03 October 2006
The wedding...
…happened. They did it. They signed all the papers. They said “oui” to all the questions. Basically, they went and ruined their lives. Okay, that’s a slight exaggeration, but I still believe marriage is an institution and no one in their right mind puts themselves in an institution. It was a nice wedding. The alcohol flowed like water, the nibbles before the meal were good, the meal itself was interesting and the happy couple were stunningly beautiful.
But the weekend…ugh!

Friday morning we packed up the car to take off on the four hour drive north to the po-dinky town where we’d rented a gîte for eight. We ended up only being four, plus the two kids, so we had a lot of space. S&M were to arrive later that night, but alas, SNCF worked their magic again. Not only were all the trains from Grenoble to Lyon canceled (apparently the SNCF goes on strike a day later there than the in rest of the country), but after driving to Lyon themselves to catch the TGV north, they arrived to find that the car they’d reserved for the weekend was gone. They were stranded at the train station. No worries, though. Marc went and got them and I stayed with the kids. The groom showed up, looking like he’d been wrung out hard—his grandfather had died the night before and he'd been on the road a lot that day—and when Marc got back with the kids from the south we sat down for a light meal of spaghetti carbonara and salad with ice cream cones for dessert. Bibi left us just after, M and I put the kids to bed and the boys sat down to a hand of cards. They played until the wee hours of the morning. We girls, because we’re made of smarter stuff and remember how tired we were after our own weddings, went to bed at a reasonable hour.

Saturday morning went by fairly easily. The weather was beautiful, a change from the rain of the night before, and all looked good for a nice round of the out-of-doors picture-taking extravaganza at the bride’s parent’s house that afternoon. We had a lazy breakfast of creamless cream twists and brioche and a lazier lunch with salades paysannes made by yours truly, which were admittedly not bad even though I couldn’t get my poached eggs to come out right at all. Then we all got dressed and when Bibi showed up to carry those of us who wouldn’t fit in our car, we headed over to the fun. And here is your picture of my horrible hair and happy family: Aren’t my kids gorgeous!
After the bride’s mother was satisfied with the number of pictures taken (it was at this point that we got a taste of things to come—it may have been her daughter getting married, but it was her show if you get my drift), we all headed over to the Mairie so the civil service could happen. Like every single wedding we’ve been to in France, it was up a flight of stairs. Marc went on ahead—he had to, being le témoin and all—and I stayed behind with the Mad Mobile Midget strapped to my back and Muppethead strapped to his stroller. (Strapping my kids down is a good thing, and I need to find ways to do it more often.) I hung out with the groom’s handicapped cousin-by-marriage (who was a riot), a few of his old aunts, and his baby nephew. Those who made the hike tell me the mayor didn’t go on for too long, but those of us on the ground had other opinions. At last, we went to the church.

The religious ceremony was simple and elegant and surprisingly not terribly long. The priest was a young enough guy, rather progressive, and even cracked a few jokes. Instead of passing the basket for the offering as is usually done, we were invited up to the alter to congratulate the happy couple and to drop our coin in the basket on the way back down. And for us, this is when the fun started. Muppet was all too happy to be let out of his rolling prison unit, and even happier to go see Tonton Bibiiiiiiiii, and happier still to kiss any and everyone he could smack with his lips. But that pile of change sitting in the basket was too much for him, and he just had to reach out and GRAB IT ALL. Actually both of my children had started digging their elevator shaft of doom at this point—Monkeyboy for stealing in church and Pigletgirl for defacing the pews—the back of the pew in front of us was perfect for teething. We headed back to our seats, next to Vi, and prepared for the end.

“Don’t look now Vi, but you’re gunna hafta do a big ole yeehaw here in a sec.”
“Huh? Wha…OH MY GAWD”

Apparently the father of the bride loves everything American. And lined up in front of the church were a bunch of rednecks in cowboy hats, Harley Davidson T-shirts, boots, and leather with fringe—folks the bride’s parents line dance with and stuff. And this, let me assure you, was only the beginning of the Americana. It got progressively worse. But you'll have to wait for now. The monsters are up and need me.
posted by Doc at 08:51 | Permalink |