This was originally going to be three separate entries but, what with the whirlwind of activity that surrounds the preparation for even a casual wedding, there has been precious little time to blog until now.
The first entry was going to be titled “A Man & His Meat” but I was afraid that might not make it through all your various porn filters so I was going to change it to “It’s In The Bag”.
The results of over a week of almost constantly breathing smoke from the poor old overworked Brinkman Pitmaster Deluxe: 50 lbs of cooked, de-boned, mostly de-fatted pork. There were also two more bags (about 8 lbs.) of smoked turkey breast that I made for Scott’s mom because she can’t eat pork but the breasts were on the pit when I took this photo. I also made 14 half-pints of habanero jelly. This seemed like overkill at the time but I’ve had several requests from friends who wanted a jar to take home. Amazingly, by the time all the spoken-for jars are distributed and the 2-1/2 pts that were used at the reception are factored in, there are only 3 unspoken-for jars left.
WEDDING DRESS BLUES
The next blog was going to be titled “Honey, I Ruined The Wedding Dress!”, starring Lulu.
Lulu and Scott’s mom, Janet, worked together to build Cody’s wedding dress. Lulu did the bodice and Janet did the skirt. Then, since it didn’t fit quite as well as Cody would have liked, Lulu did a little modification and then ultimately had some fancier mods done by a seamstress in Mt. Angel. Once it was fitting right, she brought it back home and made even more modifications (a bride can get pretty picky about how her dress fits).
Finally, on the Wednesday before the Saturday wedding, the dress was done except for hand sewing some beadwork around the neckline. Lulu’s in the dining room with the dress and the ironing board for one last pressing and I’m in the kitchen washing some dishes. All of a sudden Lulu exclaims, “Oh my god! I ruined the wedding dress!”. Now, I’m not too shook because Lulu tends towards hyperbole. So I finished what I was doing, dried my hands and then looked over the counter. “Oh my god! You really did ruin the wedding dress!”
Right there in the middle of the front was a big iron-shaped hole just like you’d see in an “I Love Lucy” rerun.
Lulu said she thought the iron was in the OFF when she set the heat to a low setting. Instead she was starting from the HIGH position so she only decreased the temp from HIGH to ALMOST AS HIGH when she made the adjustment. As soon as the blazing hot iron touched the dress, it instantly melted. The lining was unscathed but now what? You can imagine how freaked out she was. Here she’s got a dress that has been 3 weeks in the making and, with only 2 days to go, it’s virtually ruined. Fortunately, Cody was at work during this calamity or it would have been traumatic to the nth degree. After Lulu calmed down a little we assessed the situation. Maybe it wasn’t so bad. There were only two panels involved so, if she could rebuild those it should be okay. She was lucky the she still had enough fabric on hand to do this and still had most of the day to get it done before Cody got home from work. And, since Cody had stuff to do after work and wouldn’t get home until late, all the better.
So, she spent the next 6 hours or so undoing and then redoing what she’d already done.
Friday evening was nuts. Scott’s family (Dad & Stepmom, Mom & boyfriend, 3 brothers along with 2 wives and 4 kids, 2 sisters along with 1 husband and one kid, a stepsister and child, a stepbrother, a cousin and her husband and child (I’m sure I’ve forgotten someone), along with Lulu and Lucas and I and, of course Scott and Cody were all here at the house. Amid all the hubbub we managed to get the bridal path strewn with bark dust (actually ‘hog fuel’ but bark dust sounds less crude somehow), set the benches up so they weren’t too tippy on the sloped ground and so that everyone would be able to see the bride and groom, decorate a ton of cupcakes and mini-cupcakes and get various other pre-wedding stuff done. I don’t know what all went on in the house, I just know that it was a flurry of activity every time I entered. After dinner, things calmed down a bit, at least relatively speaking. Eventually much of the family went home although we still had 11 overnight guests. Well, we started with 11 but sometime around 2 AM, Scott’s brother Casey must have decided to take his brood home as they were gone when we got up Saturday morning. So, including Cody & Scott and Lulu and I, there were 11 for breakfast yesterday.
One thing we’ve apparently been successful in passing on to Cody are some of the things that work when dealing with large groups of people. Over the years we’ve had many events at The Shire which included overnight lodging for up to as many as 30 people. One of the most important tactics is how to deal with breakfast. You could just put out cereal and milk and let everyone make their own bowl whenever they get up and at it. But cereal is expensive so we rarely went that route. Our solution was pancakes. The batter is relatively cheap and easy to make. Don’t have enough? Takes all of a minute or so to make more. The griddle can be kept warm and pancakes can be made as each person or group of people finally arrive at the table. So, in true Woodstock-at-the-Shire form, the Saturday morning crowd was fed blueberry pancakes using blueberries that Scott, Cody & Lulu had picked earlier in the week.
I had gotten up early and headed down to Lulu’s old kitchen at Silver Crest school. Mark, the principal, had kindly agreed to let Lulu use the kitchen to prepare for the reception. She baked all the afore-mentioned cupcakes there and I was using the massive oven to heat all the BBQ meat back up. Once the meat was all in the oven at low heat I headed down to town to pick up a few last minute items that we had forgotten.
The wedding was scheduled to happen at noon. About 11:00 I headed back to the school to pack up the meat in coolers to keep it warm. I also loaded up the salads and such that had been stored in the refrigerator at the school. By the time I got back home, guests were already arriving. I changed my clothes and then it was time to get started.
