Monday, November 05, 2007

The Re-wedding (September 15 2007)

It has been over 5 weeks since I last posted. I think that is the longest gap since I started this back in March of 2006.

I have been working on this post for over 2 week. (I’ll post something more general hopefully within a few days to help explain my absence from “blogland”. Suffice it to say that life in the “real world” has been demanding for the past 2 months.

In my post from September 10 2006 I talked (among other things) about the marriage of our youngest child and only daughter Melissa on September 7 2007. (click HERE and scroll down)

For several reasons (one of which was that Alexander is from Sweden and his parents were unable to come at that time) she & Alexander were married with only their friends Brent & Eleanor as witnesses. However, Melissa wanted to celebrate her marriage with family and friends and we spent the weeks and months following planning (what Melissa came to call) the “re-wedding”. (and if you have been following my postings you have heard about this many times)

The “big event” took place on September 15 2007 – 8 days after their 1st anniversary. (I don’t envy Alexander having 2 “anniversaries” to remember—but then maybe it isn’t so bad –they can celebrate twice –or if they miss the “real” anniversary they have a second chance to make up for it )

The bride & groom: The wedding (September 7 2006) and the “re-wedding” (September 15 2007)

The venue: Camp Wakonda is located on McCarroll’s Lake about 40 kilometers (25 miles) east of Sault Ste.Marie. Melissa was familiar with it from several family and church events that she had attended there growing up and she wanted to have the wedding celebration there.

(The pictures are from last year when we were making arrangements to rent it of the weekend)

It had the advantage of having “rustic” sleeping accommodations for family and friends providing the more informal atmosphere of a family and friends getting together for a weekend family gathering rather than the more common situation of many people being in hotels and there being limited opportunities for “visiting”.

The week before: Christer & IngBritt Aslundh - Alexander’s parents flew into Kingston on September 6.(the eve of the “real” anniversary). On Wednesday (September 12) Melissa & Alexander, his parent’s and Magnus – Alexander’s friend and best man from Sweden -- arrived in the Sault. (They had picked up Magnus at the Toronto airport enroute).

Kevin Sarah and Will had flown in from Vancouver earlier that day. Wednesday night we had a family dinner to welcome our Swedish visitor’s to the Sault.

Thursday: Chris, Tammye, Hunter & Camdyn arrived and we had a pleasant afternoon and evening of having our entire family in our home (first time for Will to be here & first time we had all been together since Alexander joined our tribe).

Although there were some last minute things to do Linda’s extensive preparations allowed us to spend most of our time enjoying their company).

Wednesday & Thursday, Melissa was fighting a migraine and Alexander’s mother was ill (Christer & IngBritt had gone to a hotel Wednesday night and were unable to join us for dinner on Thursday) so that was a little concerning. Late Thursday, I drove Melissa to pick up Kate – Melissa’s friend and maid of honor – at Kincheloe (CIU) from her flight in from Syracuse where she is attending law school. Melissa and Kate met as roommates at Queen’s their 1st year. They became best friends and roomed to-gether for all 4 years and have continued their friendship since they graduated.

Friday morning was a bit chaotic picking up rental items, packing the motorhome with food and all the other stuff we needed, loading the arbor on our friend’s pickup and then around noon making the trek to Camp Wakonda.

Friday afternoon was even more chaotic – trying to set up in the rain – do the rehearsal – “check-in” Melissa’s friends who were arriving for the night and serve the rehearsal meal – but it went off without any major hitches and by 9 we had everyone fed, the kitchen cleaned up, the arbor (more or less) in place by the lake, the motorhome (re)set up for Kevin , Sarah & Will,(They had been using it as their home away from home since they arrived – we had done that because Will was familiar with the motor home from our visits west and we thought it would make it easier for him to be somewhere familiar. It seemed to work. He was great – when they arrived he settled in quickly and acted as if he had been here all his life.).

We also had Melissa and Alexander settled into their rented trailer (Thanks to our friend from church – Alvin who had towed it out from the Sault that evening) and everyone else settled into their “bunks”. When I went out to bed around 10 I think I was asleep before my head hit the pillow. The younger crowd stayed up and had a “pre-wedding” party playing games and singing karaoke (or so I am told)

The weather: Planning a outdoor ceremony and a “family encampment” in mid-September has its risks. The weather can be great or it can be not-so-great.
In 2006, when we were making the arrangements to rent the camp Linda and I visited the camp in late September and then went back with Melissa and Alexander in early October. Both time were beautiful sunny “Indian summer” type days and we thought if we could have that weather we would be blessed.

