Candy Rant

"I killed a rat with a stick once."

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Ominous Clouds, Vows, Rain, Cows

The Wedding, June 23rd

Manicure: check.
Pedicure: check.
Bleeding from both procedures halted with carefully placed bread wrapper twisty-tie tourniquets: check.

Long, hot bath at Mom and Dad's condo, meant to relax the bride: check.

Except that it doesn't relax me. I have such butterflies in my stomach it feels like I'm getting ready to go to my senior prom, give my first in-front-of-the-class book report in 8th grade, and stand naked in a Macy's display window all at once. I am fuh-reaking out. I close myself into the guest bedroom, alone, and try to breathe while I comb out my wet hair. The butterflies are agitated, banging up against my stomach innards like drunken geese in a suit of armor.

By the time my sister (one of my 2 "Best Women") comes to pick up my parents and me for the wedding, I have entered the Cave of Surrealism. The wedding is really going to happen. Soon. I am going to put on the long purple dress (that matches the deep lilac nail polish adorning all 20 of my digits) and marry the guy I am completely ga-ga over. The one I've been flying back and forth to Phoenix a zillion times for in the last year and 10 months. The one who radiates "The Right One" vibe. The one I met on a blog. That's right, we met in the comments section of a blog authored by my friend Gail. She and I taught together at the Big Giant University for 9 years, our desks within spitting distance. Little did I know that in the 8th year, by casually stopping by her blog, I would run head-on into the guy I'd been waiting for my whole life. Not the first guy I married, but the only right one. And as we drive to the wedding site, I am actually happy to have endured that terrifically sour debacle of a marriage. It makes the anticipation about this one, the real one, even more electric. What will it be like to build a life with someone who is truly my partner and not some wildly antagonistic intellectual wanna-be with the sensitivity and warmth of a wooden leg? No offense to wooden legs.

As I am contemplating these and many other things, such as why I haven't managed to lose the porky 15 pounds I swore I would lose before the wedding, my digestive tract continues to imitate an angry python receiving a rectal exam. And the roads are no help because they, too, serpentine violently as we near the land where the hoot owls do you-know-what to the innocent, unsuspecting chickens. (Actually I'm now starting to be suspicious of the chickens. Those little come-hither looks they throw at the doddering old owl with their beady eyes. Like a coop of feathered Olsen twins twitching their beaks at Walter Cronkite.)

4:00 Candy and her entourage arrive. The 4 of us. As it has been all day, the sky is gray and cloudy. It is hinting at foulness. The white tents look sturdy but nervous. They have post-traumatic stress memories from having been blown down and pulverized on Thursday night. Scott's family, the part who's been in town for 3 days helping us prepare, is in the tent. They're all dressed up, which reminds me that I'm getting married. I'm not just at my niece's house to see her and her family and to play with her dogs and cats and run in the yard like a drooling mongrel myself. I have to act normal.

I go into the house and put my girlie supplies in the warehouse-sized bathroom off the master bedroom. This will be my dressing room. But we still have 2 hours before the wedding. I go outside to mingle. We've planned it so that people arrive around 5:00 to hang out for awhile before the big hoedown. The wedding is at 6:30. Our entire families will have time to meet and hobnob and maybe there could be some colorful name-calling and fistfights. You never know what'll happen when you get the city folk together with the country ones. Today is the one time on Planet Earth that this particular group of people will be congregated, and the whole idea is blindingly bizarre to me. Once about 20 years ago there was a social occasion when one of my high school friends met one of my college friends and I thought my hair follicles would melt together like Barbie hair from the not-supposed-to-happen feeling. My life is nice and compartmentalized. When the boundaries between the compartments dissolve, so do I.

I go outside to the tent wearing a brown knit extremely comfortable dress and no shoes and am told "You look like an Appalachian bride. Where are your shoes?" Mingle, mingle, mingle. I'm mingling before my wedding. Which is happening today. My brothers show up from Cincinnati with their families. Scott's dad and stepmom arrive from Columbus. Scott's brother and wife and three kids get there. There is a flurry of introductions among them and even though there will be only family, 50 people max, it is too much for me to take in. I start walking across the sharp gravel in my bare feet to distract myself. People are eating the gourmet hors d'oeuvres Scott has made. Fancy little antipasto and uppity yummy things I do not recognize except for the toothpick rammed through them.

