I’m enjoying a few days off from the Space Center. You know, there are days when I dream about the time when the only thing I’ll need to decide on any given day is if I’d like fries or apple chips to go with my Happy Meal.
When I sit at my desk on a Monday morning and look over the mountain of emails and bookings and schedule changes and repairs and needs and wants..... I close my eyes and think that in two short years I’ll have my 30 years of service finished and could then seriously consider retirement. If I want to do something to keep myself busy and mentally active during retirement, I’ll follow my father’s footsteps. Instead of sitting around all day living off his South Dakota pension and Social Security he decided to get out and find something to do that didn’t entail the same responsibilities he had when he worked for the SD Department of Highways. My dad allowed himself to become assimilated into the Walmart Collective. Today he spends his days in the garden center putting grills and benches together and frustrating every manager stupid enough to engage him in conversation.
Last night I attended Emily and Skyler’s pre Wedding Reception. I added the prefix ‘pre’ because their reception was held before the wedding. Ingenious isn’t it? With the reception finished the night before, the happy couple can skip town right after they say their “I Do’s”.
I’ve never been to a pre Reception before and was hesitant on giving a gift. What if either of them woke the following morning, panicked and did a run? I would be out the price of my card (and wedding cards are pricey these days). For that reason I decided to give them a check instead of a real present or cash. If they call it off, I cancel my check. You should all know me well enough to know that I’ve got my bases covered :)
The “P”ception was held on the grounds of a what appeared to be a British style Manor House on a hillside in Cedar Hills. I had to park a couple blocks from the event. No big deal I thought. What I didn’t know was the length of the mansion’s driveway. Let’s just say this, they had a golf cart running people back and forth between the street and the event. Of course, my pride wouldn't permit me to accept a ride.
The “P”ception’s theme was Carnival. It was done very well. I worried about Emily though. Emily has been very ill for the past two weeks and still under a doctor’s care. I think it was miracle she was able to carry on with the wedding at all.
When I arrived at the mansion’s ‘Event House’ I could see precautions were in place in case she had a turn for the worse. Off to the right on the lawn was what appeared to be a ring toss game (remember, carnival was the “P”ception’s theme). Upon closer inspection I discovered the bottles were Emily’s old IV bottles from her last two week’s of care. Her old syringes were the darts thrown in the balloon popping game. It was ingenious.
There was a costumed photo booth at the entrance of the Event House. Guests selected costume pieces from a couple of bins, entered the booth and had their pictures taken. What most people didn’t notice was something only my trained eye saw. The photo booth was actually the disguised back of an ambulance, parked near the Event House in case Emily had a turn.
Everyone was greeted at the door by a woman dispensing generous shots of hand sanitizer. Surgical masks were distributed half way through the reception line. The whole thing made me think we were at a Make a Wish Party. I ran into Casey, Dave Daymont and his wife. We tried to converse but the masks made it difficult.
The line moved slowly ahead. Before long I stood in the presence of Emily and Skyler, her soon to be husband. Emily looked beautiful (if you overlooked the carefully hidden IV. The plastic tubing was carefully concealed in the lace running up her arm). Various other life support machines stood nearby making excellent places to hold your drinks when you hugged.
Emily assured me she was doing well and on the mend (until she momentarily flatlined and nearly collapsed. The scaffolding set up around her held her in place - brilliantly disguised to blend into the decorations. The electrodes in her dress sparked, bringing her back to us). I told her we were anxious to have her return to work after the wedding and when she was feeling more like her normal self. I presented my card and check and explained how expensive cards were these days - even at the new WinCo in Orem.
I wanted to impress on them the concern I had for this "P"ception concept. Both Emily and Skyler assured me they were committed to marrying each other the following day. I held the card out, Skyler took hold and pulled. I kept hold of it just for a moment longer to emphasis the fact that I expected them to carry out their part of the agreement. I give a gift and they marry. I let go once I saw that he understood.
I bid them farewell and manoeuvred through the surgical ward toward the refreshments. Delicious pies were on the menu along with popcorn, carmel apples, cupcakes and candy (remember the Carnival theme?). I took a bag of popcorn and a carmel apple. I knew I needed extra carbohydrates for the long walk back down the drive. Casey accompanied me. We talked about the apparent wealth around us and wondered what the people did to make that kind of money.
I pulled away from the manor in my Lincoln Battlestar and drove down the mountain to rejoin my caste living and toiling in the fields below. It was nice getting to celebrate the evening with Emily and Skyler. They make a wonderful couple and we all wish them the very best of luck as they start a new life together.