Family Celebrations

This past weekend, my sister married a wonderful man. The blessed nuptials took place at my home. While we were honored and delighted to provide the venue for this happy event, the celebration, as most of our family galas do, quickly devolved into the redneck version of My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

My family doesn’t do fancy. Even at weddings. As a matter of fact, the fanciest piece of wedding paraphernalia was the plastic champagne cups we assembled for the toast. That being said, it wasn’t a surprise when the minor setbacks began.

To be fair, the first mishap was my father being admitted to the hospital for cardiac issues. Definitely not minor, but to her credit, my sister didn’t panic. She asked dear old Dad if she shouldn’t postpone the ceremony so he wouldn’t miss it. To which he promptly responded, “What the hell for? Just get it over with. I already gave you away once.” (This is her second marriage.) We all had a good laugh and enacted Plan B. Her fourteen-year-old son happily (as happy as any fourteen-year-old boy is capable of being) escorted her to the waiting arms of his new step-father.

During pre-wedding setup, a vase blew off the mantle of the outdoor fireplace, shattering on the concrete pavers below. The favors, made of plastic and filled with highly meltable chocolate, were placed too close to the grill. You can imagine the mess created during the fight for supremacy between 60,000 BTU’s and cheap imported synthetics.

Decorating was a simple affair. Streamers and balloons, purchased from the local party supply store, adorned our spacious deck, creating a festive environment. During balloon pickup, my sister was not amused to find one reading “Good Luck” mixed in with the “Love” and “I Do” inflatables. Well played, smartass Party City clerk, well played.

Although most of the food was provided by several family members, the happy couple also purchased several large sandwiches. The hoagies ordered weren’t quite what we expected. As a special wedding day surprise, for each six-foot sub ordered, the store substituted six one-foot subs. Not really the same thing. When the bride complained to the manager about not receiving the proper order, he simply responded, “Yeah, we don’t have ovens big enough to make bread for a six-foot sub.” Seriously? You didn’t think that would be useful information to pass along to the customer during the ordering process? I guess that’s what we get for using Walmart to cater a wedding.

Alas, instead of bemoaning all of the above as a mass of fateful omens, the newlyweds rolled with the punches and hitched their proverbial wagons together amid friends and family.

Speaking of family…Wow. Just wow. That’s the only way to describe certain humans who happen to share my DNA. Don’t get uppity. Every family has them – even yours.  Let’s take a closer look at these characters, shall we?

The most irritating of the lot are the attention whore and the drama queen. You know the type, no matter the situation, it shall be manipulated and twisted into the ultimate spotlight for some type of meltdown/pity party. Someone, somewhere, at some time during the party, has slighted them in some way, resulting in Oscar Award worthy dramatics. There will be tears, shouting and epic sulking until someone breaks down and soothes the ruffled feathers. We have several, so I don’t even need to worry about someone reading this and identifying themselves. They’re all going to assume I mean the other one.

Then, we have Free Beer Guy. He doesn’t regularly interact with the family. He only makes an appearance when there’s free food and beer. If it’s a potluck barbeque, you can count on him to show up with nothing more than a fork and a take-home container. Don’t worry about him overstaying his welcome, though. He’ll leave as soon as the keg is kicked, not wanting to get roped into clean-up duty.

Finally, we have those family members who should come with a mute button. Their love of discussing any sensitive topic in public is matched only by their ability to do so at jackhammer level volumes. Don’t try subtlety with these yahoos. They will brazenly ignore your shocked expression and ‘quiet down’ hand gestures. The direct approach is best. My personal favorite way to call attention the faux pas is to say, “Holy shit, Becky! Will you shut the hell up?”

One thing is for sure, you can never call one of our family get togethers boring. Perhaps I shouldn’t publish this. My inbox is sure to be flooded with requests to be invited to the next shindig.




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