My cousin Tony is getting married to his long time girlfriend Amanda this weekend. Tony is the son of my mother's sister Natalie. Tony and I are not very close and we've never spent much time together. He's about fifteen years younger than I am and grew up in North Carolina. He's into race cars and girls and drinking beer. We don't have a lot in common. He is, however, a smart mouthed trouble maker and when I'm with my family I tend to be one too so I think we have an appreciation for each other. His girlfriend Amanda, who I've only met twice, is a very nice, pretty and shy country girl.
The wedding is taking place somewhere in North Carolina that everybody has to travel to get to. I'm sure it's very pretty there. Everyone is arriving the day before the wedding and staying in hotels and going to a big pre-wedding dinner the night before. It will be an all weekend affair. I can't afford to travel to a destination wedding right now. I don't know how everyone else is managing it especially now as the country is entering a recession.
My sister Nicole just called me from the road. She and her boyfriend, Ivan, are on their way to my mother's house before the wedding to cook dinner for my mother and her husband, Don, for their birthdays. Today, two days before the wedding, just happens to be their birthday. My mother and Don both share the same birthday. I'm not an astrologist but marrying someone with the same birthday as you can't be a wise move.
I pick up the phone and Nicole says: "I'm on my way to Mommy's and she wants me to cook shrimp scampi like you do. How do I do that?"
Nicole is becoming a rather good cook and has a bunch of dishes that she can pull off with no problem but it's oh-so like my mother to ask her to cook something I cook well and that Nicole has no idea how to cook. This is one of the underhanded, passive ways my mother plays her children against each other but we've come to expect this behavior and accept it as a standard mom move. There's a third child too, the youngest sister, she probably suffers from mom's maneuvers the most.
I tell Nicole how to cook the shrimp like I do and we start talking about the upcoming wedding weekend. How much it's costing to go, who is expected, how our five year old cousin has gotten fitted for a tuxedo, stuff like that.
I make her promise to call me and tell me all about the bridesmaid's dresses. Bridesmaid's dresses, as you probably know, are notoriously horrible. The big problem with them is that they're usually in some awful color that nobody looks good in and they're usually frilly or sparkly and they have to be affordable because the girls are expected to pay for them themselves. Consequently they're usually made from cheap fabric. All of this usually adds up to a horror show.
Nicole has to ask me again about the shrimp because we've been hooting loudly about this sure-to-be bridesmaid nightmare. And then we start talking about our sister Danielle.
Danielle is a beautiful girl but she presents herself, how can I say this? It's like when you see Mariah Carey and you think: "Wow, with all that money and success you would think she wouldn't choose to dress like a Hoochie mama. But she does." It's kind of the same thing for our sister Danielle minus the money and pop star thing. Nicole and I scheme about nabbing one of the bridesmaid's dresses in a super small size and lowering the neck line and raising the hem line for Danielle and we're being mean and hateful siblings and even though we love our little sister we're howling with laughter as the phone connection starts to break up.
"What?" I shout into my phone through laughter.
"We're driving through Bum-fuck Nowhere and I'm gonna loose you!"
I really do wish I were going to the wedding this weekend. I don't spend enough time with my sisters, or the rest of my family for that matter, and even though the thought of spending money foolishly on a destination wedding when times are the way they are doesn't sit right with me I know I'd have a blast. Imagine the pictures I could take.
"FLAT LEAF PARSLEY FOR THE SHRIMP RIGHT?!"