I headed to Durham at 9:30, actually leaving enough time to make it there without crazily rushing by the time I reach downtown Durham and then having to negotiate the detour that typically is up to accommodate the Saturday Durham Farmers' Market that closes off some of the roads in the theater area.
We had a good meeting, and I continued to be amazed by the artistic talent and drive of the folks running Manbites. Jeff outlined the potential shows for next season, and Katja put forward her idea for a 4-week summer program in theater education for kids.
Robert arrived at just after 1:00, and at about 1:20, we left for Yelena and Josh's wedding at The Stone Chapel in Wake Forest. On our walk up the driveway to the church, we met Sherry, Josh's aunt—and unbeknownst to us at the time—soon-to-become-fast-friend.
We took a seat on the bride's side, with just a couple of minutes to spare until 2:00. The ceremony didn't start until about 2:10, and while we waited, I tried to determine the denomination of the church. Any hymnals that might have been in the holders on the back of the pews were absent. There were carvings on the walls, between the windows of what looked to me like the Stations of the Cross. I wondered, "Are the Stations of the Cross unique to the Catholic religion?" The other thing that pointed to "Catholic" was the kneelers, which were all currently in the upright position, but available nonetheless.
Still not totally convinced, I checked out the altar for "Jesus' little house" that's often up there in Catholic churches—you know, the one that often has the little drape pulled across it for a door, and from which the chalice and host plate is sometimes withdrawn; that is, when they're not being "brought forward as gifts" during the mass. But I digress...
The picture above is not of the church; it's only included to illustrate a tabernacle, which this church didn't have.
The minister/priest/preacher/clergy [please choose one] seemed like a nice, not-too-serious kind of guy, and interjected comments like this whenever their eyes drifted toward him, "Face each other, you're marrying each other." And later this, "Here's the part you've been waiting for: I now pronounce you husband and wife; you may kiss the bride."
After a series of x^n permutations of family and wedding party in pictures, and a photographer making it very clear that he didn't want others taking pictures behind him, everyone in attendance stood behind the bride and groom down the center aisle of the church. The photographer walked up into the choir loft where he elicited our collective grin by invoking the generic category of dairy that includes Swiss, cheddar, Mozzarella and Provolone.
We got to Brasa, a Brasilian steakhouse in Brier Creek to which I'd never even heard of, much less been to. We arrived at about 4:00, and the reception was scheduled for 5:00, so we proceeded to drink in the bar area as the wedding guests made there way there from the chapel over the course of the next hour. Just before I ordered my third drink, the groom's father announced that he was picking up the bar tab for the group. Sweet!
Robert and I eventually made our way over to Sherry, where a long night of conversation and fun ensued. We ended up sitting together when we moved into the private room for the reception. Robert sat at one end of the long, long table. I took a seat to his right, and Sherry to the right of me. Josh's mother and her husband sat to Robert's left, so across from Sherry and me. It was a fun little quintet.
After reaching down to set her purse on the floor by her seat, Sherry came back up with an "Owww," and a prick in her finger with a little drop of blood on it. Checking it out, we noted that the edging along the leaf of the table that she was in front of had come off, and about 6 or 7 little headless nails were exposed, upon one of which she had pricked her finger.
"I'm in risk management," she declared as she went to get a manager. To the restaurant's credit, they took it all very seriously, apologizing profusely, and thinking at first that they'd just cover up the nails, but eventually removing the entire leaf and replacing it with a proper one instead. Not long after that fuss died down, a waiter came behind us, bumped into something, or tripped somehow, and promptly spilled red wine down the back of Sherry's green suit jacket, with a little on the left side of her skirt.
Ms. Risk Management retired to the ladies toute de suite room to apply club soda to her outfit, and when she returned the manager came over asking what he could do—if he could send her outfit out to be cleaned. "I'm from Illinois," she said. "How 'bout I get your card, have it cleaned when I get home, and send you the bill?"
Off he went to get his card, while Sherry told us a funny story about buying said outfit at Macy's, on sale, and then applying a coupon bringing the price down even further. Then, she saw the same outfit at Carson's, where it was cheaper, I believe, and she somehow ended up with one piece from Macy's and the other piece from Carson's, at which point Robert referred to it as her Carson-Macy's outfit.
After being egged on by her sister, Sherry shared her "HRR Story." I'd never heard of an HRR, so in case you haven't either this is what it is:
I'm not going to regurgitate the whole story—which was hilarious and included a side story about La Quinta hotel suites, elevators, ice machines, single ladies (or more accurately, rather, ladies traveling alone) and feather pillow allergies—but let's just say that I learned that you can keep HRR windshield wipers going by hanging your purse on its On/Off lever, and that ultimately if you want to keep them on, you push the lever up.
The reception was very, very nice. The food was absolutely killer—including unlimited meat, toasts were made, kisses were demanded via clanging glasses, and the bride's uncle played three fantastic pieces on his violin. While he was playing I thought about how our "melting pot"—that America is—is more and more diluting family heritage-type sharing of generational legacies.
Overall, it was a fun, fun time, and we were so thankful to Yelena and Josh for having been included in the festivities!
Getting home, we got comfortable and worked on a challenging Indy crossword puzzle, and got it all the way down to missing one letter, so that it looked like this:
Clue for across one was: "Silent" president. Clue for down one was: Mighty ____ a rose.