Scott yells for me. Wes is here! The pastor from my church in Illinois. He's been kind enough to drive 2 hours to officiate. He has arrived early just to make sure he could find the place. Smart guy. We have a 5-minute rehearsal in the tent, which is really more than we need.

"You stand here. I'll say this and then this."

He's headed back to the bed & breakfast for awhile, and will return to do the official deed. Not much of a mingler, Wes. His wife has stayed behind in the room, reading a book. "She doesn't do weddings," he says. "Think about it. She only knows one or 2 people besides me, and I'm working." Last night Scott and I put Wes and Sheryl up at the very same bed & breakfast where we will stay tonight. In the very same suite, which is the entire third floor of a monstrous spooky house that used to be the town's YMCA. One of the big reasons we have chosen to stay there (other than the fact that my hometown has exactly one motel, rented by the hour and skanked up to the level where Dateline's secretion-finding blacklight would explode when shined on the bedspreads) is that this B & B has a full-sized basketball gymnasium hooked onto the kitchen. No lie. I am dying to play some basketball, just the two of us, the morning after we get hitched.

The Hitching

I'm just about to go in the house to put on my real dress and I see someone walking up the gravel driveway. This driveway is approximately the length of the Great Wall of China, so it takes a few minutes to hobble up it. The face comes into focus. No, that's mouth hangs open in disbelief. It is Teresa! Remember her? My friend from work who was one of the evil duo who planned my surprise going-away party? She's been ragging on me for months about not being allowed to wear purple taffeta and be a flower girl in the wedding. She has CRASHED the wedding! She and her daughter Bethany haved brazenly crashed our tiny "family only" wedding. I am so happy that I run screaming toward her. I am a chihuahua who does everything but pee on her. I didn't do that. Really. It didn't happen.

I run into the house. Scott is in the back bedroom putting on his wedding attire.

"SCOTT!" I yell.
"I need you. Right now."

It is true. Those who hear this little exchange may be a bit perplexed.

He is only halfway dressed but I drag him to come out and see who is here and he howls just like I did. Teresa has that effect. We adore her. And she is impossible to compliment, so when she reads this she will roll her eyes and scowl. Yes, Teresa, I can see you.

Meanwhile, the weather is looking extra pissy. My niece has looked at the radar online and she says some big-eyed, technical weathery things to Scott, who translates for me: "There's a big-ass storm coming. Maybe even tornado-y looking."

Great. We decide to call Wes back from the B & B, hopefully not in the middle of things pastors should never, ever do. At least not in the bed I will be sleeping in tonight. We tell him it's time to get the show on the road before we all get blown down the hill into the pond.

The pre-wedding music is now playing. We've picked out a dozen songs and burned them on a CD. Among them: The "Looney Tunes" theme and that song Bernadette Peters plays on her trumpet while walking on the beach with Steve Martin in "The Jerk." In between the songs, Scott's recorded voice says things like "It is now time to move toward the wedding pavilion. Please do not put chewing gum on the bottom of the rental chairs." The mood is set.

It is really time to put on the purple dress now. I bought this amazing dress in Scottsdale almost a year ago. I had the wedding dress before I had the engagement ring. It screamed to me from the rack: "There is one of me and I'm your favorite color of all time and I'm your size!" I broke all the wedding rules and had Scott look at it when I tried it on. He made some very ungentlemanly comments about it and I had to close the dressing room door on his hands, which told me it was the right dress.

When Wes gets back, he is in his suit. I tell him he looks hot. Scott says, "You mean he looks hot for a man of God. And he looks hot for a married man of God."

Wes needs us to sign the marriage license. I have been interrupted in mid-war paint and have one eyelid all sparkly with bronze eye shadow. I have on my wedding dress and one shoe. I am a study in fashion asymmmetry. I take off the shoe and go to the dining room table where Wes is waiting with the official document. Soon it will all be legal.

Scott tells me we have 15 minutes. One eyelid to go.

And this is where it starts getting fuzzy. I'm just warning you. It's not a cop-out. I do have some details in my brain, but I zoned out so hard I felt like I was back at the Doobie Brothers concert in 1979. The very smoky Doobie Brothers concert.

