Weddings and funerals bring families together. This past week I had the happy experience of seeing a lot of family for the nice reason, the wedding of my youngest niece.
I don’t actually get many opportunities to visit with family. My brothers and sister’s families are scattered between Los Angeles California, the mid-west, and Wales, with me here in northern Virginia. My mom still lives in upstate New York (“southern New York State” to you Out-of-Towners). It’s at least a good day’s drive to get to anyone else and between my family and work I don’t get away much.
Last Saturday I did have a reason to fly into Nashville, Tennessee, to attend the wedding of my youngest niece Abigail. I was working down in southern Florida for the week so I flew directly from there into Nashville, a flight of four hours and a drop of 60 degrees temperature. As it was a Saturday evening wedding I checked into the hotel and spent the afternoon with my one nephew assisting in last-minute wedding preps and catching up on the news. Most everyone else in my family who was attending the wedding was already at the hotel with the women all busily assisting the bride and bridal party.
At the Appointed Time the bride and her ladies sashayed out and piled into various cars heading for the wedding venue, a rather interesting hall in downtown Nashville. I had the honor of riding with the bride and a double honor of helping her get out of the car and into the hall without her tripping over her dress. Everyone, including the groom and groomsmen, showed up on time and the simple but elegant wedding went off without a fuss.
The other guests included my mom, all members of my sister’s rather large family with many friends, and the groom’s family and friends. This made up a sizable crowd of about eighty people I either had never met or hadn’t seen since the last wedding two years ago.
My family can seriously party, and we ended up partying until early morning. I’ll admit to being a bit tired as I had caught a 6:00 flight that morning, but as elder uncle I had an image to maintain. Everything ended when the bride and groom paraded out; the rest of us picked up all the decorations and leftover food and left. After a short trip back to our hotel I got some much-needed rest.
I had planned to hang out and have a family Sunday brunch, so I had booked an afternoon flight home. It was a good plan. I woke up Sunday morning and went down to the hotel breakfast room to take advantage of the free breakfast, the first family member to show up. After awhile other family members started showing up in ones and twos in various shades of awake. We hung out, gradually taking over the breakfast room, and sort of planned out a brunch at an I-Hop near the Nashville airport. Decisions were made, cell phone discussions held, and more decisions were made. At about ten o’clock we came to a consensus; we had to check-out of the hotel and go somewhere else.
I went back to my room, gathered my luggage, and tramped down to the lobby where I met everyone else who had spent the night at the hotel. This didn’t include the bride and groom as they had cleverly refused to let anyone know where they we staying for their wedding night. Once we all were checked out we piled into various cars and drove off to the I-Hop. I went with a niece and nephew-in-law and my youngest nephew.
My group arrived first and made reservations for 18 people on a busy Sunday morning, which seemed to send the hostess into shock. We assured her we could wait, and actually had the tables we requested about two hours before everyone else showed up. Following directions isn’t one of our family’s strongest traits, and many more cell phone calls were made before we got everyone to the correct location. By the time all invited guests showed up, I had already finished brunch so I could catch my flight. It was that late.
Of course pictures were taken. I gave and got hugs all around, and left with my Nephew-in-law to catch my flight home.