To have and to hold

Day two of the wedding arrived. Steve was up for a bit and looked decidedly better, though we shooed him back to bed after a brief time in the sun. After some final touch-ups to the décor the guests started streaming in; over a period of hours, more than a hundred people descended on 750 Cross Country road, with their dishes and tents and dogs and babies. Today was thus the real wedding day, a last chance.

Faro created a bit of a stir after being bitten by a dog who felt threatened by the little boy walking around with a big stick. The bite, right above his eye, produced a lot of blood and had all of us imagine hours in the emergency room, producing Disappointment number 2. Luckily we had a whatsapp group and were able to send a picture of the cleaned up face to the 3 Dutch family doctors in our party who signaled back that, with all vaccinations being up to date and the cut above the eye, there was no need for an emergency room visit. With a bandaid and the panic gone, Faro rejoined the party and was good until he indicated he was tired; a very rare thing for a 4 year old.

Sita and family lodged in one of the 3 RV campers parked on the field. It was quite cozy and convenient. I had rented an entire house via AirBnB house a short distance from Tessa and Steve’s, for most of the Dutch contingent. It was built in 1794, expanded, upgraded, with retrofitted bathtubs for small people, undulating creaky floors and good beds. It was perfect for us, slow wake ups, staggered breakfasts and late evening reviews of the events of the day, while sipping Cointreau out of egg cups.

Steve was roused from his sick bed, dressed up, in ways Steve does dress up, and positioned once more on the deck, and the ceremony took place exactly as Tessa and Steve had planned. It was lovely. Axel gave the bride away, Sita and Jim played their harvest moon song, we clapped and cheered, the sun was out; all was well. Later, after dinner, speeches and before the bonfire and silent disco, we sang the song that Jim and I wrote on the tune of Norwegian Woods about the couple’s courtship and 11 year runup to the wedding. Sita and Jim tried their level best to coax the 100 or so chorus to sing in tune and in tempo. It was a poor performance from a musical standpoint but luckily everyone had the words and nothing mattered anymore now that the couple was up front, beaming and married.

The potluck was fabulous. Some people had created the dishes that they submitted to the Harvest Moon cookbook that Axel and I put together. Others had parents with a restaurant (Woodman’s famous clam chowder) or ice cream parlor (Down River Ice cream in Essex) – and brought in the kind of large containers usually provided by caterers.

All the while Saffi darted around emptying the mason jars that Sita had so nicely filled with battery operated light, and refilling them with stones. The bottom of her diaper and back of her lovely pink dress covered with leaves and dirt. She was happy to be picked up by anyone giving them her winning smile. And so we forgave her instantly for the re-work she was creating for all of the decorators. We retired to our AirBnB when the party became a party of young people, had our Cointreau, massaged weary feet and retired.

We are turning our heads towards the next event, which is an Indonesian Rijsttafel tonight back in manchester by the sea; for me it is one more week of vacation.

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