My mom and dad and I get ready to walk down the "aisle" which means walking out of the garage, down Michele's patio, into the tent and down a grass aisle between the seats. My mom is wearing a gorgeous purple suit one shade lighter than my dress, and my dad's in a suit with a fantabulous purple silk tie I brought him from the big city. I'm between them. My dad, now 89 and struggling to walk, and with very little memory, is here. He's at my wedding, which I never thought would happen. He was frail 2 years ago when I had very little hope of meeting the love of my life. I remember thinking as I stood at my niece's wedding 2 summers ago, watching my mom and dad very gingerly slow dance, that even if I met someone, they'd never get to meet my dad. We walk down the aisle, the three of us, and I hold my bouquet, 36 lavender and white roses, and mostly don't look up at anyone because I'm watching my dad's feet to make sure he does OK. I am so happy my parents are both with me. Even though I know my dad will, tomorrow, not remember that we were here.

A Stevie Wonder song plays instead of the usual wedding march. Scott is up there smiling at me. And it's so close to what I pictured and hoped for that I pretty much play freeze-tag in my brain right there. He's still Scott, but he's Wedding Scott. Like a special strangely-lit version of himself that I'm even more in love with.

My entire system of consciousness taps me on the shoulder and says "This is one of the big highlights of your life. Pay attention." Yes. I can tell this is going to be on the greatest hits list of memories when I'm Candy, Retiree. But for the life of me, I can not stay in my head. Thank God the whole thing is on video. I hope to visit it when I get the nerve to watch it. I do remember a pregnant pause before I repeated "For richer or for poorer." Not because I had to consider that part, but because I was trying not to cry. (Wussie.) And then we did the vows we'd written privately to each other. I remember those. But they were so personal and so emotional that if I tried to write them down here I'd have to spread myself on a cracker and go to bed in a Tupperware container tonight.

Scott looks unforgettably fantastic in his dark grey suit, blazing white shirt, purple tie. I can't look at him hard enough.

In 20 minutes it is over. Wes says his ending prayer, and when we are pronounced husband and wife, we turn to our guests and smile, with our fake Billy Bob teeth in our mouths. Yes, really. This here is a Hoosier weddin' and don't you fergit it.

Oh, and in case you have forgotten about the run-for-the-hills storm clouds that have been hovering all afternoon? They are about to blast. The food is brought out to the tent, tables arranged, dozens of groovy color-changing candles begin to glow in the blue-gray air. Scott and I run up an intimidatingly tall, winding staircase to reach the top of one of the giant silver grain bins. I have to ditch the high heels and hold my dress up like a wading cowgirl to keep from tripping. Our poor photographer, willful experimenter that he is, climbs up the one next to ours and gets some photos. We can see for miles and we're away from everybody and it's romantic and then it's suddenly apparent that standing on a tall metal structure as the storm gets closer is the kind of thing that will be a blurb in Yahoo's Weird News: "Newlyweds Electrocuted Moments After Vows."

Our photographer, Jim, has us run down the big rolling hill toward the cow pasture. He captures on film a mixture of "The Sound of Music" and "HeeHaw." He poses us this way and that, even lying on his side in the grass, in his suit, to get the angle he's visualized. He's won national awards for his work, and you can see the guy is into it. He's practically spritely as he runs about.

Eating. Lots of eating. Scott's many Italian options go over big. The sky grows darker. Not because it's the evening. Indiana is on whacked out Daylight Savings Time and the sun does not go down in June until 9:30. The storm is just around the bend. We can see it coming.

And then it's here. Pouring pouring rain. Wind whipping the tent like a lazy field donkey.

We cut the wedding cake. It is white with purple polka dots. Jim finds his perfect vantage point right where 2 tents are hooked together, and are leaking under the pressure of the deluge. Then, the piece de resistance: The Kitty Litter Cake. It is deliciously disgusting. Melted miniature Tootsie Rolls boosting it to its full potential of grossness. My brother later tells me "It was good. And I even found a turd."

The storm has now changed from an awkward, creepy, unwanted wedding guest to something that might kill us. Every grown man present is on his feet, trying to roll down and secure the sides of the tent to protect us from the horizontal rain. The women are looking at one another a little panicked about the whole thing. It's all so loud we have to yell, and it is becoming clear that the dancing we've planned is not going to happen. This is a huge letdown. My nephew Clint, age 19, does the most ridiculous, high-kicking, inbred hick dance to "Rocky Top" that has ever been seen. It has changed lives. I've seen it at three family weddings. Once you've witnessed it, you cannot erase it from your memory. I've looked forward to it for months, and Clint even reassured me that he was an "All Terrain Dancer." But it is not to be. People are loading up to take off, many for a 3 hour drive.

