Root Beer Floats
Yes, dear readers, root beer floats, and while they weren't consumed sitting in my old red Subaru, served to me by an in-line skating server, just a few miles south of Middlebury, they were actual A&W floats.
So, my brother's wedding is an issue I've skated over for the most part, mostly because the road to this family event has been fraught with danger, strife, and drama, and I'm not into airing my family's laundry online - generally speaking. The trip down there however, had many highlights, and it's not fair to ignore the funny stuff just because I haven't said much about the topic before. After all, the story ends happily. How often do you get to say that?
Mark and I left Framingham last Friday at 6:30 AM, with our luggage and our dogs in tow. We had to drop the dogs in RI with my in-laws before heading out onto the open road. Our destination: Westminster, MD. Our route: RI-102 to US-44 to I-384 to I-84W. Staying on 84W, we meant to head to Scranton, PA, then down I-81S to Harrisburg, picking up PA-15 via I-83S, traveling as far as Gettysburg, then taking MD-97 into Westminster.
My parents swear by this route, as it avoids the traffic and tolls of the "coastal route" through New Jersey and Delaware. They usually make the trip in 7 1/2 hours, so I figured we could do it in 8. I didn't, of course figure for the difference between our having to detour via RI and Route 44, and their just hopping on 84W in Sturbridge and heading off....
So, we were a few minutes late for the rehearsal. Ten hours later. Ugh.
The rehearsal dinner, hosted by my fabulous parents, was held at the local Japanese Steakhouse. There were 40-some of us there, taking up four teppanyaki tables, and let me tell you, we are a hilarious bunch!
Mark got steadily smashed on sake, my brother was shooting Jameson's (his namesake whiskey, of course), my mother's brother fell in love at least six times that night alone women less than half his age, and I seriously considered babynapping Dyanna's cousin Peter. Just another night with the family.
After chaperoning the late night barflies at the restaurant (my husband, my uncle, and my cousin, the Army truck driver), I finally got the sleep I'd been waiting for since dawn.
We spent the next morning getting Mark a lightweight, light colored shirt, since the one we packed was dark blue, and wholly inapropriate for the 95 degree day we were facing, and then while Mark slept off the sake and cigarettes (my uncle is a terrible influence), I headed to the pool to hang with my parents, my Aunt Nan, and her daughter-in-law and granddaughters, not to forget the indomitable Rylee. We were soon joined by one Katehead, who drove up from the DC area just to say hi (as she is running away to Shanghai next month with a clown convention), and before too long, she, Mark, and I found ourselves at the local KFC-A&W (oh, unholy union of fried chicken and root beer!) for pre-wedding "lunch".
Notably, the wedding was meant to be in a lovely historic rose garden, but about a half hour before the ceremony started, a storm front literally gathered itself (it didn't roll in, it gathered right there) over the field above the garden, and spewed forth rain, thunder, and spectacular lightning over the spot. It was downright Biblical. Needless to say, the ceremony was moved under a nearby shelter, and all went off without a hitch, including driving the bride over from the museum to the shelter in a golf cart to protect the dress.
The reception itself was nice, and the best parts for me were seeing my brother so happy, and seeing my Mom with most of her siblings in one room. I do love a family reunion!
We left earlyish the next morning, and tried the "coastal" route home, and discovered that we saved no time, and spent far more money, though the trip felt shorter because the roads were more familiar, at least to me, since I've driven all over the eastern seaboard.
After picking up some Vietnamese takeout in Worcester, we headed home with the dogs, and let me tell you, all four of us were pretty glad to be home again.
And that, was the story of the root beer floats.