Cody & Scott had cleared out an area behind the house in which to have the ceremony. I have to hand it to them. They took on a task that we would never have even considered. When you look at the pictures, notice all the brushy growth just outside the grassy area. That’s how the now-grassy area looked before they got started. They uprooted salal and vine maple that has been growing there for years and years. And then they rototilled the area. And flattened it. And seeded and watered it. And finally, if it weren’t for the moles, ended up with a very pretty park-like setting for their wedding. The benches and hog fuel managed to distract from or cover up most of the moles’ work. They also cleared a long path through the woods for Cody and I to walk up during the ceremony. The weather was perfect and the setting was beautiful.
After photos we headed down to Silverton’s Coolidge-McClaine Park for the reception. An advance team had already gone down to get things set up. The serving table was heaped with pork, sauces, buns, potato salad, cole slaw, a couple different pasta salads, carrot-raisin salad and Capt. Dad’s Spicy Tex-Mex Salad, as well as cupcakes. Everything was ready. But wait, seems like something is missing. What could it be? Plates? Forks? Napkins? Nope, we’ve got all that. Sandwich makings? Salads? Nope, we’re well covered on those fronts. Oh wait! What the heck are we going to serve the salads with? Crap! We forgot the serving spoons! Since it’s a 15 mile drive back to the Shire, Lulu opted instead to go to Goodwill and buy a bunch of spoons. But, before she actually started the truck, she remembered that our friend Rosie lived within a block of where we were parked. Rosie wasn’t home but her husband Dan gladly loaned us serving spoons. Hope Rosie didn’t have a bunch of salds to serve when she got home because I don’t think Lulu left her much of anything to serve with.
Okay, now we’re ready. But wait a minute. Isn’t there supposed to be something in that empty punch bowl? Crappage! We forgot the drinks! Wait, let’s amend that. They forgot the drinks. Lulu and I had ours: a half case of Milwaukee’s Best Light (yeah, we’re a cheap date) on ice. Since Cody’s new family are almost all Mormons, some other libation was in order for them. So we sent Lucas to Safeway with a fistful of cash and orders to buy bottled water and pop until the money ran out. Then Janet, Scott’s mom, went to the store and bought a bunch of cans of pink lemonade concentrate. Of course, we never found a water source at the park to make the lemonade with so most of it went unmade. I think a punchbowl’s worth was made up but I’m not sure where the water came from (melting ice? bottled water?). So, along with the pink lemonade concentrate that was forgotten at the Shire, Scott and Cody now have at least 2 dozen cans out in their freezer. Good thing Scott professes to love the stuff.
The reception was unusual in that a couple of traditions were missing. The emphasis was on having a good time and visiting rather than doing things traditionally. Probably the most obvious missing element was the wedding cake. Instead of a regular cake, S & C opted for chocolate cupcakes with white frosting decorated with a little red frosting flower. I had built these tiers to display the cupcakes. On each of the 10 tables was a tri-level tier that held 10 cupcakes: 5 on the bottom, 4 in the middle and 1 on the top. Then, on the serving table was a much larger tier that had about 6 levels and must have held close to 100 cupcakes altogether, some full size and some minis. Altogether Lulu baked 212 full size cupcakes and 93 mini cupcakes. This really worked out well. No one had to wait for the cutting of the cake, no cake got shoved into the spouses’ faces for phot ops, and everyone could just help themselves whenever they wanted. Sorry that I don’t have any photos of the cupcake display.
Another tradition that was skipped but not missed (at least by me) was the tradition of toasting the bride and groom. Maybe some people like these but we aren’t among them. Apparently Cody and Scott aren’t either. Good for them.
Also missing was any music at the reception. We talked about it and my opinion was that, if the music was loud enough to hear, it made visiting difficult. And if it was low enough to allow conversation, you couldn’t hardly hear it anyway. So, we opted to skip it. And, as a bonus, skipping the music meant that we didn’t have to have the traditional first dances. Neither Cody or Lulu or I like to dance very much and certainly not with everyone watching. Matter of fact, Cody’s so shy most of the time that I’m amazed she got through her wedding ceremony with everyone looking at her. Anyhow, we got to spend our time at the reception just visiting with family and friends rather than anticipating doing things that make us uncomfortable.
After what seemed like an unusually long reception, we returned to a blissfully peaceful Shire and watched Cody and Scott open gifts before they headed up to Portland. Today they are on their way to LA where they’ll board a Princess liner for a week’s cruise along the Mexican Riviera with stops in Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas. We, on the other hand, are enjoying a very quiet house. Lucas will be heading back to Portland later today and then it’ll be just Lulu and I again.
Tomorrow we’ll return the pickup to my folks in Eugene and then they’ll drive us back down to Charleston. So, by tomorrow afternoon, we’ll be back home on Siempre Sabado ready to continue our voyage south. It’s been a crazy August starting with the reunion in The Dalles and ending with Scott and Cody’s wedding. It’s been good to have lots of time to watch how Cody & Scott interact with each other and to get to know Scott better. But it’s going to be great to get back to our normal lives.
Capt. Dad’s Spicy Tex-Mex Salad
1 lb. frozen corn
1 can medium pitted black olives, drained
1 can dark red kidney beans, drained
1 small can chopped jalapenos
1 diced bell pepper
2 diced tomatoes.
1/4 finely chopped red onion (or 1/2 bunch chopped green onions)
1 lb. cooked breakfast sausage, crumbled up
1/4 cup sour cream
1-1/2 tablespoons chili powder
salt and pepper to taste