The Wedding of The Century

 

Many of you remember watching Lady Dianna wed Prince Charles back in the very early 80’s.  It was a HUGE event!  I forget the final numbers, but the broadcast was said to reach almost every TV in the world.  In fact, I think the Neilsen ratings even eclipsed that of Jerry Springer’s, “I Married A ‘Carney’ Who Turned Out To Be My Trans-Gender Cousin” episode (still one of my all-time favorites).  The event is burned into my memory, and I still marvel at the fact that the entire world was united, at the same time, exposed to the romantic pageantry of a wedding attended by an entire nation of Brits with bad teeth.  It was magical.

 But, that little gathering was a grade school PTA meeting compared to the no-hold-barred, blow-the-doors-off, raucous, in-your-face Matrimony-Fest that was the union of Gabriele Jessica Kubo and Scott Kenneth Dannemiller on September 7th, 2002.  OK… maybe I exaggerated a bit, but Gabby and I both were so thrilled that the day turned out like it did, that we have both dedicated a good 30-40 pages worth of journal entries on it.  To save you the time of sifting through it all, I’ve attached the groom’s play-by-play highlights.  I will weave in the bride’s point of view when available.  Gabby will soon add her embellishments to this in due time.  You see, she has a job, and is earning our daily bread while I type all of this.

 

 The Wake Up Call  (Groom’s point-of-view only)

 I am sound asleep on my ex-roommates futon.  After downing two fermented beverages following Friday night’s rehearsal dinner, I have no trouble sleeping like a baby.  I know… I hold my alcohol about as well as a kindergardener.  As an aside, I’ll save my groomsmen the trouble of replying back to all of you to tell you I actually drank “Chick Drinks” – cider – in lieu of beers that night.  Trust me, I am still a man, just one who gets bloated after a Budwiser.  This being my wedding weekend, I wasn’t taking any chances.

 Anyhow, in my deep slumber, I dream of the wedding.  I am to the point that the bridesmaids have just walked down the aisle, the flower girls have just done their thing, and I am waiting for the first glimpse of my beautiful bride.  The organist begins to play “The Wedding March.”  Wedding guests rise to honor the lovely bride as she enters the church.  The doors to the church open to reveal her radiant beauty…

 “Dude!  Golf’s cancelled, go back to sleep”

 The door to my temporary bedroom opens and I see standing above me my shirtless, unshaven ex-roommate, clad only in boxers, scratching himself.  Momentary horror subsides once I realize that Matt is not my bride, but rather, just came in to wake me up.  My only wish at this point is that this image won’t stay burned into my brain throughout my honeymoon, preventing me from performing my “duties” as the new husband.  Matt turns on his heels and makes his retreat.  It’s 7:00 am.  I am awake.  About 20 groomsmen, junior high school pals and family members were supposed to be playing golf with me this morning while the girls got their hair done, nails done, and whatever other female torture needs to happen before a wedding can take place.  I can hear the raindrops on the window and know my plans for a nice morning on the course are gone.  Granted, I am secretly relieved that the 20 of them won’t be able to witness my fanatical play (I regularly shoot a 125-130, but I don’t want to brag too much here).  I turn on the TV.

 “As we suspected, Tropical Storm Faye is making her way from the Gulf of Mexico into Central Texas,” reports Jim Spencer, our friendly TV weatherman.  The radar image on the screen shows a wide band of dark red curling its way over Austin.  The “curl” is huge, and the band of rain looks never ending.  Jim continues, “Our estimates show that Faye will drop from 10-15 inches on the city in the next 36 hours.”  I wish Jim Spencer would shut his pie-hole.  The guy is pronouncing gloom and doom on our wedding day, and I haven’t even crawled out of bed/futon yet.  I’m too excited about the day to sleep, but now I have no plans to speak of.  I decide to call Gabby to see if she is stressed and needs me to run any errands for her.

 “Why are you calling me?”

 “I woke up early, and obviously there won’t be any golf today.  I was wondering if there were any errands you needed me to run.”

 “No.  Nothing I can think of.”

 “OK… I was just asking.”