Scott and I indignantly taunt the downpour and walk out into it, getting drenched for a photo. We truly look idiotic but it's fun.

With just a few people left around, Jim packs up his lenses and wraps it up for the night. Scott and I are in the open garage, kissing as he backs out of his parking spot. From the window of his truck, Jim yells. It's raining so hard we can't see him.

"Do that again!" he says.

"Do what again?"

"Kiss underneath that garage light."

We do. And then he pulls away.

Scott says "I paid him ten bucks to say that."

My pricey sandals are found outside the tent, left behind to their own ruin during the "Sound of Music" scene. When I squeeze the soles, water drips out. Having forgotten to bring extra shoes, I go to the bed & breakfast barefoot. Tired. Married. Happy. Fake teeth in one hand, bouquet in the other.


  • At 9:00 AM, Blogger prairie biker said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  • At 12:59 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Edited quote by Prairie Biker, who used Candy's real name, and also is insane because he thinks I will procreate.

    "ha! these are great stories. I really hope you have them printed out and saved for posterity somewhere just in case the whole entire internetty webby thing dies one day. You know, because your children will want to read them one day."

  • At 2:25 PM, Blogger E. said…

    Sounds like a great wedding. I love weddings without the poufy white dress and all the formalities, but with touches that reflect the actual personality of the couple being married. How wonderful that you found a man that makes you feel all that you describe above. Too bad about the impending storm chasing off your dancers, esp the high-kicking nephew. But it sounds like a great day anyway. (Esp. the groom-made delicacies and the kitty litter cake.)

    "No offense to wooden legs" - Hilarious.

  • At 9:42 PM, Blogger Lisa Dunick said…

    What?? No procreating?? But pregnancy is so much FUN!

    Anyway- sounds like a beautiful day. If only I'd thought of the teeth for my own nuptuals...

  • At 9:56 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    e., I'm right with you on the white poufy dress thing. Like I had any choice. If I'd worn white the storm would have definitely killed me.

    LD, you can do my share of pregnancies! Have at it!

  • At 1:47 PM, Blogger Jinserai said…

    "Like a coop of feathered Olsen twins twitching their beaks at Walter Cronkite."
    Ow. My head. Medic!

    Candy, I say this with all due affection for your lunacy, but you are nuttier than, well, a nut. Seriously. A nut. Sitting on a table, all by its lonesome. With nothing around to detract from its nut-like nature. In comparison you make it look decidedly un-nutlike, and more like an aardvark or something. Love the wedding. Except for not knowing what any of the family or your hubby look like, I could see the whole thing in my head. Brilliant!

  • At 3:25 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Jinserai, a big vat of affection back to you. And a mirror to allow you to see that nutty goodness staring back at you. You can't fool me. I know your history.

    Oh, and I don't know what my husband looks like either. I was blindfolded. It was a deal brokered at the Russian mail order bride catalog.

  • At 9:11 PM, Blogger Ana Martin said…

    Thou doth rulethethest. Th.

  • At 9:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Candy, I couldn't be happier for you if I tried. What a gorgeous story! It couldn't have happened to a nicer slag.

    And actually, standing naked in the Macy's display window isn't all that nerve-wracking once you've done it a few times. But I hardly need to tell *you* that....

  • At 2:06 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Jackie...I'll never forget our days in the display window. But wasn't that Amsterdam?

    Ana, thanksth.

  • At 4:10 PM, Blogger EB said…

    Ok, Jackie and Candy, I know that your egos can't really handle the memory of how good my naked ass looked in that window with you, but the least you could do is remember that I was there.

    Remember -- we all scored our hot babe of a rockstar/chef boyfriends the same day!

    Oh wait. Was this post about something else? That's right! Some hot babe of a chef (boyfriend then fiance then) husband threw a big rock on Candy's finger and stole her from us.

    If I knew that's all it would take, I would've given you a boulder.

  • At 4:17 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    EB, we were TRYING to save you the embarrassment of your multi-continent police record. Which is at least better than a multi-incontinent record.

