Originally Posted to Blogger – Tuesday, September 05, 2006
5:00pm, Saturday, September 2nd: Sitting in the hotel restaurant, I realized my glasses were no longer in my tuxedo jacket pocket. I had taken them off for the wedding party pictures and had been very deliberate about keeping them in my coat pocket. Yet they had vanished, and it threw me into a freak out.
As Amy astutely pointed out, I’m kind of OCD about what I do with my personal effects. My glasses, cellphone, keys and wallet are either on my person, or in their designated space at all times. I’m not prone to misplacing these things. I’m totally cluttered otherwise, so this is a defense mechanism for my sanity.
In my state of aggrevation, I managed to be rude to wife and friends as they tried to help me track down my other two eyes. I walked all over the hotel, the restaurant, parking garage, the last car I’d been in, all with no luck. And with the reception starting in just a few minutes, there was no time to backtrack the twenty minutes to the church, where I last remembered having them.
But enough about those silly things for now. Let’s Tarantino things, and back it up…
Friday afternoon found many Armadians on the road to Peoria, IL, for the wedding of our fabulous friends Gene Kelly and Mary McKenzie. Arrival at the hotel lobby put us directly in the arms of Gene, where many hugs and exclamations of happiness were had. Swiftly afterwards friends from various parts of the country appeared and the Holiday Inn became Armada reunion ground zero. The suite Wendy and I shared with Cory and Amy (and Vicki on Saturday night) developed into an impromptu headquarters, being larger than most and right next to the pool. Intense amounts of socializing took place, with many embraces, laughs and general sillyness.
We found the bride at the rehearsal, along with members of the Gene’s family (such as his much beloved sister, parents and world’s-sweetest-grandma). The rehearsal went smoothly, despite our general ri-donk-ulous behaviour, and my constant – and effective – attempts to make Matt crack up in the ceremony line-up. My groomsman spot had me right below a statue of Jesus bearing the Stigmata. I mused on its placement in the middle of his palms, and thanked the big guy again for that time he scored me pizza at the Fantasy Shop.
The rehearsal dinner took place at Mary’s dad and step-mom’s large, beautiful house. The eats were might tasty. The Armadians fought – in vain – to subdue their zaniness around the family folk. Gene presented his “League of Extraordinary Groomsmen” with the single coolest groomsmen gift I’ve ever received – a litho-print of a Gene’s comicy depiction of all of us “League” members. The lot of us were clutching our picture frames and gushing, comparing our likenesses and demonstrating our comic book poses. So. Bad. Ass.
That night, our room played host to lots of friends drinking, playing cards, being boisterous, and generally hanging out until about 3am. It went on a bit longer than I could handle, as I slept through a lot of it. I did get to swim, for a little while, which was really quit nice. The pool was closed for repairs (and because somebody puked in it) the rest of the weekend.
Saturday morning, the guys tuxed up and headed to the church early for pictures. We Armadian men may be a ragtag bunch, but we clean up rather spectacularly. (For one wedding a few years back, we all wore kilts, and if that sounds silly, you are seriously mistaken.) The wedding was abbreviated Catholic style, pretty and fairly simple. Mary was gorgeous (but then again, she always is), and Gene’s smile was even sunnier than usual. Our bridesmaids looked beautiful, and the whole thing went off really smoothly.
Afterwards, more pictures, this time with the ladies. We had fun watching Gene’s face make the rapid morphs between smiling-picture-expression to gosh-I’m-already-tired. After the camera went off, his smile would drop like a drawbridge. Observing the phenom created much chuckling amongst the League. I don’t know if Gene ever caught on. We did photos outside, including pics on a hill doing some of those “everybody’s jumping and looking excited” shots.
Jumping, huh? In a tux? Wonder if that could make something in a coat pocket fly out?
The reception featured tasty full service dinner, emotional toasts from the best man and maid of honor, and frenzied dancing spurred by our friend Brandon’s DJing. I danced for pretty much four hours straight. My feet hurt like hell. Wen can still barely walk. By the end, everyone was exhausted, a bit tipsy and very happy. Gene and Mary stuck it out until the end – tired as can be and just has happy.
Calmer afterhours hanging in the room. Much time spent with Steve and Sarah, Gene and Mary’s closest friends in New York (their currently place of residence). Sarah is an acquaintance of some 8 years, back in my college theatre days, but this was my first time really getting to know her, which is sad, cause she’s pretty fantastic (and an incredible dancer – I’ve never seen such abandon). It was my first time meeting her boyfriend, Steve, who’s as nice a guy as you’ll find, so much fun to hang with and hopefully someone I’ll get many more opportunities to share company with. They very easily fell in with the lot of us and our time was richer for it. I’m very happy that the Kelly’s have such people to hang with in NYC.
Sunday morning, and our room filled up again with Armadians, including Mary and Gene, with whom we made our “love-you-see-you-laters”. A minor complaint knocked 75 bucks off the bill and we were out the door. Joined up with about 15 of our folks (including Big T’s lovely mother, whose company is always welcome) at Pizzaria Uno in a nearby hotel for lunch and last minute comradery. When we finally had to pay the tab and depart, we made a scene in the restaurant by having a fifteen minute lovey-dovey session. Folks who don’t know our group too well are often surprised at what a huggy bunch we are. Every time we see each we share embraces, and a mass-parting (with many friends going to different points on the map) is something to see. Some people don’t know how to handle it at first, but you never leave feeling unloved.
Then Wendy, Doug, the Professor and I trekked back out to the church in search of my glasses. In a few minutes, Doug’s keen gaze found them out in the field where we had taken the jumping photos, thankfully unharmed. With my four eyes intact, we about-faced and headed south to home, with a layover to see my mom and some family.
It was a pretty fantastic weekend. To recover, Wen and I took Monday as our “sit at home and do nothing but watch movies and eat pizza day”. We watched Before Sunset, Wedding Crashers, The Matador and The Punisher. Good times.
And now, even with my glasses, my eyes are blurry from staring at MySpace too long. But, once more, to Gene and Mary – all the happiness two can stand. I love you guys! Cheers!