Bruce and Mary are leaving for Boston where they will marry off their eldest, Sammy, to the lovely Annah, completing the wedding trifecta: Three kids married off in 9 months. Not much of a feat when you think of Seven Daughters, Seven Sons, but they are pretty tickled with it. Please join them on this trip.
The alarm goes off at 4:45am and we kick into gear as our favorite one-armed cabbie, Roberto, will be arriving shortly. He whisks us to the tiny, two gate, Merida International Airport (MID) and the next thing you know we’re in the air and on our way to Houston for the layover and then onto Boston’s Logan International which we find to be a much smaller airport than we expected but then there isn’t a lot of room right there, nearly on the harbor.
We claim our luggage and make our way to passenger pickup and after just a couple minutes we spot Sam in his two tone (mostly white with a rusty bullseye on the roof) Chevy Lumina making just his second round of the pickup loop.
â€œYou were right Sammy, pretty easy to spot.â€ â€œI didn’t think you’d have a problem, pops.â€ There is a heat wave in Boston right now, we can discern no difference from what we had just left in Merida. But it’s going to get warmer yet. Sammy says, â€œSorry guys but the a/c doesn’t work andâ€ Mary interrupts, â€œThat’s okay, Sammy were used to it.â€ Sammy finishes, â€œand my car has been overheating a little so I have to put the heat on to keep her cooled down, at least til weâ€™re out of the city.â€ I proudly pat him on the shoulder, â€œGlad you know that trick, Sammy.â€ as he maneuvers through rush hour Boston and finally out in the clear to Dover, NH, where Sammy and Annah live in a brand new house.
Annah greets us in the driveway of their Cape Cod home which is snuggled into a very quiet neighborhood and we haul our luggage in. Once again I am cursing our huge unwieldy new blue bag. Because it is such a monster we always over pack it. At check-in, while the Continental guy was processing our gate passes, I stood close to it and surreptitiously tugged up on a strap, successfully getting the weight down to 49# when he finally took a look. Anyhow, we haul our luggage upstairs and that’s when Sammy and I get into an argument. Because all they have is an air mattress in the spare bedroom he insists that we stay in the master. I end it by saying, â€œIt’s a helluva offer Sammy, but no way, no how, we ain’t taking your bedroom and I’ll tell you something else, when you two come to visit us, you ain’t getting our master either, so that’s it.â€ And you know what, that airbed is pretty damn comfortable the whole week plus that we sleep on it.
After chowing down some damn good vegan food (sorry cannot tell you what it was) we relax in their living room and Annah entertains us for a couple hours playing guitar and singing. We had heard that she was musical but we are enthralled, her voice reminds me of Mary Chapin Carpenter. Sammy digs out a ream of her sheet music and I start going through it making requests. It is great fun.
The next day is a big one, we’re meeting the Moynihans – for the very first time! Sammy drives us to the wealthy suburb (the Edina or St. Louis Park of Minneapolis) of Wellesley and to the Wellesley Country Club, one of those $40,000/yr joints and that doesn’t count the monthly maintenance fee that has the members scrambling to treat their extended family to brunch the last Sunday of every month. Annah’s mom Kathy works there which is why it is available to us and when Patrick, a very fit twin to the late Ted Kennedy, arrives at Kathy’s station with the advertised, â€œHow aaah ya?â€ we are off on the tour and it is impressive. We take Kathy’s car to the Henderson House, an old mansion maintained by Northeastern University. It is a lovely somewhat secluded massive stone block building with a staff and it is absolutely perfect with an outdoor venue that can easily handle this size wedding. Ironically Patrick had never heard of this facility but when he was sharing his ideas for wedding venues with a close friend. His buddy said, â€œWell how about the Henderson House?â€ â€œThe Henderson House, never heard of it.â€ â€œWell you are a Northeastern U alumni right? They own it and it’s available to alumni for whatever you want it for!â€
Then we’re off for a tour of Boston by car as we make our way by Fenway which you can spot from afar, by the famous Citgo sign, to
- Kelleys and Moynihans Next to “Big Dig” Testimonial Girder
the wharf where we stop for lunch at the Venezia restaurant. Then it’s to the heart of downtown for a walking tour, and who better to give us a tour of the heart of Boston than Patrick Moynihan, former Sec of Transportation and MTA head. We take a portion of the
