The best laid plans

My friend and Mah Jongg buddy Diane started planning the wedding a year ago.  That was when she booked my rental apartment for some of the guests.  Her husband’s daughter was to have a commitment ceremony here on the island with her long time partner.  There is a pretty old church here and a lady minister.  The church and the minister are progressive leaning and theologically liberal; they welcome gay and lesbian unions.  The island’s fundamentalists have gone their separate ways and started their own “chapel” at the Grange.

Lummi Island is a favorite setting for summer weddings.  The weather is almost always good in August, cool and sunny, and the scenery is stunning. Diane groomed her yard to perfection and reserved a number of tables and chairs from the mainland to set up the reception dinner in her the back yard with its view of Hales Passage and Mt Baker.  The front yard, with its view of Legoe Bay and Orcas Island, was where cocktails would be served.  Her cozy cottage would not be large enough for 70 guests.

The first sign of trouble was when the ferry broke down in early June.  But after about a week it was fixed temporarily.  Then, suddenly, the county decided to advance the date of drydock, the time when we have a passenger ferry only, from September to early August.  That meant there would be no way to get the tables and chairs across the water.  Quickly Diane booked the Grange for the dinner.  Cocktails would still be in the yard, front and back, and she borrowed some vehicles (our van was one) to transport people the mile ride to the grange.  She hired John Granger‘s elegant buggy and trotters to take the brides and their attendants to the Grange for the dinner reception.

A week before the wedding, at Thursday night Mah Jongg, Diane was beginning to be nervous about the Saturday weather.  The long range forecast had been predicting a 30% chance of rain for some weeks, but the odds still seemed good.

She was worried, too, about where all her house guests would sleep.  She could utilize some sofas and tents in the yard.  But the mother of the other bride had announced her intention to bring a Muslim exchange student she had befriended and he was prevented by his religion from sleeping on the floor or in a tent.  Diane didn’t know what to do about that.  I was surprised at the tent prohibition — I thought Muslims sometimes lived in tents — but I suggested the futon in my rental apartment which Diane had already booked.  In the end the Muslim exchange student didn’t come, so I didn’t get to write a post entitled “The Muslim Slept on the Futon.”

On Thursday morning before the wedding day Mike came by to borrow our van and get some additional flower pots for the decorations.  He showed us his to do list which Diane had printed out.  Diane’s pre-retirement job had been to plan routes for the Seattle buses.  She was a planner.  Mike’s list was timed to the hour and color coded for grandchildren to engaged in certain chores.  The list was pages long.  He said it actually saved him.  He didn’t need to think, just follow instructions.

The weather, which up to then had been perfect, was beginning to look iffy.  It was overcast.  They were predicting showers for the wedding Saturday.  Saturday came.  It was raining, hard.  Mah Jongg players called each other, saying, poor Diane, hope it clears.  I went out in the rain and cut bunches of hydrangeas and sweetpeas to take to Diane for use as Grange decorations.   As I delivered the flowers to her house Mike emerged looking harried.  He said, “Diane’s still at the Grange.  I forgot to take the meat for the dinner out of the freezer last night.  Now I have it in the bathtub in hot water, thawing.”

A few minutes later Diane came by my house for flowers.  I said, “ I took them to your house.  Sorry to hear about your problem with the meat.”  She looked horrified.  “Problem with the meat, what problem?”  I explained.  “Oh my God!” she said, and rushed off.  It was raining really hard.

Afternoon came, and the downpour intensified.  Jerry and I had been  invited for cocktails and dinner, so I called Cathy, who was helping with the cocktails, to ask whether I should skip that part, since Diane’s house was really too small for a lot of people.  Cathy said come.

The house was jammed but everyone was jolly.  It is astonishing how many people can fit in a small space.  John Granger was taking grandchildren and others on rides around the island in his carriage.

The brides in John's carriage

The brides

There was lots of wonderful salmon, smoked for the occasion by Steve Thatcher.  Everyone looked happy, and the brides were both radiant.  They each have 4 children who were there and having a ball.  Joy, the tall bride, had on a fitted strapless wedding gown that clung to her marvelous figure.  Donna, Mike’s daughter, the short bride, wore white leather motorcycle pants and a lacy shirt. She had a yellow daisy in her hair.  The brides and all the attendants wore dark glasses with white rims.

The happy couple

The happy couple

Dinner went off without a hitch.  The meat had thawed in time, and catering was done by some island neighbors.

Cathy and Russ in the dinner line

Cathy and Russ in the dinner line

The Grange was overflowing with flowers and gladness and there was dancing in the rain on its new deck.

Dancing in the rain

Dancing in the rain

Among the many toasts was a thank you for the new Washington “Everything but marriage” law which provides the same legal status as marriage to gay and lesbian couples.  That law is under attack in this fall’s election; there is a ballot initiative to repeal it.  I wonder why the people who are behind the initiative want to prohibit others from such happiness as I saw on that rainy August evening.

