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Destination Wedding

We were lost, overheated, and late to my grandson’s wedding

 

We’ve just returned from our grandchild’s wedding. Because of COVID, I went to this wedding feeling just as I did when I was a bride myself.

On my own wedding day I did my own makeup, polished my own nails, and did my own hair. You can tell how long ago that was. In today's culture that would be viewed as Cinderella-worthy cruelty.

I’m always wary of travelling on the day of a simcha, yet we decided to drive the three hours on the day of the wedding because “someone” prefers to sleep in his own bed. There had been much talk about the possibility of driving there with a child or grandchild, but after discussion with the doctor, who was more comfortable with our driving our own car by ourselves, we decided to sleep over in a hotel as opposed to driving back the night of the wedding.

That morning I carefully applied all the requisite extra-duty makeup, creams, lashes, and lotions. (I now have a deeper appreciation of the magic that happens in front of the mirrors of these talented make-up artists.) I reconfirmed our hotel reservation, grabbed water and snacks, punched the address into Waze, and off we went.

Speeding along on a highway going almost 70 mph in 96-degree heat and Baltimore humidity is not the time to find out that the air-conditioning in the car is not working. By this point, we were too far into the trip to turn around. And just about then, the car started pinging and the locks started going up and down, up and down, up and down. Oh, and the gas gauge was at about a quarter of a tank full...

Let's put it this way: One of us was in charge of the travel arrangements — hotel, food and snacks — and one of us was in charge of making sure the car was filled with gas and road-travel ready. Suffice it to say that the frost in the air had nothing to do with what was blowing from the fan vents.

Waze started taking us into slightly unfamiliar territory but we were going in the right direction, so we weren’t too concerned. Around the time when we should have arrived at our destination, I asked hubby to pull over — it gave us a reason to speak to each other — so I could reprogram the travel directions. Just to be safe, I called the hotel to confirm the address.

Did you know there are two roads named Route 70? I reprogrammed the address to Highway 70. We arrived at the hotel only an hour and a half after we were supposed to. Did I mention the rising temperature in the car, the musical accompaniment of the pinging, and the dancing car locks?

At this point we were both dripping wet — and it wasn't raining.

 

Why didn’t we contact a mechanic when we got to our hotel? That’s a great question.

We quickly, or as quickly as was possible given that we were both totally exhausted, changed into wedding mode. I’m not sure why I was worried about the shade of lipstick — behind the stifling (and matching!) mask, no one knew the difference.

I then took a deep breath and decided that considering that we were on our way to a glorious simchah, we had to enjoy what was happening at all costs. I put away my phone so I wouldn’t be distracted, and we even started talking again. Well, he had never really stopped. I, on the other hand, figured it was time to grow up.

At this point we’d become experts at denial. So we got back into the overheated car, punched in the address of the hall, and, accompanied by the musical dancing locks, felt confident we wouldn’t be too late.

Waze (remind me why we keep using this) told us that we were six minutes away. Because we do what we are told, thirty-five pinging minutes later, we were still driving around in circles. In desperation we pulled into a gas station to ask directions to the wedding hall the old fashioned way. Attempting to call our children by using my husband Abby’s phone (remember what I said about not wanting to be distracted? Hah!) didn’t help, because his phone wasn’t working either.

At that point, Price Charming was at the next gas pump and we asked him directions to the hall. His mother really raised him right because he smiled and said, “Follow me.” If he hadn’t, we’d still be driving around in circles. I hope he was able to hear our profound thanks above the roar of the overheated car fan.

And that’s why there will be no formal pictures of us at the wedding. I arrived just in time to accompany the bride, the mothers, and the other grandmothers into the hall to begin the simcha. Hardly anyone mentioned my glistening complexion, and I certainly hope there are no pictures of my wilted wig.

With the baddeken over, the outside chuppah was about to begin. Our children honored us by asking us to be part of the processional walk to the chuppah. Because the wedding guest list was limited to family only, arrangements had been made for livestreaming for extended family and friends. My cousin called the next day to say how sweet it was that hubby and I smiled at each other as we began to march down.

That’s what she thought she saw.

Here’s what actually happened:

As we both took the first few steps down the aisle Abby leaned over, smiled and whispered to me, “My suspenders just snapped. If anything happens, just keep walking…”

Let me assure you that miracles do happen because we made it down the very short aisle with hardly anyone the wiser.

One of our sons had heard the comment about the suspenders and was standing by, not sure what he would do if there would be any mishaps. He is my witness.

The rest of the wedding was truly wonderful and we drove back the next day with the fan blowing, the car pinging, and the locks dancing.

This time I used a different road map. Because sometimes we get so caught up with the destination we lose sight of the priorities seated right next to us…

Are we there yet?

 

(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 709)

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