Tuesday, October 2, 2007

It was wonderful

I couldn't have asked for better. The weather was perfect, the mosquitoes cooperated by staying away, Red the pig performed her role admirably, and everyone got along great.

Okay, now details:

Al Michales donated the use of his brand new stock trailer to pick up Red the pig from our neighbor's friend George, who raised her and then sold her to us at a really ridiculously low price. (I'd recommend George to anyone. Just ask me for his number.) Anyway, so there's this big red stock trailer in our yard, with a very nervous pig inside. Dan and Rick are pacing around because, obviously, we need the pig dead before we can roast her.

Dan has butchered his own sheep in the past and had figured doing a pig couldn't be too difficult. But he wanted an especially sharp knife of a particular shape, and somehow his weapon of choice didn't make it into his luggage when he left Maine. He started planning out what it would take to make one according to his design (by which impulse you can tell he has an engineering degree), but Rick went out and simply bought an appropriate blade (by which you can tell that he works with engineers).

Next, there was the question of shooting the pig. She was still in Al's brand new stock trailer, and obviously they didn't want to start shooting the trailer up. But we'd all been to the fair enough to know that if we let her out, she probably wouldn't just stand still and "smile for the camera." Finally someone had the idea of taking her over to Al's farm. He has stock fencing and all that already in place for his cattle, and he offered to let them process her there and bury the offal with his back hoe. (Have I mentioned how incredibly generous these people are?) I did not attend the actual event, because I am squeamish and have no interest in the details; but I understand that in spite of all their preparations, Red did indeed make a break for it, got through a gap in the stock fence, and turned a simple butcher job turned into a pig hunt. But things got sorted out in the end, more or less according to plan.

Meanwhile, the tent and tables had been delivered and set up, as well as the pig roaster and the port-a-john. Racer's Hall got us the two pony kegs at wholesale cost (Thank you!), and I hit-up my connections at the Port Washington Farmer's Market for rolls, flowers, and a big jar of Mango Jam for Dan (his favorite). Mom got there mid-morning, and I set her and Tasha to work sorting 3 bunches of flowers into vases for 9 tables.

The cousins got there about lunch time, which really got the party started early. It's hard not to feel festive when you've got a pile of little people bouncing around and looking excited. I feel so very honored that the whole Fremont Huisjen crew, plus the Worths & Gees, made the long trip around the lake just for our little gig. And Dale and Susie and their gang were on their way from Ypsilanti, but blew a radiator in central Michigan and had to limp on home again. (You were missed!)

By 3:00 or so all the relatives were on site, and there was a definite team of guys working on the pig. Lucas potted up some begonias in a half-round pot and hung it on the cross at the chapel, which added the perfect touch. Sybil was starting to fret about how many senior citizens would park their cars on her property and be taxied down to the chapel. And for comic relief, we all had a good time watching the toad that hopped into the tent and settled down to watch the show.

By 5:00 we had a pretty good crowd of 60 - 70, including kids. Gary H. was having a wonderful time directing cars and trying to collect parking fees, while a swarm of little kids swung on the rope and generally cavorted around the Grandmother Oak. We decided it was time to take our walk.

We wandered down the east path, with Rick and me hand in hand leading the way. (I had to drag him past the pig, which he thought he'd better check one more time.) Meanwhile, Sybil had loaded several elderly attendees in her car and was giving them the nickle tour as she drove down the west path to the chapel. She was in her glory, having so many people come to admire Meadow Valley, and I swear she was just glowing. But then again, I was in a pretty wonderful mood myself and it may have reflected on others.

RaeAnn did an absolutely wonderful job with the ceremony itself. There were vows, and stories about the early times in our marriage, and a recognition of the work as well as the joys of marriage. Sybil asked me later why Rick kept looking away from me during some of the "mushy" moments? I explained that he was right on the verge of crying the whole time and trying to hold it in.

That's about it. We kissed a bit, then walked back and had a party. There were plenty of potables (thanks, Dad!), an over-abundance of food, and a general atmosphere of pleasant camaraderie. The Kohler guys made a great showing, and after dinner hung out at the fire pit for quite a while. Several of Luc's and Tasha's friends came later in the evening and had a good time goofing around in the dark with the glow necklaces I'd stashed. Babies were cuddled, friends were hugged, and all was well.

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