 “Thanks, hon… but why did you call me?  I think this is against the rules.  We shouldn’t be talking to each other today.  I’m startin’ to feel some bad mojo here”

 “I know… sorry.  Bye.”

  

While the bride and her entourage had a breakfast of homemade waffles, fresh fruit, and a variety of squeezed juices, Joel and Matt (a couple of groomsmen) had other plans for me.  We went to “Ole’ Taco”, an ultra-greasy place that serves all manner of breakfast taco.  You can order everything from plain egg tacos, to tacos made from stuff that shouldn’t legally be classified as “meat” (namely Goat, Cow’s cheek, and Pig stomach).  Matt and Joel went for some Goat and Cheek respectively, while I stuck with migas, a Mexican mix of corn chips, grease, eggs, sausage, grease, sour cream, salsa, grease, and cheese.  It went down smooth, but, on top of a nervous/excited stomach, I had a crazy feeling my breakfast would be “talkin’ to me” all day and into the evening.

  

The Afternoon

 I hardly ever get to see my family, so I ditched the guys after breakfast.  I went to the hotel to meet up with my mom, dad, brother, sister, and their families.  The rain meant that the kids were holed up in their hotel rooms.  Gabby’s 7-year old niece, my two 5-year old nieces, and a couple of two-year old nieces and nephews were all in various stages of sugar-laced ecstasy.  I love them, but if they didn’t get some room to roam, there would be several kid-sized holes in the wall of suite 323 in a hurry.  We packed up and headed to Gatti-Land for lunch.  There, we ate pizza (I am truly testing the limits of my cast-iron gut), and “played.”

 This was not a relaxing afternoon.  Another name for Gatti Land would be “Bozo the Clown’s Acid Trip.”  Better still, it’s like a casino for 6-year-olds.  It takes all of your money and your humility, and, if you won enough tickets at Skee-Ball, sends you home with a whoopie cushion and a pair of chinese handcuffs.  Granted, Gabby and I had our birthday parties there this summer (no lie… another story altogether), but on my wedding day, it sucked the life right out of me.  My guess was that Gabby was having an entirely different “Wedding Day” experience than I was.

 By the time we got back to the hotel, I felt like I had just spent 16 hours inside a slot machine.  Everyone was beat.  All of the kids were going to take a nap, and the adults as well.  The only wild card?…  Abby (Gab’s neice and soon to be mine as well) wasn’t napping.  She is a fantastic kid, full of energy and intelligence.  I love her to death.  Still, I hadn’t envisioned that I would be spending my wedding day taking care of a soon-to-be neice

 “You wanna’ play tennis in the hallway, Soon-To-Be-Uncle-Scott?”  she asked (both her and Josh hadn’t given me the full “uncle” title yet). 

 “Let’s go see if your dad is back from running errands with the other half of your family.”

 Owen (Abby’s dad) was having his own fun-filled afternoon of tending to other family.  We went to their room to see if he had returned.  When we got there, the room was empty, and I was exhausted.  Abby was bouncing around the room.

 “So… do you wanna’ go play in the elevators or bounce this ball down the stairs?” Abby asked sweetly.

 She looked up at me, so cute, and so sweet.  Normally, I would be all over a game of “Take Over The Elevators/Get Our Families Kicked Out Of The Holiday Inn.”  Today… not so much.  The problem is, I have seen times when Abby has gotten incredibly upset when somebody wouldn’t play with her.  Tantrums have ensued.  Punches have been thrown.   Britney Spears’ name has been taken in vain.  Still, it was my wedding day, so I proceeded boldly.  I was desperate.

 “Abby”

 “Yes?”

 “Today is my wedding day, and I am REALLY tired.  I am supposed to marry your Aunt Gabby tonight.  It would be REALLY bad if I fell asleep on her when I was supposed to say ‘I Do’.  (I fumbled around and found the TV remote and flipped around nervously to the Cartoon Network.  Some new, freaky kids/adult cartoon was playing.  As an aside… whatever happened to Buggs Bunny or Super Friends?  All cartoons today are crap).  If I let you watch cartoons, do you PROMISE to leave the volume at level 2, and NOT LEAVE THE ROOM, and let me take a 30-minute nap?”   I waited for the explosion.

