a tale of two weddings, and all the shit that happened in-between
We're back in Boston, although it still feels like Georgia. It was 94 yesterday, which is much worse in Boston than elsewhere, as the newest buildings up here were constructed in 1700, and thus lack central air conditioning. Air circulation in our building was initially controlled by a then-sophisticated system of cogs and gears powered, at the time, by the anguished writhings of tortured witches. Today we just use lots and lots of fans.
Georgia was splendid, if maybe too Georgian. Meaning that it was as hot and muggy as Surtur's jock strap, and that part of us is still stuck in traffic somewhere. It was less a vacation and more a trip back to 2002, when I was living with my folks and the wife was up in Dalton. Actually it was like we were on tour, but with only two stops, Marietta and Calhoun, with us going back and forth between the two almost every day. Throw in a quick detour to my folks' lake house in South Carolina (in order to do yardwork) and you have the least relaxing vacation since Ulysses took the boys for a sail.
But so, a quick rundown of the high points:
1. Cokey B was awesomely wedded, to the lovely Mrs. Cokey B. Most fun I've had at a wedding since my own. Probably more fun, since I was able to enjoy this one fully. Pretty much the ultimate high point, as I got to see a billion people I love and never ever see any more. Also I enjoy getting completely shit-faced for free. And I feel good in a tuxedo. When I was a kid and I'd dream about the future I was always wearing a tuxedo, so when I'm in a wedding I feel more than ever like I'm fully living in the future. The bartenders were pretty bad dudes; we all thought one was a male stripper / potential former American Gladiator, and the other was a 70-year-old Czech who mixed like 9 parts whiskey to 1 part coke. Good men all around. And the dj'ing skills of Dan and Amy have yet to atrophy. Hey DJ, how about renewing your vows next year, so's we can do it all again? Or maybe get this one annulled and re-up next season.
2. I lived my longest series of really long nights since that time I refused to sleep back in '99 or so. We were up 'til at least three am our first four nights back in town. The first night wasn't really fun, as the lateness was due to a delayed flight and our inability to find an open grocery store. Nights two through four, though, were entirely due to hanging out, a skill that we have allowed to rot up here in Boston. I guess we left Loco's relatively early that second night, at like 12:30, but we were still up for a couple hours after that. Hittin the Local after the rehearsal dinner was an excellent idea, and a fine flashback to the ER before it became amazingly shitty. After the wedding on Saturday a bunch of us headed straight to Roby's pool, where I sat around in my tux getting too drunk and talking to Chris Alender and Chris Thorn about high school shit and comic books. I think we left there around four, sat in a Krystal drive-thru for like twenty minutes, than dropped the Alenders off at their hotel. Anyway, unmatchable delights all around.
(aside: my iPod's shuffling like a godly genius right now. best mix ever.)
3. Families are beautiful things. I got to see all of mine, on both sides, multiple times. My eldest brother picked us up from the airport on Wednesday, and the next night we dined with he and his wife. That night I met my youngest nephew Wil for the first time. He has an impressive head. My parents were in Bermuda the first few days we were down, so I didn't catch sight of them until Sunday. But what a sight it was! No finer parents have ever existed, except perhaps for Mr. and Mrs. Moore, whose new house in Calhoun proffered both a refreshing pool, an adorable cat, and a handful of cold Bud Lights. They were in Myrtle Beach for part of the time, so other than lunch on the first Friday we didn't see them until the evening of the second Thursday. We still hung at their house for a bit. We sorta house and cat sat for them early in the week, making sure little Javy Lopez had access to the appropriate amounts of food and water. What a friendly beast. He even slept with us most nights! I had to yank four ticks off his neck, poor guy. We'd hang out with my family in Marietta during the day, then drive up to Calhoun and stay at the Moores at night. Tiring, but rewarding. Wednesday night both my brothers' families came over to my parents' for dinner, four married couples and three babies in all. Thursday the wife's parents and siblings returned from Myrtle Beach, and we were there in Calhoun to greet them. Friday was the second rehearsal dinner, for the wife's cousin's wedding, and there we saw everybody on her dad's side. We also met Larry the Cable Guy's Kentucky doppelganger, whose Dixie carhorn was very impressive. That wedding was the next day, Saturday the 17th, and afterward we drove back to Marietta to see my sister's family, who had driven in from Lexington, Kentucky. That's three more kids, for those keeping count. We spent the morning of Father's Day in Marietta, with everybody over, ten adults and six kids (the oldest one being six). Again, tiring, but rewarding. Later that afternoon we returned to Calhoun, for a second Father's Day lunch, this time featuring both the wife's immediate family and that of one of her aunts'. Good burgers, amazing brownies, more beer, and a still refreshing pool. The next morning we made the final leg of our journey, returning to Marietta, where we celebrated my mom's birthday with a fine feast of buffalo meat, courtesy of my favorite commencement speaker, Ted Turner. Families!
4. Before the yardwork at my parents' lake house, we took the pontoon boat out for a spin. It was pretty great. Daddy even let me steer some, although I had to sit in his lap the whole time.
5. We also got to take a special private tour of the 99X studios, and see first-hand and up-close how a major commercial radio station operates. It was fascinating. I especially loved all the Disturbed and Nickelback platinum records hanging on the walls. I got to spin the Wheel of Tickets, which was awesome. I didn't even think it existed, but it does! It's just like a Price is Right game, but with AFI and Panic! at the Disco tickets instead of canned goods and detergent. Elliott also played our requests, which surprised me, since they were both Ray Stevens tunes.
6. I hit every restaurant on my "must eat" list. More on this later!
And as counter-point, the lowest light:
1. Lunch at the Georgia Aquarium cost $31, for two turkey sandwiches that were basically Budig meat on Wonderbread, two bags of chips, two sodas, and a brownie of some sort. That's enough to turn me off fish zoos for good.
Also not cool: spending basically every cent to our names. But fuck it, who cares, we had a blast.