Well, this year after a record dry hot summer, September was acting more like a “monsoon season” than “Indian summer”—the entire 14 day period from when September 15 first showed on the long term forecast, it was showing cold and rain that day. And many of the days in that period were rainy – although we also had some great warm sunny days. We wondered about tents or other ways to be outside in “inclement” weather – but the costs and the logistics were too complex – so our fallback was to have everything in the lodge – which would require some logistical “sleights of hand” converting from auditorium style seating to table set-ups with maybe 100 people standing around. In a room that had table seating for about 90 people at a time.

As we counted down into the last week– it was showing rain all weekend. Finally on Wednesday what had been showing as “partially sunny” Friday (which we wanted because we would be setting up and a rainy Saturday (ugh!!) and Sunday (tearing down and packing up - double ugh!! –) finally changed.
The forecast started calling for a rainy Friday (not nice), a strong chance of showers on Saturday (dicey) and cloudy with chance of showers Sunday (sigh). So we said (again & again) “it isn’t about the weather – it’s about people sharing this celebration with Melissa & Alexander and we’ll deal with whatever comes. It was in God’s hands and we kept praying for some small miracle.

Friday – the forecast held – it was clear in the morning while we where loading up – which was nice and it stayed that way until we got to the camp and had unloaded most of the stuff. But then we got rain showers and they continued off and on into the evening. We did as much as we dared preparing outside – between (and sometimes during showers) but we were also giving serious thought to how we would handle doing it all inside. It was raining as I prepared for bed and my prayer for a “miracle” was on my lips as I went to sleep.

At 6 a.m. I woke up and went over to the lodge to make some coffee—I was overjoyed when I stepped out the door and saw a clear sky. It was frosty and cool but as I sat on the porch drinking a coffee I watched the SUN come up over the lake on a beautiful fall morning my heart was full of thanksgiving. It remained sunny (although a little cool with some wind) until after the ceremony and there was no rain all day even when it clouded up a bit in the afternoon. Sunday morning was also clear and sunny. God is good – and we praise him for small blessings.

Getting Ready:

Saturday morning was full of activity- decorations, putting the arbor in place, running power and placing the sound system.

Cleaning and setting up chairs, setting up and decorating tables for the luncheon and setting out Linda's flower arrangements

– and of course getting dressed—which actually didn’t happen until after some of the guests arrived!!! (as shown in these pictures taken by our friend Sharon Valli less than an hour before the ceremony).

Sharon showed up with a surprise gift -- an offer to act as the "official" photographer -- which prior to then was going to be done by Brent - who was also in the wedding party so it was going to be a little difficult. Brent also took many pictures so Melissa has a good selection to choose from.

The wedding ceremony : The ceremony was performed by Alexander’s father who is a minister in Sweden. I'll do a separatepost with pictures of the and let them speak for themselves.

The afternoon:
Following the luncheon we had a fairly relaxing afternoon visiting and playing games. I got in a few games of horseshoes with my brother-in-law Coe and I teaming up against Linda’s nephew(-in-law) Travis and Chris. There was some work setting up the tables for dinner but lots of help so it was “light work”
The reception:
The dinner was catered by Ruiniti Banquet’ from the Sault. They put on a superb spread centered around a roast of lamb and barbequed short ribs— both of which (as the saying goes) were to “die for”. We had a number of last minute “no shows” so ur concerns regarding having sufficient seating vanished and we had food enough left over to feed a proverbial army.

The speeches “roasting & toasting” the bride & groom were I suppose typical but hearing Melissa’s brothers Melissa’s friends Lee(as MC) and Kate speak of Melissa and Alexander’s father and his friend Magnus speak of Alexander was touching and joyful(and filled with laughter and tears) . I brought tears to Melissa’s eyes (and to Linda’s & mine as well) with a reading of a poem called “When you were little” – It was in a book of stories that we had read tour kids as bed time stories—and this poem was one I had often read to Melissa and had for along time planned to read it at her wedding.