 Instead, Abby’s little arm stretched out toward me with her hand in a fist.  The fist moved a bit, and a little pinky extended.  There was silence for about four seconds.

 “What’s that?”  I asked.

 “Pinky swear,” she said.

 So, we locked pinkies and the deal was sealed.  That girl’s pinky swear was as good as gold!  Ten minutes into my nap, Owen came back to the room.  I woke up to find that, in those ten minutes, Abby had constructed a fort out of all of the couch and loveseat cushions, and was watching Patrick Swayze in “Road House,” that crappy movie where he played a gay bouncer or something.  Not exactly TV-G, but harmless enough.  Thank God Owen was understanding.  I got up, thanked him, and moved upstairs to resume the nap in my parent’s room before getting ready. 

 

The Dressing Room

 Getting dressed for the wedding took place in two stages.  Again, the process was not what I had envisioned.

 The first part involved taking a shower in my parent’s bathroom at the hotel.  It was a bit weird getting ready for the biggest day of my life, but still having to wait for my mom to finish taking her bath.  Even though it wasn’t all “pomp and circumstance”, I enjoyed the process.  It’s not every day I get to just shoot the bull with my mom.  So, we talked about the joyous events to come while I brushed my teeth and she finished spraying her hair.  Sure, it was awkward having my mom see me standing around in my “Wedding Night” boxers, but we got the chance to have some meaningful conversation and joke around while no one else was within earshot.  It was a rare private moment on a very public day, and I will always treasure it.  That’s the God’s honest truth.

 What I may not treasure are the pictures my mom took of me wearing my “Wedding Night” boxers.  The “Wedding Night” boxers were a gift from, strangely enough, Gabby’s godmother - commonly referred to as Aunt Chris.  Aunt Chris is one of the sweetest people on the planet.  As  a wedding shower gift, she bought ME some shiny black silky boxer shorts emblazoned with shiny gold music notes and flashing red guitars.  She made me promise to wear them on the wedding night.  So, I promised.  “Pinky Swear!” 

They are without a doubt the best undergarment I have ever owned, aside from that brief period (pun intended) in first grade when I had some Green Lantern Underoos.  These boxers look like they are straight out of Liberace’s “Special Drawer”.  So… as soon as mom saw me don these things, she instantly captured the Kodak moment, laughing the whole time.  I still haven’t seen the photo, but if I ever get drunk enough, I may pass it along to you in a future story.  Again, this was not what I anticipated when getting ready on my wedding day.  Once I was clean and dressed, I grabbed my tux and headed for the church.  It was three hours before the wedding, so I didn’t want to put on my tux only to get it all wrinkly.

 On TV and in the movies, getting ready for a wedding is a big event.  The groom is surrounded by lots of groomsmen.  They are all together in a spacious dressing room with a full length mirror.  All his buddies are razzing him.  There are slugs on the shoulder, and loads of one-armed “guy hugs.”

 In reality, my experience was different.  None of my groomsmen had arrived at the church yet.  Pictures were starting in 30 minutes, so I figured I had better put on my tux.  The dedicated “groom room” was the choir room in our church.  I thought about changing in there, but it wasn’t a very secure area.  I had visions of our good friend and Associate Pastor/Chief Wedding Marrier Person, Nancy, coming in and seeing me in my “Wedding Night” boxers.  It wasn’t so much the embarassment I was worried about, but rather, the burning question of,  “Is parading around in  flashy, silly/seductive, Vegas-Style underwear in the HOUSE OF THE LORD considered a sin against God and Man?”  I thought hard.  I don’t think Jesus owned a pair of these babies… and I don’t think anything like them was ever created on ANY day in Genesis.  (”And God said, LET THERE BE WACKY MEN’S PANTIES… AND IT WAS GOOD” … nope… doesn’t ring a bell)  Without a clear answer to my quandary, I made my way to the bathroom stalls to change.

 Sure, putting on a tux would take any normal man about 5 minutes.  It took about 20.  Because of my slight fear of all public restrooms I became hypersensitive to cleanliness.  The first challenge?  How do I change shoes and socks?  Certainly, a groom can’t let any part of his wedding clothing touch a semi-public restroom floor!  Gabby would surely notice!  My Lord, come to my aid!

