bagged has been set. She went on to tell me that the happy couple is going to have a small wedding on some secluded Virginia beach mainly attended by family and "just a few friends".
While the only thing I try to avoid more than a wedding is a funeral but when informed of the wedding's ocean side location I quickly decided that in this case I could make an exception. I religiously follow the rule that a bad day at the beach always is better than a good day at work or one stuck at home. Even when that day at the beach forces me into what I am sure will be some sort of formal attire and having to deal with people I don't know and all sorts of social rules that might as well be high level quantum physics to me. After returning home from work free of my concerns there and my nature being what it is I began trying to figure out an angle that could get me out of the formal ceremonies allowing me to more readily enjoy my usual beach practices. It was then that my daughter, Miss Wiggles, came running into the living room from the backyard holding a brother, or at least a distant cousin, to the Geico gecko screaming that the little guy was hungry and that he needed a honey bun. Various ideas about how to avoid the wedding ceremonies flew through my head as I tried to talk Miss Wiggles into releasing the gecko even as the little guy's eyes were beseeching me to get him away from what I'm sure he thought of as the cute terror holding his life in her hands. It didn't take too long for me to realize that the best plan to accomplish what I wanted involved my little girl standing right in front of me. After some serious negotiating the gecko was returned to the backyard with a small piece of honey bun and my daughter in turn received a tall glass of chocolate milk to go with the rest of the honey bun. I then called my mother-in-law to sacrifice myself for the sake of an uninterrupted wedding.
One thing you have to understand about my in-laws is that each and every one of them are a very structured, controlled, and deliberate person. I do not offer this as a criticism, although they would certainly differ, but just an observation of how their family works. My family is almost completely spontaneous with most plans of any nature not surviving contact with the morning light. They in turn just about plan everything to a microscopic detail at times strangling the life and fun out of what they wish to do. Being honest here but both the spontaneous and the structured ways of doing things have their benefits and drawbacks. Many times my family have meant to do one thing with a last minute minor change in plan ruining just about everything else. On the other hand going on vacation with my wife at times can feel like some timed road march I use to have in the army with her rushing us from one location to another to beat the crowd or make some parade. Holidays like Christmas with my in-laws also are a structured affair with each event like opening presents timed down to the second and Christmas dinner being thrown into a nuclear meltdown panic as someone realizes that a vital ingredient for some gourmet dish is missing. My family in turn would just throw out the failed dish and open a can of Spam. But all things being equal my in-law's desire to have everything perfect with every person in their place and a place for every person often runs slap into the face of reality.
When Mrs. Sunshine, my mother-in-law, answered her phone I began feeling her out about the wedding asking her if Miss Wiggles was going to have any duty in the ceremonies. She said no, and then I asked her what the general idea of the wedding was going to be like. While it is planned to be a simple affair the couple have each written special vows that will be performed with several pieces of music being played that are important to both. As she stayed true to her family's structured nature going into every tiny detail of what was planned I struggled to avoid its mind numbing effects as I was told the various color schemes and flowers that were going to be used along with where and how they would be placed on the beach as water from the light surf would lap over the young couple's feet as they speak their vows. Once she was finished and I took several hits from the beer I had opened about eleven to twelve minutes into her description I asked her if it would be best for Miss Wiggles and myself to hang back at some other location (I was thinking a Tiki bar with a drop dead gorgeous female bartender) to avoid any undue outbursts that might derail the event. Mrs. Sunshine was completely flabbergasted that I would even suggest such a thing saying that all the plans, while not having the children in the ceremonies, none the less required the children to be present. I took a deep breath and opened another beer as I told my mother-in-law that in all the trips to the beach I make with the kids it is habit to let them in general, and Miss Wiggles in particular, to run absolutely wild to burn off as much energy as they can. I also reminded her about how at our last visit to their house we all went to Shoney's for a quick dinner and had to drag Wiggles off the salad bar after she slipped away from Dragonwife and crawled up on it to get more macaroni and cheese after we all said she couldn't have any until she ate her peas. Mrs. Sunshine, in her best Southern accent, said that her granddaughter had certainly outgrown such behavior by now. I almost told her she needed to ask a certain terrified gecko about that presumption but thought against it.
Sometime later Dragonwife came storming up the stairs into the computer room wanting to know why I was doing my best to avoid her brother's wedding, yes her mother called back at some point. While our relationship is light-years from perfect, hell it's light-years from normal, she and her mother know me well enough to have figured out my intentions. In all seriousness I told her that while yes I didn't necessarily have a warm fuzzy about standing on a beach in my one and only suit while sickly sweet music played and dozens of other in-laws I still didn't know after more than a decade of marriage hovered around the happy couple. I did think it would be better if Wiggles and I were someplace else so she wouldn't try to run off and go swimming as they exchanged vows. My wife assured me that she would have a talk with our daughter before hand to prevent her from showing such a behavior. One must always realize, at least with my wife and her family, when talking any further is meaningless. So I told her okay and that as long as she thought she could control Wiggles I would go along with their plans. My son, Darth Spoilboy, who was seriously boggarting the computer working his mySpace page and staying in contact with all his friends online, began snickering since he knew first hand about Wiggles’ nature on a beach. Dragonwife walked back downstairs happy that I had gone her way but unsettled that Spoilboy too thought their plans unworkable. It doesn't really matter to me in the end since I will have my camera and the antics of my daughter and the reactions from my in-laws and the bride's family will make great pictures to post. If I get a video camera I may even get something that might get me some money from America Funniest Videos and no matter what I will find a Tiki bar.