We’ve got a new brother and Kristi Leigh’s got a husband! Eric Reese Zan (rhymes with man)! Welcome to the fam, Eric!
This weekend was so crammed with activity and fun that I’m not even sure where to start. Actually, I do. I’m going to approach the past seven days chronologically hitting some highlights along the way. That’s logical enough, right? “I’m not sure where to start.” That’s a silly phrase when you really stop to think about it. Tangent.
We left Coppell for Paris on Wednesday night and stayed with Paul and Betty (Laura’s parents). Thursday morning Uncle Dave, Aunt Trish and their daughter, Abbey, joined us. If you ask Paul, Dave is his older brother, but on planet Earth, Dave is younger. Dave and Trish met while serving in the Peace Corps, which pretty well rocks in and of itself. But in order to see each other, Dave would have to walk several hours up a mountain to the village that Trish was stationed in. That’s a Nicholas Sparks novel just begging to be written! The Uncle Dave contingent came in from Wisconsin and as far as we know, they didn’t Mess With Texas.
Later that evening, we joined up with the Wolfs: Uncle Tim, Aunt Jane or Janey (Paul’s sister…also younger…also not according to Pablo) and their two sons Michael and Bobby who were a combined seventeen and a half feet shorter when we saw them in Chicago two years ago. They hail from Salt Lake City, Utah and will from time to time say, “yous guys”.
Shoot. I just realized that the sprinkler has been on in the backyard for about two hours. I’ll be right back.
Well, I can think of about six-thousand things I would rather have spent those three dollars on. Water: not one of them.
Below is a picture of us all after dinner with the Clarks. It was very “Thanksgivingy”. All the parents sat at a table in the kitchen while the cousins ate in a different room. It was during dinner that Abbey, Michael and Bobby proved their good taste and maturity by laughing at my jokes.
Front row, left to right: Abbey, Aunt Jane, Kristi, Laura, Mary Clark; Back row, left to right: Betty, Michael, Bobby, Paul, Uncle Tim, Eric, Me, Uncle Dave and Trish.
So it turns out that I’m rather short. Why didn’t anybody tell me? You know those little stools that people with pre-schoolers keep in their bathrooms so their kid can reach the toilet? I’m going to start carrying one of those around for group photos.
On Friday, a large portion of the day was passed with decorating the Heritage Hall for the reception as well as an insane game of 6 on 6 (and sometimes more!) water volleyball at Pablo y Bettitas. Laura also gave a brief display of her diving board versatility by executing a pool-emptying cannonball followed immediately by a splashless toe-touch dive.
Friday also brought us Phil and Paula Swasko and their kids Rachel and Chris. Uncle Phil is another one of Paul’s younger brothers and he can make Paul laugh harder than I’ve ever seen him laugh before. Aunt Paula is teaching middle school this year, so she is immediately awesome in my book. They flew in from the Chicago suberb of Cicero and live right down the street from Frank Lloyd Wright’s house.
This is a picture from the reception of the Cicero Swaskos…
Left to right: Chris, Rachel, Abbey, Aunt Paula, Uncle Phil and Aunt Trish up front.
The rehearsal and rehearsal dinner were Friday night and both went extremely well. It makes me sad that rehearsal dinner-type events don’t happen more often because they are so boldly full of emotion and sincerity. A rehearsal dinner is several hundred cubic feet of Utopia sitting right in the middle of millions of cubic feet of a world that routinely misses the Point. A room of people with a common bond, meeting together in a typical and common way – sharing a buffet – but with a special and extraordinary purpose, to celebrate something beautiful that has occured among them. People stand up and fight back tears, burst with laughter or usually both as they share their stories, profess their love and wish nothing but happiness for the two people who have given reason for this group of people to share this room for these couple of hours.
Laura used Windows Movie Maker to create a very touching slide show that went over with the crowd really well. I made mention of it a couple posts back and all that hard work paid off because it came out great. You can download it here, it’s about 3.5Mb and is a pretty small image. But, it had to be otherwise it would’ve been a really big file. Also, it’s a WMV file so make sure you have a program that will play that before you spend a bunch of time downloading it.
We also finally got to see the Uncle Bill and Aunt Susan (Birdwell, Betty’s brother and wife) at the rehearsal. You remember Uncle Bill from the post about the dentist. They had brought along with them a childhood friend of Bill and Betty’s, Mr. Joe Hanover. Joe posseses more devotion, more loyalty and more tenderness in one finger than most ever will in their lifetime. He is one of the most honorable men I have ever been fortunate enough to meet.
On Saturday, the big day, I spent the morning with Chris, Michael, Bobby, Eric and all of his groomsmen playing basketball and football. I was on a team with the cousins vs. Eric and the groomsmen and we pretty much wiped the floor with them. The final score was 15-13 and if that’s not total domination, sir, then I’d like to see your definition. Thank you.
While the girls were busy sipping tea, exchanging gifts and getting their hair done; Eric and I were busy nearly breaking each others legs on the football field. A pass went up to my back left and at the peak of my jump as I fully extended I felt a collision and knew immediately that it was Eric who was leaping up and forward for the ball. As our arms and legs become entangled and we started for the ground completely out of control with no input whatsoever as to how, or on what we were about to land, an entire conversation raced through my brain in less than a tenth of a second. It’s amazing how fast your brain really is.
“Oh wow…this is going to be bad. Yeah, your right leg is definitely in a bad position, that knee is a goner. I can’t believe this, I’m about to break something. But what about Eric! Think about Eric! This is his wedding day and you’re about to be responsible for sending him to the hospital with a broken leg and all because you wanted to intercept a stupid football! Man! What were you thinking? Poor Eric. Poor Kristi! Oh my gosh, poor Kristi! Sweet fancy Moses! What have you done now, boy? You’ve ruined their wedding day and n- wait! Who cares about them and their wedding?! This is your body speaking and you’re about to blow out my knee so stop thinking and just fix this!!”
It was quite impressive really. We both managed to land in a manner brutal enough so as to illicit the maximum amount of respect and admiration from the assembly without actually injuring ourselves in the process. Truth be told, it’s what every athlete hopes for in a collision.
At long last, the wedding night. Aunt Jane and I were readers and so were able to sit in the choir area. The wedding was in an Episcopal church so when I say “choir area” I’m sure I’m failing to use a beautiful word with Latin roots that when literally translated means, “And their voices shalt exhalt the Lord our God”. But, I was raised Baptist, so to me, it’s the choir area. Anyway, it was up on the stage (again, back to the thing about a Latin definition) so Aunt Jane and I had excellent seats! The ceremony itself was just amazing and Eric’s and Kristi’s vows were as sincere as anyone could possibly imagine.
The reception that followed featured a lot of dancing and some of the best wedding food in the history of this planet or any other (including parallel universes…universeese…universeseseses…universii…). Other highlights of the reception include a traditional Indian wedding dance (which I learned the name of but have now forgotten), Chris doing the most spot-on impression of Elaine Benes’ “full body dry heave set to music” that I have ever seen, and Rachel showing us some truly awesome moves such as, “Shoppin’ for Groceries” and “Mowin’ the Lawn”.
We spent the next couple of days at the lakehouse playing Balderdash, throwing horseshoes (at stakes…not just throwing them for the sake of it) and going tubing. Actually, many of the Swaskos and Wolfs remain but I have returned to Coppell because Carrollton-Farmers Branch teachers officially returned to work today which leaves me with a feeling that epitomizes the term, “bittersweet”.
Enjoy the other pictures and we hope to hear from or see you all very soon.