 So, at that very moment, I became the embodiment of the super-flexible Chinese acrobats you see on stage in Vegas.  Contorting my body into all sorts of strange positions, I was able to complete the following “20 Steps To Getting Dressed For Your Wedding In A Public Restroom” program WITHOUT any clothing (socks included) coming into contact with the tile floor. 

1.       Remove left athletic shoe and left athletic sock while balanced on right leg.

2.       Balance on right leg while putting dress sock onto left foot.

3.       Slip on left black shiny dress shoe

4.       Realize that I don’t have tux pants on yet, so I can’t put on tux shoes!

5.       Remove tux shoe, step left foot on TOP of tux shoe.

6.       Balance on left foot on tux shoe while removing right sock and right athletic shoe

7.       Still balanced, put right dress sock on right foot

8.       Realize I am 10 feet away from tux clothing on hanger.

9.       Step right foot on TOP of athletic shoe

10.   Try to shuffle my feet over to the tux on the hanger, without actually putting shoes ON my feet

11.   Realize athletic shoe under right foot has rubber soles and too much traction for “shuffling” maneuver o be successful

12.   Put right foot on TOP of other tux shoe.  Shuffling commences.

13.   Put on shirt, tie and vest.

14.   Put pants on one leg at a time while trying to balance on one leg on TOP of tux shoe.

15.   Lose balance, nearly fall, catch myself by grabbing onto side of stall door

16.   Make mental note to now wash hands

17.   Put on tux shoes one at a time while balancing on one leg.  Lean butt against stall wall when losing balance

18.   Make mental note to make sure butt of pants remains covered for entire night for hygienes’ sake.

19.   Tie shoes, wash hands…

20.   Put on jacket, go into choir room.

  

 

The Waiting

 “Take a snort,” he said.

 “Take a snort?” I asked.

 My best man pulled a flask from his inside tux pocket. 

 “Doos (don’t ask where the nickname comes from), it’s tradition.  Every wedding I have ever been in, the groom takes a snort from my flask.”

 Now, a guy has two options in this situation.  Option 1 is to follow Nancy Reagan’s advice that was burned into my brain in third grade and “Just Say No”.  I’m not really a drinking man.  One swig of hard liquor usually has me praying at the porcelain altar.  However, my hands were shaking, I was on the verge of tears, and I was thirsty.  I said to myself, “It’s well over an hour until the wedding is supposed to start.  Heck!  I could use something to settle me, and I have a WHOLE PACK OF BREATHMINTS!”  So, I sniffed the top of the flask and winced.  Sure enough, I think he had filled the thing with a mix of battery acid and turpentine.  I took a small drag out of it.   

Once my heart started beating again, I let out a breathy sigh and said, “Smooooooooooth” <cough> <cough>.  Sure, my breath could now peel paint, but I felt strangely calmed – soothed.  Unfortunately, this little stunt caused me to have to pee like crazy.  So… in my haste to relieve myself, I almost bumped right into my beautiful bide on my way to the bathroom.  Luckily, the wedding coordinator spotted me quickly, and hustled Gabby out of the way before I actually got a glimpse of her.  If that would have happened, I’m sure the ground would have burst open and swallowed me.  I think that’s how the tradition/superstition goes, anyway.

 After that debacle, we boys turned our attention to more pressing matters – The University of Oklahoma was taking on Alabama in one of the first college games of the season.  Since all but one of my groomsmen grew up in the Sooner State, it was necessary that we follow the progression of the game.  In between taking pictures, my geek groomsmen figured out how to get the play-by-play audio and graphics to come up on the ancient computer in the choir room. I think the machine was built a couple of years after the Chinese mastered the Abacus.  Whatever the case, the boys brought the machine back from the dead, and we we’re listenin’ to football! 

When the time came for the groomsmen to begin ushering guests into the sanctuary, my job was to remain behind in the choir room and get the scoop.  I would then relay the information out to the front lines at commercial breaks.  While I was in the choir room alone, Gabby’s Maid Of Honor came in to check on me.  She had a small box and a card in her hand.

 “Gabby wanted me to give you this, “Miranda said, smiling.

