Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Nothing like easing into a vacation

Sorry it has taken so long to get back to the story; I went back to work yesterday & to say that I’m buried in paperwork would be only a slight overstatement. In reality, it wasn’t as ghastly as I had originally feared; but then again, errors have a sneaky tendency to crop up at later, inconvenient dates.

Let me see; I left off at my barely legal entry into Canada on Thursday morning. I had planned on having the rest of the day to myself, exploring Vancouver, & made a start in Gastown; I strolled through some of the shops, saw the famous Steam Clock, & spent an hour in Dr. Sun Yat Sen Chinese Garden before being summoned to dinner by my Mother. She seemed to be concerned that I wouldn’t be able to find the house where my sister was staying all by myself the following morning, despite my assurances that I directions, so it was decided I would meet her & Michael, my step-dad, there before going to dinner (how this helped, I’m not exactly sure, but I’ve learned not to question too much.) The next four days consisted of a lot of family, food, & rain. It was a constant light rain, which raised the stress level of the bride & groom, since the ceremony was to be outside; fortunately, the temperature was pleasant & the rain made the air smell wonderful.

My sister & I left Vancouver by 8:30 Friday morning & had a pleasant drive, where she filled me in on the latest in her world. H  is a free spirit, who lives in Kauai, camping out for the past 10 years in Kalalau Valley & living off the land. She hikes out of the Valley periodically (8 hours each way) to buy or trade for goods, do a little work if she needs cash, & to contact the family, then comes Stateside every couple of years. Up until 4 weeks ago, she shared her life & camp with her “man” E, but received an unexpected blow when he took up with someone else on her last trek out to settle travel arrangements for the wedding. She was just coming out of the state of shock, so I was able to be a safe sounding board for her broken heart; Mother isn’t able to deal with emotional issues & simply stated that E had been “dismissed” from the family.

Anyway, we arrived at Edgewater Lodge before 11:00 & I had time to do some practicing with Mark, my aunt’s friend who plays the ukulele & harmonica (my youngest brother, B , who plays the guitar, didn’t make it in time) before the official rehearsal. We ended up selecting four songs to do before the ceremony-

The 59th St Bridge Song (Feeling Groovy),

Dream (Everly Brothers),

In my Life (the Beatles),

& Sea of Love;

one vocal for the processional- Over the Rainbow- & then an instrumental version of Feeling Groovy as the bride walked down the aisle. If you are wondering what input the bride & groom had in this process- your guess is as good as mine; the only song I know for sure my brother chose was the Beatles’ song, because he gave me a CD with mixed songs (& I do mean mixed – from Johnny Cash to Bob Dylan to the Beach Boys) the week before. We are dealing with a couple of really laid back people, so I don’t think it mattered too much one way or another- they trusted the “experts” to make it sound good.

Afterwards, we all trekked down to locate the restaurant for the dinner being hosted that evening by our parents, then I peeled off to explore the Whistler Marketplace. It was like wandering through an Alpine village, with winding pedestrian-only lanes & Whistler Mountain as a backdrop; I got lost for about two hours before going over to Cedar Springs Lodge, the B & B where I was staying. I checked into my room just in time for tea (homemade banana nut bread) & then took a little nap before meeting everyone for dinner.

The dinner was awesome- a buffet with salad, fresh rolls, red potatoes, mixed vegetables, steak & salmon, & then cheesecake or chocolate mousse cake with fresh berries, plus an open bar & wine at every table. Mother had life-sized photo cutouts of D & W all over the room, plus pictures on the tables of each family over the years & those who were missing or gone; the popular activity (after sufficient alcohol was partaken) was having silly pictures taken with the cut outs. Michael, as both best man & father of the groom, gave a humorous speech (fortunately lacking in graphic medical humor- he is a urologist & surgeon, & likes to joke about his work) & Mother was particularly restrained, simply greeting everyone & thanking them for making the trip up to Canada for this event. I learn later that D’s only request of Mother for the weekend was that she was calm & didn’t give any speeches (you might remember that our Mother is a highly functional bi-polar, but does tend to get wound up over big events.) I think D & W were surprised at the number of people who came for the wedding- there were 25 members of the immediate families & around 50 or so friends of both of them, some coming from as far away as Hong Kong & Dubai.

I called it a night around 10:00, driving back to the B & B with my uncle Jim & his wife Elizabeth from New Mexico, who were staying at the same place; we had a brief nightcap (tea & decaf coffee) & quiet visit before going to bed, falling asleep to the sound of rain against the leaves.


Next time: Vows & Gondolas 

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