Diane and Mike

Diane and Mike

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19 Responses to The best laid plans

  1. dale says:

    🙂 amen. There’s no so much happiness in the world that I can stand still for gratuitously fouling up what there is! Let people marry, for heaven’s sake.

  2. Tessa says:

    The quotation in your title refers only to the best laid plans of mice and men. When it comes to a determined woman, ain’t nothing going to make her plans go agley! I’m glad Mike’s daughter and her partner had their big day, although, like Dale, I don’t see why they could not have been married.

  3. Isn’t it funny we always stress out about the details of big events, but in the end, the details don’t matter. In this case, only the happiness of the couple mattered. (And yes, they should be allowed to be married.)

  4. Jan says:

    If everything goes according to plan there would be no great memories to laugh about in later years.

  5. Malana says:

    There is no such prohibition about where to sleep for muslims. He was pulling someone’s leg.

  6. Mike Skehan says:

    Apparently the ‘nuke it’ rule doesn’t apply to big frozen pork loins you could drive a nail with. Too bad it wasn’t cool to take home-ecc when I was growing up.
    I thought the bathtub filled with hot water was brilliant, until just after immersing them, then someone asked if I was trying to kill everyone. Oops!
    The wedding was great, and I even sang karaoke after. Amazing what an equalizer a little alcohol can be.

  7. Lucy says:

    When my oldest friend in the UK civilly partnered her partner of 20 years (not strictly marriage either), one of their youngest guests, a little girl about 11, made them a fantastic card which read

    ‘Here comes the bride
    Looking very smart,
    Here comes the other bride
    Who’s captured the first one’s heart…’

    and more which I don’t exactly remember.

    Looks and sounds all in all like a grand ‘do’!

  8. Mage B says:

    Goodness, ferry and transportation problems, but it all worked well in the end.

  9. Cheers and best wishes to the brides! Someday, marriages will be equal opportunity, but how grand they could have this day.

    Lovely post.

  10. Hattie says:

    Funny they had so many kids (with men, I presume) and then decided they were lesbians! Funny world.
    Anyway, it looks like such a fun occasion. I went to a wedding a few years ago on the coast that had to be moved indoors. It was so much fun!

  11. wisewebwoman says:

    I love how weddings always end up in happilly ever after on the day, don’t you?
    Lovely post, lovely day.

  12. What a lovely, heartening post — when the whole world seems beset by awful news. So good to read about a happy occasion.

  13. Yes the mind boggles at the logic behind anti-gay marriage protests. But of course, prejudice is not logical. My son’s outdoor wedding was conducted in pouring rain, guests could not sit on the soaking chairs so everyone stood and all the unbrellas made the whole thing quite romantic. It was wonderful. Glad this wedding was so happy in spite of the planning hell preceding it!

  14. Friko says:

    Congratulations to the happy couple.

    There are sour-faced, pinch-purse-lipped, mean-spirited, cold-hearted, shrunken souls who want to stop happiness anywhere, at any time. This particular lot are nurturing an additional prejudice handicap.

    Would be good if we could just ignore them, but so often they are the very people appointed to sit in judgement over us.

  15. Joy (taller bride) says:

    Thank you for such a sweet post about our wedding. It was absolutely the most wonderful day of both of our lives! Thank you AGAIN, to all those who helped to make it what it was!!
    A couple of corrections…our Muslim friend is from an affluent family and my Mother felt that asking him to sleep in a tent would be offensive, we never asked him about it.
    My sweet wifey,(shorter bride) wore pressed cotton dress pants and a dress shirt with the words from John Lennon and Paul McCartney’s “Let it Be” embroidered on the back and a vest with suspenders.
    She would have been horrified if I had asked her to wear anything with ruffles and lace. hahaha 🙂
    Thanks again for sharing our day with your readers, it’s fun to know that our story is being shared.

  16. Old Woman says:

    Sorry about the mistakes. My information came from the Mah Jongg games, when the wine was flowing freely, my old ears don’t always hear correctly, and my memory can be faulty. I do see from the photo that the blouse is not frilly, though I had the impression that it was one of those shirts, sometimes worn by Latinos or other tropical dwellers, that have some lacy bits.

  17. Dick says:

    What a great story of love transcendent in a world in which social and cultural change is not always for the worse. At least the Old Guard had cleared off and set up their own outfit!

  18. Lavenderbay says:

    Getting hitched just wouldn’t be the same without hitches on the big day, would it? I’m glad everyone had such a good — and memorable — time.

    Note to Hattie: Don’t be too surprised about the brides’ kids. A lot of lesbians, including me, are late bloomers. (I was 37.) The reason seems to be female-child socialization practices as much as anything (we often find it mysteriously easier to be “good girls”, the feminine ideal, than do the straight ones, while the wild-oats-encouraged males figure out their orientation by the age of, oh, 13).

  19. M.E. says:

    Well, you know the old saying: “Happy the bride(s) the rain falls on.”

    What a wonderful wedding! Great post…

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