All Whimsy Were the Corcorans, Part 2
Here is part two of my blogging about my sister’s wedding in early July (really? I guess it was almost a month ago). And kudos to my mom, who caught the reference in the title. For those of you who are curious, check out “The Jabberwocky.” You won’t be disappointed.
Last time I talked about things just falling into place. Perhaps the biggest “gears clicking into place at the last minute” moment for me was with the speech. Since several people at the wedding said that they read my blog (thanks so much, I love hearing that!) and a few more asked for the blog address, I thought you might enjoy hearing the backstory for my toast. My aunt Patty recorded it (thanks, Patty!) so once I get the file from my uncle’s computer I will try posting it. Until then, here’s everything that led up to it:
I was so focused on making it through everything else I forgot I had to give a speech, so the weekend before the wedding I still didn’t have anything written. I had a general idea of what I wanted to say, and since my sister and I are very close (so close we shared a room until I was 17 and she was 15), I could have told a million stories, so coming up with material wasn’t the issue. Sometimes I can be indecisive, too (ha!), and figuring out the perfect thing to say was difficult. Do I say something funny but potentially embarrassing (and possibly, unintentionally hurtful)? Or do I go sentimental and have a hard time speaking without crying? Thankfully, as a writer, actually writing something didn’t give me anxiety. And as a writer who reads (as in gives readings), speaking in public didn’t trip me up either. In fact, I think both of these factors contributed to my procrastination.
One of the qualities that stuck out about my sister is her indecisiveness, as I’ve mentioned. I think planning a wedding tests every bride’s resolve, but for someone who has trouble choosing whether to go to a basketball game with her dad and sister or stay home and watch Garfield cartoons with her mother and brother, organizing everything involved with exchanging vows is like taking the SAT, ACT, and LSAT back-to-back*. I remembered that Libby had sent out one of those “get-to-know-me” emails several years ago (nine, as it turned out) that highlighted this aspect of her personality. I just had to find the email. Thankfully, mild pack-rat-ness is one of my characteristics**, so I was able to locate the email in my inbox and use it as the crux of my speech. I didn’t know how to start it or transition, but I had that at least.
“What are you thinking of saying in your speech?” my mom asked two nights before the wedding.
“I was thinking of starting with a quote,” I said, and then launched into the mawwiage soliloquy from The Princess Bride.
“Or maybe I won’t,” I said, reading my audience.
“Yeah, maybe not,” she said. Sometimes, as a writer, it pays to listen to your critics.
But I wanted to start with something funny, because I knew I would start crying otherwise. Thankfully, I got something from one of Libby’s new nieces later that night. Thursday night we took a trolley ride through downtown Winona (also unplanned by—and unbeknownst to—Libby). It was great, except for the air conditioning issues. Or maybe it was just the 100+ degree heat. During the ride, one of Libby’s now-nieces commented about how one of Libby’s friends looked like she could be Libby’s sister. No one in the history of our siblinghood has ever told Libby and me that we look like we could be sisters. In fact, Libby once flew (pre-9/11) under her friend’s sister’s name, and when she verbalized that she was worried about people stopping her for not looking like Jenna, my mom allayed her fears by saying, “Libby, you look more like Jenna than you look like Sarah and the two of you are sisters.” So there you go.
This was the eighth wedding in which I’ve been intimately involved and my third time giving a speech. Being a wedding veteran helped, though, in that I have a pre-packed “bridesmaid kit” that contains all of the essentials (deodorant, tissues, hairspray, bobbypins) and some things you wouldn’t think of that have come in handy (an empty spray bottle, clear nail polish, and Pepto Bismol tablets, to name a few). This time I stuck my speech (well, the email) in the bag, since I knew I would always have it with me. Unfortunately, I couldn’t have it with me during the ceremony, and as maid-of-honor, I had to sign the license as a witness, so I didn’t make it back up to the room to grab my stuff before heading to the reception.
As soon as I found my seat at the head table***, I whipped open the bag in order to get set up for my toast. All I had was the email, but I wanted to jot down some notes so I wouldn’t forget anything. Except the email wasn’t in there. I dug around, moving mints and compacts of face powder in various shades. Nope. Panicked, I asked one of the other bridesmaids if she had seen the piece of paper in the room where we changed, remembering that I had taken it out to show the bridesmaids while Libby was getting her picture taken. No, she hadn’t seen it. I ran and found my mom and asked if she had seen something while she was double checking the room. What was I missing? “My speech,” I said, trying not to say it too loudly and convey how worried I was. She suggested I ask the mother of one of the other guests, who had helped clear out the room. I couldn’t find her, so I ran back to my bag o’tricks (the actual one, not something figurative), and all but dumped everything out. There it was, stuck behind some blotting papers and a spare pair of nylons. Whew.
Sometimes things just work out. I will post the speech if I can get it from my uncle. Stay tuned for next week’s post about a pontoon!
*That was a very convoluted joke about testing, as in testing her resolve. Yeah, not my best.
**Don’t worry, you won’t find me on any upcoming episodes of Hoarders or Hoarding: Buried Alive or You’ve Got Way Too Much Stuff, You Little Hoarder You. Although my friend Lindsay would tell the story of when I ate some stale starlight mints in order to avoid throwing them away (which, I’m sad to say, is true), I have gotten much better. Just the other day I threw out some frosting that hadn’t expired but had gone bad, and I no longer have any issue disposing of papers from long ago (I promise I’ll get to that accordion file, Mom…)
***The name cards were made from bookmarks that said “This book belongs to: Soandso. Isn’t that clever? Major kudos to Matthew’s sister, who not only wrote out all of them but also made (and frosted) all of the cupcakes. They were both beautiful and delicious. Moira, you are amazing. So is your daughter.