To: Jean Deatrick/Jane Johnson
Editors Hill and Lake Press
My life is a pleasant blur and, given the rush of activity around me, I am unable to submit a column for this month. I know that the graduation issue is much appreciated by the community and I am sorry to miss the opportunity to participate, but things could not be more hectic around here. Our daughter Rachael is getting married in a few days and her fiancée Daniel’s parents just arrived from their home in New Zealand. We all decided that a civilized first meeting would be a dinner at our house. Cooking, cleaning, shopping, I do not know how JoAnne did it all. You know I’m kidding. It was a team effort, except for the bathing of the dogs.
It is the morning after and we are still basking in the glow of a wonderful evening. Daniel’s mother Heather is warm, friendly and gracious, and his father John is perhaps even sillier than I am. The night was uproarious, momentous, and satisfying. How does it happen that your children become friends, adults, and good dinner table company? It seems so recent that we had to struggle to get both Rachael and Ben to eat with us without the distraction of the phone or the TV. To have both of our kids, with their partners, and everyone laughing, talking, and eating together, was just not something I could have imagined.
Rather than get married in any of the numerous churches, parks, botanical gardens, halls, arboretums, community centers, beaches, sweat lodges, vacant lots, bowling alleys, or private homes in Los Angeles County, Rachael and Daniel are wisely ignoring my advice and having a destination wedding in Napa Valley. The rationale, as I understand it, is to spread the inconvenience about and have the ceremony in a spot that no one can easily access. The hope is that it becomes a vacation getaway for everyone. Rather than have people adjourn to a moose hall with a cash bar and dance by jukebox (my suggestion) we will all be out in a vineyard hundreds of miles from home, bonding and eating grapes.
I am glad that Rachael and Daniel made up the guest list. They attempted to balance New Zealanders with North Americans, relatives they have never seen with close friends, and still keep it under 75 guests. The Kerry and Bush strategists would have understood the dilemma. Can you invite one cousin and not another? When the dominoes start falling you can end up with a total stranger (someone’s date) taking the spot of an uncle. I think in the first draft guest list I was on the bubble.
If you think that others have been through similar wedding preparation madness, use this as my column and I will provide an uncensored account of the festivities next month.