Freedom Trail, seeing Paul Revere’s grave (lived into his 80s!), the Old South Meeting Hall, the South Church, Faneuil Hall, and many more historical sites too numerous to mention here. We cap it with our first, country bumpkins that we are, subway ride. We’re on our way to Fenway for a Bosox/Indians tilt. At the gate Patrick divvies up the tix and we and the kids are in the first deck, excellent seats about 20 rows up from the third base dugout. I look at the tix, $47. Patrick and Kathy are up on the third deck (not able to get six seats together) with the thought that we would move around as the game progressed. After the 4th inning they come down and there are some empty seats available by Sammy and Annah for them, so we can all sit together, but they tell us that we really should check out these upper deck seats, it’s really breezy and cool up there. We’ll I’m thinking I’m in these great first deck seats, why would I want to go up there but finally Mary convinces me to go as Patrick’s seat down here is somewhat obscured by a girder (this ball park is really well maintained, but some things that the new parks don’t tolerate, obstructing girders, are part of the character of these old masterpieces). We make our way up through security (?) to the â€œPavilionâ€ and wow. Our oversized seats are right on top of the action and we have our own beer vendor, food stand, and bathrooms just steps away and the section just in front of us has their own servers with portable credit card processors. It is baseball heaven at Fenway. I look at the tix, $87. And Patrick simply said it was cooler up here. After the Bosox 6-1 victory we head back on the subway and to the parking lot and then onto the Wellesley Club where Sammy’s car is parked, taking the scenic route along the Charles river. And it is Harvard everywhere, I had no idea the campus is so extensive, and I just love hearing Bostonians say â€œHaaavaaahdâ€.
Friday we have the kids all to ourselves and we start the day off with a tour of Dover and then to an old firetower on the edge of town. What a view! We can see the White mountains to the west and all around us is thick forest with only the downtown of Dover cut out of the greenery. Sam points to other nearby towns but they are concealed by the forest. We drive back into Dover and we start a walk, going by the huge brick (is every structure built of brick out here?) building, originally a mill, on the river when my new sandal blows out. All the straps, one by one, each step I take, pull away from the sole and I am crippled. So we abbreviate the walk to a short stroll into Kelley’s Row (think we’d miss that?!) and take up a table on the patio overlooking the river. We order up some mighty tasty microbrews and I get into story telling mode, boring the crap out of the kids but one story Sammy has not heard before (that’s rare) that he finds interesting is the story of how, when the kids were small, we financed a new $200 freezer purchased at Wedum’s Supply through Wedum’s Credit and
made monthly payments for a year. Funny from my generation to that of my folks, not a lot of changes, but from our generation to our kids, lots of changes.
We head across the street to a Chinese restaurant and I have sushi, Mackerel in this case, for the first time and I try some Sake, again for the first time. I am glad to have Sammy and Annah’s expertise in my ordering, they are quite familiar with this place as they have many vegan offerings. I find, as I expected that I love Sushi, the Sake â€“ not so much.
Back home, Sammy and I face off in chess. We’d been playing online where he has absolutely dominated me so I can tell that he has a lot of things on his mind when I beat him the first game but that was it for me. At least I got one out of what I hope becomes a regular home and home series.
Saturday is BBQ day with the Moynihans and Sammy, Annah and Mary are busy all day with the vegan components of the meal. Patrick, Kathy and sisters Sarah and Kerry arrive about 4. Patrick has a for-meat-only BBQ grille house gift that he just picked up at Wal-mart on the way here and we break it in with a few Bud Lights before we think about anything more strenuous.
Annahâ€™s sisters are a delight! Kerry is just back from Costa Rica and Sarah is just settling into a new place and job in DC. After hearing their stories, Patrick and I have to tell a few of our, â€œBack in my Dayâ€ stories, which seems to be the signal to pack it up and head on out because we are going to Portsmouth to see the play Peter Pan, which Annah’s brother John is producing. We find a place to park
in this very cool port city and make our way to the site, right on the water. We are shown to our tables designated â€œKenickieâ€. I find that John was quite acclaimed for playing that part in a prior play. John comes over and we are introduced and he is a little out of breath but he is one of those kids that you instantly like. He is happy to tell us that the â€œgoodâ€ Peter Pan is playing the part as two women trade off the Pan and Hook roles and John is right as this Pan is very good with the wire work. We sneak beers from a basket we brought in. I’m not much of a play guy but this is a lot of fun.