 I pride myself on being the one in the relationship who does the surprising.  Now, Miranda was handing me a gift from Gabby, and I wasn’t prepared.  I didn’t know what to say.  First, I felt bad that I didn’t buy Gabby anything.  Next, I was totally blown away by the fact that, in the midst of putting together all the wedding details, she thought to get me a gift.  I looked at the card, still tucked into its envelope.

 “I’m going to cry if I read this,” I warned.

 “Then don’t read it!” Miranda begged.  “Just open the gift and read the card after I leave, ‘cuz if YOU cry, then I’M gonna’ cry.”

 I agreed and opened the box.  Inside there was an antique watch wrapped in a monogrammed handkerchief.  The watch was the coolest gift I have ever received.  It’s WAY TOO COOL for me.

 “She made it,” Miranda added.

 “Gabby made this watch?!”  I spouted.  Holy crap!  The girl is a babe, AND a watchmaker?!  Dang!  I hit the mother load!

 “No, you idiot,” Miranda corrected, “she made the handkerchief!”

 I took a closer look at the handkerchief.  Gabby had obviously spent quite a lot of time on it.  She had stitched some moroon-colored flowers into it, and some other pretty intricate vines and such.  In the middle of the design was the Letter “D”  (I assume for my last name).  I was really curious how she had so much time to do all of this.

 “I have to read the card now, Miranda, sorry.”

 I opened the card, addressed to “Almost Uncle Scott”, and began to read.  I started to cry.

 “OK… I’m outta’ here.  Too much for me!”  Miranda said as she walked out the door.

 I finished reading the card, blotted my eyes with the handkerchief, and tucked it into my tux coat pocket.  Even though it didn’t match my tie and vest combo, I didn’t care.  It was too cool to leave sitting in the box.  The watch, on the other hand, presented a problem.  I am known to lose small things.  I pictured myself later that night, getting’ jiggy wit’ it to “YMCA”, “Mony Mony”, or some other trashy wedding reception song, and inadvertently flinging it into a decorative potted plant, never to see my prized possession again.  The ol’ white man’s overbite kicks into high gear after a bit of the bubbly, ya’ know!  This being the case, I stashed it into my bag of clothes and made sure to leave it with the boys to load into my truck.

 Once this task was completed, I kicked back and checked on the game.  OU was losing, which presented a small problem.  My best man is a HUGE Sooners fan!  At the rate the game was going, the final horn would blow around 6:30, the start time of the wedding.  If the Sooners were to lose, that would cause Marty to launch into a tirade of expletives heard only on Navy sailing ships and Tu Live Crew albums.  I had a vision of the organist playing the first few notes of “Hornpipe” as chairs came flying out of the choir room and stained glass shattered at the 150 decibel yell of, “G%# D&!@ Sooners!  You Suck S&%$!”  I crossed my fingers and hoped for a miracle.  As time was winding down, my prayers were answered.  The Sooners scored one touchdown… and then ANOTHER when they recovered a fumble and ran it back for a touchdown.  Deal sealed.  Sooners win 37-27.  The Lord’s Name shall not be taken in vain today.

 The remainder of our waiting time was relegated to joking around, playing guitars, talking football, and discussing the question of whether I would be allowed to remain in my pool playing league once I was married.  To this day, I am proud to say my “Boys Nights” are still intact, as are Gabby’s “Girl’s Nights” which I believe involve pillow fights and playing the old board game “Dream Date.”

  

The Wedding

 We all got into a single file line and made our way into the sanctuary. The organist was playing, and the church was full of people.  It was SOOOO COOL to have all of our favorite people in the same place at once.  Standing at the altar, I watched each of Gabby’s bridesmaids come down the aisle.  Then, all of the nieces made their way down as flower girls.  Way too cute!  I was doing everything I could to keep myself together.  However, once Gabby rounded the corner and I saw her in her wedding dress for the first time, I got all choked up.

 I had no clue what her dress looked like.  She DID tell me that it was ivory, so I pictured Gabby in this big, foofy, off-yellow dress… you know the color… the one that looks like it has spent 25 years in the smoking lounge at an airport.  Needless to say, I’m not a big fan of ivory.  I knew she would look beautiful, but wondered if the dress would be something I liked.  Granted… I would have loved for her to choose a black leather mini skirt and low-cut backless top, but I KNEW that wasn’t an option.

