September 07, 2004

Friday, August 27th

My initial plan to be done with everything by Thursday evening didn't work out, and I woke up on Friday morning - at 6:30 - determined to get as much done as possible before the first guests arrived later that afternoon.

And I almost succeeded.

By the time my great aunt, great uncle, aunt, uncle, cousin and sister arrived, it is true that L's father had delivered the gift boxes and then later helped us place one in each of the rooms at camp. It is also true that we had put signs on each of the rooms so that the people staying at camp would know where to go when they got there. I even made a welcome sign to put up with a map at the entrance of camp so that people wouldn't be confused when they arrived. Too bad that when L put the sign up that basically said "Welcome, please meet us in the Dining Hall (Bldg. #3 on the map)," she forgot to hang up the map along with it. One call one our walkie talkies, and she quickly took care of this.

Ah, the walkie talkies. Originally intended as a fun gift for our friends and family directly involved with the wedding (groomsmen, rabbis, etc.), they came in so handy that I don't know how we could have survived the weekend without them. L and I had attended a wedding at a resort in Puerto Rico last year at which walkie talkies were given to the wedding party. Thinking our friends would have a blast with them, we decided to steal the idea. Because camp is spread out over a large area, the walkie talkies were a great way to track down missing people...and items.

Missing item numbers one and two: my tie and suspenders. As I unloaded my stuff into a room at camp - L stayed at her parents', we decided to sleep apart the final two nights - I realized that I had my tux, my shirt and my shoes, but not the other two important parts of my wedding wardrobe. Losing the suspenders wouldn't have been a huge deal - with all I had been eating over the past week I probably wouldn't have needed them anyway - but the missing tie was a problem. I had bought a blue silk tie to match the colors worn by L's bridesmaids and picking the right shade had taken me a ridiculous amount of time at Thomas Pink.

I tore apart my bag, checking and doublechecking every pocket, and then put the call out on the walkie talkies: "Code Red. Repeat. We have a code red. My tie and suspenders are missing. Repeat. Tie and suspenders missing. Over." A call was placed to L's brother-in-law who was on his way to camp soon. Perhaps the lost items had fallen out of my bag during my weekend in Milwaukee. I remembered putting them in my bag before I came to camp, however, and suddenly imagined my brand new tie wet and dirty in a gutter in front of L's sister's home.

It was about 3 pm. Four in New York City. I thought about a worst case scenario in which I'd have to call the store in New York and have them FedEx me a new tie. Was there a Thomas Pink store in Chicago? If so, that would give me an extra hour to scour camp.

Luckily, a few minutes before 4 PM Central, L's sister radioed. She had found my tie and suspenders. They where in the one place I forgot to look: in a drawer in the guest room in L's parents' house where I had put them when I arrived at camp. I took this all as a good sign: hopefully misplacing key elements of my monkey suit would be the worst thing to happen all weekend.

Tie in hand, suspenders found, I declared my work time over. It was 4:30 PM. From here on out, I decided, would only be fun. I did have a few more jobs - driving a golf cart back and forth to some of the camp buildings to help people with their luggage, but I was done.

More guests arrived at camp. My grandmother, her boyfriend, some good friends from DC, some good friends from New York, more of L's family. After helping people with their luggage, I retreated to my room for a shower and a few minutes alone.

Friday night dinner was pure camp. And not in the bad movie, Showgirls kind of way, but in the actual summer camp kind of way. We ate chicken, potatoes and vegetables served on camp plates in a small section of the dining hall. Lemonade rounded out the menu.

After dinner came the real deluge: our friends from Boston and New York arrive within minutes of each other. To me, it was one of the more surreal scenes of what would be an out-of-this-world weekend. Some of the most seemingly incongruous groups of people - my college buddies, L's cousins, my great aunt and uncle, my parents' friends - all hung out in a central camp building, socializing, snacking and having a good time.

After many people had gone to bed, many of the friends hung out in another camp building - away from the families with young babies - and stayed up laughing, talking, playing guitar and singing until about 2 am. The weekend was finally under way.

Posted by The Groom at September 7, 2004 11:44 AM

For future reference--The Marshall Field's Store on State Street (Chicago) has a large Thomas Pink section. Glad you didn't need them after all. :)

Posted by: ChgoRed at September 7, 2004 10:33 AM

Will we get to see some pictures? I have been told by my father-in-law that he has the duty to carry on his mother's tradtion (both Jewish) of starting to ask about grand babies. He started his "duty" durring his toast. Any queeries from in-laws about babies? Not to sounds like an in-law myself, but rather to find if this goes on in all Jewish families?! Sounds like a great start to a great weekend. Congrats to you and L, and best wishes for a wonderful future together!

Posted by: Heather at September 7, 2004 08:53 PM