It's getting easier to remember special days around here. My great friends Melissa and Sara share April 19th as their birthday and now my brother Cliff's anniversary is on the same day! Eric and I flew down for the wedding last month and had a crazy-fun weekend.
Thursday we got settled into our hotel, took a little nap, and headed out to the Sarasota Sailing Squadron for the pre-pre-wedding party, hosted by my brother's fiance's Texas friends and family. The weather was windy and cold for Sarasota but being waterfront at sunset is always beautiful.
Ummm...did I mention it was cold? Well, it was cold...and I had arrived in Florida with a nagging cough resulting from the yellow layer of pollen coating every surface back in West Virginia. So, after Thursday night's windy chill, Friday morning found me with no voice, a deeper (but still dry) cough, and no energy because I couldn't breathe. I spent the day in the bed at the hotel with a box of Mucinex by my side. Unfortunately, I missed the bridal luncheon but taking some down-time to try and recover was the only chance that the whole weekend wouldn't be tanked.
By Friday night, I felt somewhat better so, still without my voice, Eric and I trotted off to the rehearsal dinner. It seemed like a lot of people were just beginning to recover from Thursday night...not in the same way that I had recovered from Thursday night, though. My Florida family is known for its partying power and, for the last several years, they've been able to drink me under the table and stay out waaayyyy later than I. Friday night I learned that they'd all gone out after the end of the pre-pre-party and many of them (especially the younger relatives and their friends) had gotten home at about 4:00 a.m. The rehearsal dinner was low-key and gave everyone the chance to sit around together, enjoy the food and drinks, and get ready for The Big Day.
Saturday morning was an A+ in my book. Since I'm not the best at sleeping in anymore, I woke up at about 8:00 and searched the Internets for something comparable to Charleston's Taylor Books. I lucked out and found maybe the coolest coffee shop to ever be located in a strip mall. Java Moon Coffee had free Wi-Fi, comfy chairs, local art, great latte, a to-die-for egg and cheese sandwich (on a croissant), and an atmosphere that welcomed me to stay the several hours I did. Of course, that meant online Scrabble time!!!! After several games of Scrabble, two extra-strength lattes, one egg sandwich, and maybe something sweet...I blame the fact that I can't remember on the two extra-strength lattes...I went back to the hotel to nap (yes!) until it was time to get ready for the wedding.
Being familiar as they are with: (1) Florida's quick-changing weather; and (2) their friends' and families' desire to get on with the party, my brother Cliff and his fiance, Beth, had a short, outdoor ceremony in the outdoor garden of the Chelsea Center. After that, we all had a 20-second walk to the reception, right inside the Chelsea Center's doors.
Fifteen minutes later, everyone was drunk and on the dance floor. Okay...I'm kidding! Kidding!!! Everyone knows you have to eat before you really start to drink or you'll get sick. So...one hour later everyone was drunk and on the dance floor (or something like that).
Seriously, though, the party was spectacular! The band was called Stormbringer...it's a local favorite and the favorite of my dad and step-mother. They have a special talent for "playing to the crowd" and changing their set on-the-fly based upon how their audience responds. Almost everyone danced...and danced a lot! We all got our groove on to disco, newer dance stuff, and even some classic rock that you shouldn't be able to (even though we all did anyway). And did you know that if 200 people sing Bohemian Rhapsody at the top of their lungs, it can actually sound pretty good? It helps if you swing your arms around dramatically and maybe even direct an invisible orchestra or play an invisible guitar.
My dad played with the band for a few songs and that's always a big treat. He's been playing for, oh, maybe 40 years, and gets a great response. My lack of any discernible rhythm and/or pitch is some pretty strong evidence that I did not inherit any of his musical abilities. Heh. That's okay. I did end up with a pretty decent talent for photography, which it appears that I gained from that side of the family.
And the party went on. For hours everyone danced and drank and danced some more. Stormbringer played until about midnight, and the after-partying began. Eric and me being Eric and me, though, midnight was about enough. We headed back to our hotel room, buzzing from one of those super-good-time, perfect-amount-of-fun-without-overdoing-it, special kind of nights. Nothing compares to dancing all night, spending time with your family, and not ending up with a hangover the next day.
There are lots of pictures on my Picasa page. Here are some that I really, really like:
Beth, my cousin Erica & Erica's sister Jennifer
My dad and me
Beau (father of the bride), my Grandma Lucy, and my dad
My stepmom Patty and my Aunt Beth
Me with my brothers Cliff and Keith
Me & my brother Keith.
Can we get a bigger bottle, please?
My Grandma Lucy and me
Beth and Cliff, newlyweds
Larry Crane (check out his website!)
Stormbringer...and my dad