    Yes. He stole me. And I'm being held hostage in the friggin desert. Send help.

    Oh God. Here he comes.

  • At 8:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi. Did I interrupt something?

  • At 1:33 AM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Er, no, uh, sweetie pie! Everything's fine!

    [h e l p]

  • At 9:13 AM, Blogger Miss B said…

    congratulations... many years of peace, love, and happiness to you...

    thanks for sharing your day with us!


  • At 9:14 AM, Blogger Domhan said…

    I hope to god you'll soon have wedding pix (with billybob teeth) available for purchase. Set up an ebay site, willya?

    Just to let you know... "boink straight" was in your city recently. That's code, you know.

    Your wedding sounds like heaven, weather and all. A DAMN site better than the Little Bo-Peep get-up I had to bridesmaid in.

    What a great blog!

  • At 10:36 AM, Blogger Jerry said…

    Just stumbled on your blog. Very funny stuff. Your new husband is a lucky guy to have a wife with such a good sense of humor.

    Arrange these posts and put them into a book.

  • At 2:28 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Good Lord! Candy gets up at noon and has missed all the action.

    Thanks, Miss B! I hope to grow very old with this man. I want us to dodder together.

    Domhan...I've always loved you with the Bo-Peep vibe. You have got to embrace your inner shepherdess.

    Jerry...welcome to Candyland. Nice stumbling! I'll ask my new husband if he feels lucky. As soon as he chews through the duct tape.

  • At 2:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    ...and stand naked in a Macy's display window all at once.

    That was you?

    The one I've been flying back and forth to Phoenix a zillion times for in the last year and 10 months.

    I was on to you early, you know.

    ...such as why I haven't managed to lose the porky 15 pounds I swore I would lose before the wedding...

    You looked pretty darned good to me, sister.

    (other than the fact that my hometown has exactly one motel, rented by the hour and skanked up to the level where Dateline's secretion-finding blacklight would explode when shined on the bedspreads)

    I hate to tell you this, but that would happen in almost any hotel. It's true. Always remove the bedspread with a pair of tongs.

    I have been interrupted in mid-war paint and have one eyelid all sparkly with bronze eye shadow. I have on my wedding dress and one shoe. I am a study in fashion asymmmetry.

    It would have been a nice touch to walk down the aisle like that.

    A Stevie Wonder song plays instead of the usual wedding march.

    Dear God, no. Please tell me it wasn't You Are the Sunshine of My Life. Then again, I suppose anything is better than Pachyderm's Cannon.

    Every grown man present is on his feet, trying to roll down and secure the sides of the tent to protect us from the horizontal rain.

    That could have been hugely entertaining had they been in the usual condition of reception guests.

    Now, the traditional wishes: To the groom, congratulations. To the bride, good luck.

  • At 2:30 AM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Yow, you're thorough, Craig!

    Yes, it was me in the Macy's window. I was the one in the unfortunate pose with the taxidermied weasel.

    I was naive enough to think that NO ONE was onto us. Nope, nothing going on here. Move along.

    Thanks for saying I looked good. Look for my co-starring role in Orca 2.

    Are you kidding me? I remove my OWN bedspread with tongs. And a surgical mask.

    I really should've gone down the aisle asymmetrically. I wussed out.

    No no! Not "Sunshine of My Life." It was "Overjoyed." Almost as sappy.

    I didn't say the grown men were clothed.

    Thanks. Scott's the one who'll need the luck. Big time.

  • At 9:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The funny thing about that was that Gail steadfastly feigned ignorance about your little dalliance. How about that Skyport? The first time you taxied after landing there, did you think you must be in Mexico by the time you finally arrived at the gate?

  • At 7:31 PM, Blogger Steve B said…

    "my digestive tract continues to imitate an angry python receiving a rectal exam."

    BWAHAHAHA! Oh lordy. That was a serious coffee through the nose, spray the monitor phrase, there.

    Classic stuff.

  • At 10:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  • At 10:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  • At 5:43 PM, Blogger Citlali said…

    Freakin' awesome. LOL, LOL, LOL. Wow, I'm so glad you realized about the "metal structure" & lighting before you got fried... The kitty-litter cake: priceless. (I made one for my nephew's birthday once.) Thank you for sharing = ]


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