Another highlight of the reception was the square dancing. Again this was Melissa’s idea – so we arranged for Freddie Kent & the Northernaires—a band that is centered around Fred’s ”fiddling” skills and for a square dance caller Ellis MacDonald who was willing to work with novices and teach the moves.
Now anyone who knows Linda & I knows we don’t dance. However, much to the surprise of our boys, we had decided to give it a "whirl" (which if you have ever observed or participated in square dancing is a pretty literal description of that activity). The first set (3 different “squares” was pretty slow and a little “brutal” and many of the people dropped out and didn’t finish. Melissa was a little discouraged and disappointed that such a small number stuck with it and she was going to give upon it. But after a while we persuaded enough people for 2 squares to try again and completed 2 more sets (with a break in between – if nothing else it is great aerobic exercise so we old folks needed a rest before starting again) Each square got easier as we got down the basics – “allemande left and dosie doe” and by the 3rd set it went really well. Linda & I enjoyed it (in her words it was a ”hoot”) – by the time we struggled through the first square I was laughing so hard my stomach hurt

The aftermath:
Sunday morning was busy as we had to tear down and stack all the tables and chairs in the lodge, scrub floors, clean the cabins and kitchen, get the motor home and trailer ready to go and load all the stuff up to take it home.

Linda's niece Tracy and her husband Travis have a camp on the lake and Sunday morning they brought their pontoon boat over and took Chris & Tammy, Kevin & Sarah, Melissa & Alexander and Hunter, Camdyn & Willout for a ride around the lake.

Our young friend Lennie Roetman who had used his truck on Friday to bring out the arbor (and ferry chairs for outside that we had rented from the Elks in Echo Bay to the camp on Friday and back again after the wedding on Saturday) was on hand and helped with the clean-up as well as getting the stuff loaded. My sister Ruby and her husband Art had stayed over night and were a big help as was Linda’s sister Arliss and her family (Arliss had come Friday night to help with the rehearsal supper as well) .
Our frien Maxine from Red Rock had come out Friday and helped a lot all weekend. She was going to stay elsewhere Saturday night but had decided she wanted to stay longer at the “party” so she was there pitching in Sunday as well. Of course our family – including Melissa & Alexander were busy helping out. Our lovely daughters(-in-law) Tammye & Sarah both dived in -- and helped a lot.
So it was a “family affair”—both in the celebrating and in the work needed to make it happen.
There were 2 glitches in an otherwise “perfect event” -- For the rehearsal dinner Friday night Linda had prepared and frozen 3 large pans of meatballs for a spaghetti and meat ball dinner. All three were heated up in the ovens but only one was used and in the hustle of cleaning up and dealing with later arrivals somehow the 2 unused pans were left in the(turned off) gas ovens overnight. With the extra warmth of the pilot lights Linda decided that they had to be thrown out. The more serious glitch was my error. One of our neighbors whose children had been Melissa’ playmates had offered us the use of six sleeping bags. Sunday morning Linda had packed them up in black garbage bags. You probably see were this is going. Well, I saw my sister lugging this garbage bag along the sidewalk and said “here let me do that—and promptly took it and threw it in the dumpster—I still can’t figure out why I didn’t check to be sure it was garbage because I had earlier been doing that for other “real garbage) – bottom-line 3 sleeping bags gone—We felt terrible but in the end it was only “things” and money not anything important -- and we refused to let those things be our memories of what was and always will be a wonderful weekend with family & friends.
Melissa’s smile as she looked at Alexander after the ceremony was worth more than any amount of money could buy— and that’s the memory I will treasure and remember -- forever.
I'll end this report with a prayer for God's blessings on this marriage and on Melissa & Alexander as theylive their lives together.
God Bless


Tim Archer said...

Mazel Tov! May they have a long and blessed life together.

Grace and peace,

john dobbs said...

Charlie, I enjoyed the update so much. Think of you often. Love and blessings to you and Linda.

Anonymous said...

That was quite an update, Charlie! No wonder it took you two weeks to write it up. I enjoyed it and read the entire post.

Sorry about the meatballs and the sleeping bags, but if those were the only glitches, that isn't bad at all. It could have been a whole lot worse, for sure.

Now let me go look at all of the pictures again!