It all started Friday afternoon. I left work a little early so as to renew my license plates. They were already overdue, of course. The DMV near my house has closed, so I happily drove to the nearest location, which is not-so-near my house. I joined the line of similarly-natured folks and soon enough noticed a hand-written sign on the wall reading, “We do not accept Credit or Debit Cards.” Now, first of all, can the state of Missouri not afford a real sign? And second of all, why not? Anyway, I left. What do I care, I have a pleasant evening and weekend ahead of me, I’ll just come back in the morning and get this all straightened out. So, the evening rolls around; Annette is visiting her sister, Emily is coming home tomorrow (Sat.) for a family wedding, and I have the evening to myself. And thus is began.
Still Friday evening the phone rings and it’s Emily. She had told us that she had a ride to St. Charles and we would then pick her up there sometime Saturday. She tells me that she’s arrived at her destination and is calling to give me directions for tomorrow.
I say, “Where in St. Charles are you?”
She answers, “High Hill.”
I exclaim, “High Hill? High Hill, Missouri?!”
She says something like, “I guess so.”
I explain, “That is not St. Charles!” as if that would somehow mean something to her. She really can’t conceive of logistics of what now awaits me. There was already a wedding Saturday night to get to, then Church on Sunday morning, of course, and then Annette had invited her mother and aunt over for dinner Sunday evening. So, a trip to St. Charles, OK, I can squeeze that in. But, High Hill MO? And, of course, we’d have to get her back there sometime when? Why Sunday night, of course, after our dinner guests had gone.
So, Saturday morning rolls around and I take off for Nowheresville Missouri, leaving Annette at home to ready herself for the wedding and the house for Sunday night. It was a pleasant enough trip; I pick her up and on the way home we stop for gas. Annette had asked me to get a quart of oil and put it in the car, so I did that.
Saturday night, the wedding was wonderful. How shall I describe Tara? I call her my niece. She’s my cousin’s daughter. But, that cousin is, and largely has been, absent from all of our lives. So, I tend to look at her through my Aunt Beth’s eyes; she Beth’s grand-daughter. I choked back tears at the wedding, when her dad walked her down the aisle and stood next to her during the ceremony. I always liked that part of the ceremony: the father stands right between the bride and groom for much of the early part of it. The father is symbolically between bride and groom. Only after asking the father, “Who gives this bride away?” does the father then join the rest of the family in their seats. Nowadays, as Tara’s dad did, you answer, “Her mother and I do.”
(The Cardinals were polite enough to wait until after the reception to start their game, so we went home and I got to watch them clinch the series against the Padres.)
Sunday morning comes, and as I’m sitting in Church next to Annette, we hear the Pastor say, “And don’t forget, the Church Picnic is this afternoon.” We both look at each other and if we were cartoon characters, there would’ve been a balloon over both our heads that read, “Crap!” I’d forgotten about the picnic and I was supposed to help with it. She glared at me for a moment and then mercifully said, “You’re on your own.” So, after Sunday School I went to the picnic and she went home to get ready for our dinner guests. Upon returning home from the picnic, I was walking into the house and noticed that Annette’s car was badly leaking oil. I went inside and announced, “Your car is badly leaking oil.” She immediately said, “Did you put oil in it yesterday?” I reflected for a brief moment and then that balloon appeared above my head again. “Crap!” I had neglected to put the oil cap back on. Turns out she has some experience in this area and took the news quite well.
Well, the dinner went fabulous and afterward, we all piled in my old ’91 Corrolla that has expired plates, and drove to High Hill, Missouri. Great family time, eh?