Oh, an invitation to Jonathan and Mara’s wedding, yes, I’d love to go, let’s see, nothing scheduled on the calendar, I filled out the RSVP card and mailed it the next day and thought nothing more about it until the date got closer and I decided to check to see where I needed to go for the celebration. I’ve only always seen them at my cousin Raymond his wife Elaine’s home I had some notion that the wedding might be in that general area. To my surprise the invitation said the location was Wakeman, Ohio. What! I’ve never been there. I had already committed to attending so I had to get there somehow. Not only was this far from my usual haunts, the name of the place for the festivities: Riverdog. Oh my, is that a place where people got married? What have I gotten myself into, I wondered.
For anyplace I might need to go which is west of Parma, Ohio, I turn to my usual source for answers, Danny at the office. He took one look at the invitation and said he knew nothing of the area and couldn’t help me. Oh no. After some chatter between a few folks in the office it was declared that Molly lived out that way, so Monica called her and said, “Can you come to my office, Rose has a question.” I was astonished that she summoned Molly and in a moment she arrived and we explained to her where I had to go and I showed her the invitation. In minutes Monica had MapQuest up and in another minute directions from my home to the Riverdog were printed out and my apprehensions evaporated. I didn’t want to bother my cousin for directions because I imagined all the activities they would be busy with in preparation since Elaine is the groom’s mom.
In spite of all of the flurry around the wedding including family coming in from Indiana, Elaine called me and asked me how I was driving and when I told her about my MapQuest directions she offered a few more suggestions which I found clarified what information I already had and the next evening when they returned home from the rehearsal dinner, Ray called me himself to be sure I had a thorough understanding of the route, including names of streets I’d be passing as I went through Oberlin. It turned out that all of his added instructions were very helpful so I did not make any unexpected detours and the drive, while long, was direct. Whew.
Once the car was parked, I got my cane and began to slowly walk over the grassy, uneven ground toward the art gallery for the “meet and greet” when a tall white haired gentleman approached me and said if I wanted, he would get his car and drive me right to the door. That didn’t take much thought, and I found myself getting into a car with a stranger and as promised, he did drop me right at the door of the first venue. I thanked him after asking his name and telling him mine. Inside the foyer of the gallery filled with stylishly dressed women, nary a pair of slacks to be seen made me glad I was wearing a dress too. I wandered around looking at the artwork, found Ray and Elaine then they headed one way and I continued to thread my way around the interior perimeter of the structure taking pictures as I went. Back in the front room I found Mara and she gave me a big hug and then I complimented a young lady on her dress and she turned out to be one of Dave (Elaine’s brother) and Bonnie’s two daughters. I found the edge of a seat to perch on and Ray came along to say where to get a drink, so I went and got a little bottle of something bubbly, not champagne, but close.
The Bride and Groom stood under the Riverdog sign to address the crowd which was followed by toasting the happy looking couple and everyone exited through paths of flowers heading uphill to an open field that was covered with folding chairs. Ray and Elaine along with the rest of the immediate family were in the first couple of rows so I sat where there was an empty chair and had a fine view.
I have no idea if the two young men presiding over the ceremony were representatives of any religion, or just bought a license to perform marriages, but they took turns reading from a script and then Jonathan and Mara took turns reading the vows they each wrote themselves.
They were both glowing and several times Jonathan was so moved he had to just stop and catch his breath before resuming his words. The professional photographer kept the immediate family down there for about a half hour. I proceeded to the large tent where the tables had been perfectly set by Elaine with cloths and matching napkins on each table and each plate was beautiful and different. They had been bought at goodwill and resale shops to add color and flowers to the settings. One of the ladies in Mara’s family grew all of the exquisite flowers and put a vase of them on each table.
We were directed to the little tent to select a glass and then get it filled; the glass would be a favor from the wedding each guest could take home. Once all the tables were filled, we made our way back to the little tent to fill our plates from the barbeque selections and sit back down to dine.
From the large tent people began to walk up another hill to a barn where the dessert bar awaited; there was the wedding cake and there was music for dancing. A young lady who sang at the ceremony and played a ukulele helped guide me up the hill so I didn’t stumble. I listened to her story about how she knew Mara, and I liked her. I liked everyone I talked with and by the time I was ready to leave I knew my world had been expanded. I found Jonathan at the edge of the step up into the barn and I asked him to tell the others I had left and he offered to get my car from the parking lot so I didn’t have to walk all the way back there. I was really touched that one of the two most important people of the evening would take the time to help me, and he did. The gentleman who drove me to the door when I arrived offered to get my car, but Jonathan had already gone and then Ray walked me down the hill to the car.
When I got home and back to my own comfy bed my head was swirling with all the new faces, new views, and multitude of kindnesses I had experienced but eventually I drifted off to sleep.