 When she came around the corner and started up the aisle, she took my breath away.  I bit down on my lip like it was my first Twinkie after 40 days on the Survivor show.  Through misty eyes, I could see that she was absolutely, positively, without a doubt the most beautiful thing I had ever laid eyes on.  She was so amazing that it almost hurt to look at her!  Her dress (to me) was white, and very simple, and it looked like it was made especially for her.  Wow!  The image will be burned on my brain forever.

 Gabby made her way up the aisle in record time.  In fact, we don’t have any really good photos of her walking, because she nearly mowed down the photographer on her way to the altar.  I’d like to think that’s because she couldn’t WAIT to get married, but I could be mistaken.  I expected that Gabby would be bawling like Niagra Falls.  Heck, she cries at everything from the Drew Barrymore Movie “Never Been Kissed” to Puppy Chow commercials.  But her walk down the aisle was tear-free.  She looked happy (which was good).

 The rest of the ceremony is sort of a blur.  What I do remember: 

  1. My family, something akin to the Osmonds, sang and played lots of songs.
  2. Our friend Jeanie sang a song… REALLY well!
  3. My best man didn’t lose the ring (SURPRISE!)
  4. I said my vows without crying
  5. Gabby said her vows, and started crying on the third word
  6. I started crying when Gabby started crying
  7. When I started bawling, a couple of my groomsmen coughed and mumbled something like “dork” or “woosy”.
  8. A bunch of people in the congregation started to cry. (similar to the “Contagious Puke Fest” in the movie Stand By Me, but this time it was with tears and not puke)
  9. Our pastor, Nancy, said some wonderful things about marriage.
  10. I got to kiss the bride.

  The ceremony was really special… that’s all I know.  Afterward, the rain came down in buckets.  The wedding guests got soaked going out to their cars while the rest of us stayed inside and  took the obligatory family photos before leaving the church.  This was pretty uneventful, save for us trying to get pictures with all of the kids from our families.  Getting six kids with age ranges from 2-9 to all look at a camera and smile at the same time is not as hard as, say, achieving world peace, but a little harder than say, trying to determine what race Michael Jackson is today.  We actually succeeded in doing this.  This solution?  All of the adults (including the photographer) moved behind the camera and started jumping up and down like idiots.  I only wish we could have had a picture of THAT!  It was much better than a shot of Gab and me with the kids looking like “what the heck are all those adults doing jumping around like idiots?”

Once the pictures were over, it was time to head to the reception.  Gabby dubbed me the “Chief Transportation Officer” for the wedding.  It was my job to figure out how to get us from point A to point B.  Our original plan was to borrow a friend-of-a-friend’s old RV with shag carpeting a velvet curtains.  Unfortunately, that became unavailable at the last minute.  So… I called to see how much one of those quaint, fancy trolley cars would cost us.  When they quoted the price, I asked, “Is that for just ONE trolley, or the whole fleet?”  The lady knew I was a cheapskate from then on, and flagged my application.  No go there! 

Next, I tried the limo companies, and had the same problem.  After a handful of calls, I finally found a place that would rent us an air-conditioned shuttle bus, capable of transporting 30 people, for the low-low price of $135.  DEAL!  Sure, it ain’t glamorous, but there IS overhead luggage storage in case it was needed.

 So… we made our way out to the shuttle bus.  The rain had tapered off a bit, but the sky was still spittin’ at us.  I gallantly shaded Gabby and her dress with the largest umbrella I could find and walked her to the bus.  Inside, we found the rest of the wedding party, half-in-the-bag from drinking canned beer out of a cooler.  I had put Matt and Joel in charge of “Bus Refreshments.”  What they weren’t able to finish while listening to football before the wedding was quickly being pounded by men in tuxes and women in very nice dresses.  Who says Coors Light can’t be fancy?!  All I needed was a koozy and a plate of Buffalo Wings and I woulda’ been ready for Monday night football!  Gotta’ love a Texas wedding!

