Archive for the ‘family’Category
Home for a night to celebrate the 60th anniversary of my mother’s birth. Characters from her past were in affect, including my grandparents, her childhood friends, her college roommate, and family friends of various sorts. A lighthearted night, pleasantness all around.
We’re still at the reception, but stepped out into the sun for a moment of garden hijinks. Charlie, Pete, and I sat posed for a minute, taking advantage of the setting to capture a cheeky moment.
Back inside for a few more photos. Missed eating the actual cake, I’m afraid.
After sweating it out in the summer sun, we shuffled our way into The Manor for cocktail hour, during which all manner of goodies were available to us. Never before have I seen a full carving station during a supposed cocktail hour.
And in we go. Dancing, laughing, snapping photos, giving speeches, catching up, gossiping, pretending to be Michael Jackson (just for a second), and stuffing our faces with some truly excellent food.
The photos tell the story, I suppose. Except they can’t illuminate the sporadic nature of the DJ, who changed songs every 35 seconds and spun such wedding classics as “Baby Got Back” and messed up the names of the wedding party at least 3 times, by my count. So aside from that the day was rather smooth.
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Easy, Charlie, don’t take her arm off …
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Can’t see my feet, ’cause they move so fast …
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Let them eat cake …
Following a five-year romance, my best friend Jay and his love Stephanie have performed the necessary rituals, and paperwork, to become husband and wife. The ceremony was held at The Manor, is West Orange, providing a scenic old-world backdrop for the occasion. Because the whole affair started at 11:00 am, it seemed more of a breakfast party than anything else, with a welcome reception of coffee and danishes before we took our seats.
Luckily, the wedding ceremony itself was short and tidy, removing most of the flowery religious language and all the sitting and standing that sometimes accompanies ancient rites. Considering it was all held in the August midday sun, perhaps that was a good idea. We all nearly melted, but held it together long enough to se them say “I do.”
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“James, you may now kiss your bride.”
Jay being the first of my really close friends to be married, this was the first time I attended a wedding as a peer, free of family, and also the first time I can recall attending a non-Puerto Rican wedding. Turns out I’m a rubbish Catholic, missing all the cues during the ceremony. Once again, the PRs prove themselves the masters of casual, even among other Catholics.
I suffered through a sort of oddness in anticipation. It sounded strange to me to say the words “Jay is getting married” and to hear him use the word Fiancée, but those feelings quickly wore off and the day felt like any other. And I don’t mind getting all dressed up once in a while, it keeps us slobs honest, because otherwise we’d be wearing OR scrubs or knackered old cargo pants from 1997.
The weary New Yorker may not entirely understand, but after a week of Puerto Rico I’m ready to head home. The heat, sun, animals, spotty television and phone service, cars breaking down, and generally eccentricity of my family (and extended family) are all good for a few days, but not for extended sets.
In typical fashion, we were late out of the gate, and got sidetracked buying breakfast, refueling, picking people up, taking stops, buying hammocks, looking at crabs, and taking the long way to the airport so we could deposit Mischa and Gabe to an entrance for El Yunque.
Somehow, we made to the airport in time. There was still plenty of sitting around to be had. Star Trek played on the flight home, which was a nice surprise. Crappy headphones and monitors tried their best to ruin the experience, but alas, I enjoyed the movie. That’s about the best part of the day.
It’s good to be back. I suppose I could have gotten a better tan.
Stopping on the side of the Autopista, we visited a monument to the Jíbaro people of Puerto Rico. The Jíbaro aren’t the natives of Puerto Rico, per se, but they embody a specific home-grown culture that is neither copied from Spain, nor from America. It has to do with the land, and the agricultural traditions, foods, music, etc. Hard to explain really (although Wikipedia does a decent job). Sort of like the American Redneck of, say, Tennessee. It could be seen as an insult, but if you get distill the stereotypes, you’ll find it actually is a unique cultural heritage.
And later in the day we dropped Gabe and Mischa off at a hotel in Patillas, which was actually very nice, although completely empty.