Me: Have you ever been to a redneck wedding?
Ben: No. :(
Me: Your life is incomplete.
Ben: Oh man. I had a feeling...
It's true. If you haven't been to a redneck wedding, then your life is incomplete. Tonight my uncle got married... for the third time. But this one... this one seems very different. To quote a family friend tonight, "I've never seen him smile so much in my life as he does since he met her." It's true! What a nice change! And to say the honest truth, their wedding is indicative of their relationship. Let me tell you about it...
My wedding prep started the moment I woke up. I got up bright and early at 6:30 a.m. (that mission thing screwed up my ability to sleep in), and had to get a gazillion things done before the wedding today. That's partly due to the fact that I am teaching Relief Society tomorrow AND I'm driving down to Ridgecrest to see ma famille. So, yeah. I was busy. Plus I had to finish altering this BOMB skirt that I bought at Goodwill like two months ago. It was ginormous on me, but I really liked it, so my mom helped me alter it. And I did the last parts ALL BY MYSELF. Like a BOSS!
Anyway. Back to humility.
Anne (my new aunt) warned us that the wedding was "beyond casual". My other aunt Becky informed us that she was going to wear jeans and a t-shirt to the wedding. Really? Well, I still wore a skirt. It was an outdoor wedding at a barn and it was 96 degrees in the Valley today. So yeah-- I learned in France that skirts keep a girl cooler than jeans. We showed up at 5:01 p.m. (the wedding started at 5:00), but the laissez-faire attitude of the bride and groom allowed for ten minutes of socialization even after we arrived. The number of guests was around 65, a perfectly low key and intimate group.
The ceremony was short and sweet. Anne wore a lovely navy blue dress and Bryon wore a classy white shirt and black jeans. Oh it made me smile how true to themselves they were. They stood on a small green stage while the rest of us placed our chairs somewhat haphazardly on the lawn around them. The barn was between us and the sun by the time the show got a rollin' and a weak breeze bustled through occasionally, satiating our desire for relief from the heat. We all chatted for half an hour while pictures were taken around the ranch. During this "social hour" the tiny bit of drama that occurred took place and then was over. How nice to get the drama out of the way early on, eh? I was grateful, that's for sure.
Ribs and tri tip were on the menu, and we gorged ourselves with good meat and good company. I got to see people I hadn't seen in a long time, and with so many of us there, there was never a lull in the conversation. At one point I just got to sit back and listen, learning little tidbits of lives that I never knew. Champagne and Sparkling cider were served (by the bride and groom) and we all toasted to the happiness of the newlyweds. Then the dancing began.
I'm not going to lie, at first I avoided it. You have to understand that dancing for me is a joy. It makes my heart sing on so many levels. I really wish I had actual talent in that area, but I've learned to just enjoy it and embrace my mediocrity. IT WAS JUST SO HOT! I didn't want to go dance in an extremely lovely but nowhere near cool barn. But when Bryon asked me to dance, how could I refuse? I mean, he was the groom! I asked him all about how he and Anne met and fell in love (I was on my mission during their whole courtship), and it was like listening to a teenager talk about his first love. I loved it. Then my dad came in and asked me for a dance. The tune was upbeat and catchy, so we danced around the hall. I had no idea my dad had such moves! He spun me around, twirled my arms, and turned in circles to the twangy swing dance. He, having forgotten that I used to ballroom dance in college, was surprised at my ability to follow and perform all the moves. I was really starting to have a blast.
My mom came in and my dad blew me off for her. Go figure, teehee. I took some video of my parents and grandparents dancing. When I looked closer into my camera, however, I saw my little 13 year old brother snickering in the corner. Oh ho! I thought. I think this needs to change! I walked over to Joe and said, "You're going to dance with me."
"Uh, no I'm not."
"Yes you are. In seven months when you turn 14, you will thank me, I promise."
I forced him to dance with me and ask me questions like he would at a youth dance. He told me to stop my 14 year old giggle because it was creeping him out and because "girls don't really do that." Oh yeah? Just wait, home-boy, you'll see. Remember, I once was a 14 year old. I know what they do. And the nervous giggle is totally something a teen girl does. I taught him how to spin me and how to lead, where to put his hands, and how to keep a conversation. I must say: watch out young women! In February a dashing young man will enter the dance scene! And I'm not nice... I'm sincere. I think his confidence was really boosted because during the next dance, after he cut in and stole Mom away from Dad, he asked me to dance again. I thought, how wonderful! We're having bonding time, and he's learning skills! Hahahaha. That was not his sole motive. We rammed repeatedly into my parents; on purpose, of course. Dad calls it "Dancing Derby." I called it "If we hadn't stopped soon I was going to beat someone because I had bruises." All in good fun, of course.
After Grandpa danced with me, I rejoined the socialites at our table in the back lawn. I listened some more and hear, funnily enough, my cousin bear her testimony of God's tender mercies. That is NOT the phrasing she used. She's not Mormon, and I had no idea she was such a believing Christian, but she told us how Heavenly Father had shut a door for her because He had opened a better one further along. I love hearing testimony, even if it was an accident :).
Dusk fell, and we started to clean up. Well, other people did. I didn't get up till the sprinklers turned on. Then I jumped up faster than I knew I could, hahahaha! Serves me right, I guess. I said my goodbyes to everyone present, and slowly walked to our car. As I did, the overwhelming aroma of orange blossoms hit me. I LOVE orange blossoms probably more than any other scent. To me it smells like HOME in the spring. If you drive down avenue nine and roll down the windows, your car gets filled with the smell of citrus in bloom. It's like... heaven. And to have that sensations overcome me as I walked away from one of the most chill and happy weddings I've been to (EVER) was like a sign from God. Maybe I'm crazy. But when I was on my mission, there were times that I just FELT like I was home. Sometimes it was a smell, or a sound, or a sight. But a lot of the times it was just a feeling. And whenever that happened, I took that as a little reminder from Heavenly Father to tell me that He loves me and thinks about me. Is that stupid? I don't think so. I think the Lord speaks to each of us individually and He knows that I pay attention to things like that. So yes, the timing of a wonderful evening finished with a wave of my favorite smell was a good omen. Hearing the words "good things are in your future" spoken out loud by a disembodied voice would have been less impressive to me.
Good things are to come. I can feel it in my bones. I can feel it in the hot and humid summer air that hangs around me. I can feel it in the rush of wind my ceiling fan makes as an effort to combat the chaleur. I can taste it in the fresh strawberries we buy at the corner stand. I can hear it in the baseball games that go on constantly in the park across the street. I can smell it in the orange blossoms outside my bedroom window. And I can feel it in my heart as the Spirit whispers simple truths that calm my troubled mind.
Good things are to come.
Stay tuned :)
(This is Anne's bouquet...)