 When we got to the reception, Gabby really had to pee.  Apparently, when you are wearing a wedding dress, the simple task of going to the potty becomes a group effort.  I had no way to relate to this until Gabby and I recently dressed as Disney Pez Dispensers for Halloween.  When constructing the costumes, I didn’t plan for such things as “emergency trips to the potty.”  I soon found that wearing a floor length box constructed of carpet pad required 2 for peeing.  Now, I can relate to her plight.  The girls made their way to do the necessary lifting and holding of the dress while I waited for my bride so we could make our grand entrance.

 

The Reception

 Much like the wedding, the reception was a blur.  As soon as we arrived, I grabbed the microphone at the DJ table and thanked everyone for coming.  Gabby said a few words, too.  Funny stuff as I recall, but she didn’t have much time to speak.  You see, in every picture of us from the wedding where a microphone is also present, I either have it in my hand, or am reaching to take it away from someone.  Am I a spotlight hog?  Hmmm… must go to therapy and get that one checked out.  Anyhow, the thank-yous ended with me saying the blessing before we all ate.  The most interesting thing about the prayer was that I thanked God for everything (friends, family, peace, happiness, joy, puppies, kittens, the ten commandments) EXCEPT the food!

 We greeted a few folks after the blessing, and then made a bee line to the front of the chow line!  That’s one of the side benefits of getting married.  You get to be first in line for EVERYTHING!  Now that I know this, I plan on wearing a tux to EVERY WEDDING I ATTEND FROM NOW ON! 

 The food was wonderful.  All of our friends told us that we wouldn’t have time to eat because everyone and their dog would be coming up to us, congratulating us, and talking our ears off.  In truth, Gabby and I sat down at a table to start eating, and we were the only ones sitting there.  Here it is, the biggest day of our lives, and we’re eating alone – like the kid at your elementary school lunch table who picks his nose and eats paste.  Finally a few people, out of pity I think, came and sat with us.  They didn’t talk to us much, but we appreciated their charity.

 After food, we did the “mingling circuit.”  Our goal was to spend the entire night together, because we had heard stories of people who saw their new bride/groom once at the wedding itself, then never made contact again until their first anniversary.  I stopped short of buying one of those “people leashes” for Gabby – you know – the ones you see moms using at the mall to keep their kids attached to them.  It would have been a nice measure of security, but luckily she kept me close by for the entire night, so it wasn’t needed.

 After the mingling, we did the obligatory cake cutting, toasting and such.  Miranda and Marty(our Maid of Honor and Best Man) did a fine job telling people how lucky we were to have eachother, since no one else on the planet would ever be able to stand spending a lifetime with us.  Seriously, the toasts were touching, and we’re lucky to have friends like them.  Both Gabby and I cried which is no surprise.  Heck, I tear up watching old “Baywatch” reruns or “Saved By The Bell.”  Fake near drownings and adolescent angst always tug at my heartstrings.

Next came my surprise serenade to Gabby (yet another chance for me to grab a microphone.  Hmmmmm.  I detect a pattern here).  I wrote a little song for her and gave it to her as a gift.  Even though singing for her makes me nervous, I bit the bullet and did it anyway.  It was a pretty special moment, and we have some nice photos and a video to commemorate the event.  Even though Gab will never hear me on stage opening for Aerosmith at the SBC Center belting out a tune for her, this was the next best thing. 

The rest of the night is a mixture of really bad “white man’s overbite”-type dancing, and unbounded joy.  We had more fun at our wedding reception than any other party we’ve ever been to (sorry T.J.  your kindergarten b-day party did ROCK, especially with the Stretch Armstrong and Pin-The-Tail-On-The-Donkey, but this one takes the cake).  We ate Oreos, slurped Ice Cream Bars, drank wine, danced, wore stupid hats, and made general fools of ourselves.  Pretty much what happens in our lives every day, just on a grander scale.

At the end of the night, we loaded up into my Explorer, now decorated with silly string, confetti, streamers, and some peanut butter under the door handle.  As we drove off to the Hotel Stephen F. Austin, we waved goodbye to a fantastic night.  We had the time of our lives, and I know that I would do it all again in a heartbeat.  The journey of 1000 miles begins with that first step.  I’m looking forward to the trip.