Sunday is golf and Porketta day at the Moynihans. We stop on the way to pick up the pork loin and then to Tuttles, the oldest family farm in America (sadly on the market) for cobs of corn and other assorted goodies and then on to the Moynihanâ€™s in the Boston suburb of Natick. We are greeted warmly and we have a few beers to prime our swings and then us guys head to the course right in Patrick and Kathyâ€™s back yard (well there’s a little copse of woods in between) and get to golfing. Mike, Pat’s best friend, a quiet, funny guy joins us and it is a hoot to hear him give Patrick crap and it works as lefty Sammy with his patented grass cutting line drives beats us both. We don’t even ask Mike his score as he is in a different league from us duffers.
Back at the house we have some beers on the deck as the women prepare the dining room for Mary’s Porketta the aroma of which is wafting around the house. This is a very impressive house without being at all ostentatious.
Dinner is a hoot as the girls love keeping their dad on his toes and Pat relishes every opportunity to defend himself. Kathy’s folks are there as well, Kaye and John. Kaye is one of the finest conversationalists (a lost art, in my mind) that I have ever met and she is thrilled that Annah is taking the surname Kelley as that is her maiden name, and it’s even spelled the right way, with two Es!
Monday through Wednesday are work days for us at Sammy and Annah’s although Annah is in Natick with her folks working on wedding stuff. Wednesday is also when everyone is coming in. But Sammy gets a call from Joey and storms have canceled his group’s (Joey, Meryah, Helen, and my Mom) early morning flight and it’s been rescheduled to early-evening. Then Sammy hears from our other son Anton (practically grew up with the Kelley kids) and his Mpls flight was also canceled but he was able to rebook and fly out early anyhow, and he tells of our friends Ike and son Karl who drove the 60 miles from our little home town of Princeton without doing the due diligence of checking flight status and are rewarded with nearly instantaneous re-booking on the same flight as Anton. Sammy is thoughtful enough to text Joey of this with Anton, Ike, and Karl now in the air and the Joey’s responding string of four lettered words is pretty impressive, to say the least. â€œI guess he didn’t really need to know that.â€ Sammy says.
Sammy picks up Anton at the bus depot in the early afternoon. They pick up long-time friend Pete later, and Annah arrives shortly after. We all go for dinner at a really cool place, Portsmouth Brewery in downtown Portsmouth, and I am talked into a â€œrackâ€ of beer, their 8 most popular microbrews in 3 oz or so glasses on a wooden rack with the name of each engraved on the rack. I like every one. The food is great as well but the company even better as we talk old times.
Back home we kill time on the deck watching the Twins on TV waiting for Joey and the gang to finally arrive. Last we heard they had been delayed another couple of hours and we don’t expect them until midnight or so. Sammy and Annah bustle about the house trying to find places for a total of 8 guests to sleep and do a remarkable job of it. Finally Joey, his wife Meryah, our daughter Helen, and my mom, Margaret arrive and we hear about their awful day of travel, courtesy TransAir, which adds insult to injury by losing all their luggage. We all toast TransAir, several times, and then off to our beds and couches.
Everyone is moving pretty slowly this Thursday morning but as soon as Annahâ€™s brother John shows up we start drinking beer. I am pretty sure it is past noon. It’s a laugh fest as the boys start doing lines from movies and plays. John and Anton with their stage experience are really hamming it up.
Well finally it is time for the boys to head out for the big stag party. Now if you’re wondering what a straight arrow, non-drinking vegan does for his stag party (thanks to best man Joey and John’s planning) it is this: Whiffle Ball, Dodge Ball, and Bowling. Oh my!
It’s Friday, tux, check into hotel, and groom’s dinner day, so we’re all off pretty early for our appointment at the Men’s Wearhouse just up the street from our hotel, the Crowne Plaza, which we find to be very nice (Kathy Moynihan did a heck of a job to get a group rate of only $89 per night!). We all got pre-measured in Minneapolis so the tux pickup goes pretty quickly and then Anton and Joey help Sammy get the first suit of his life. You see, the promotion was rent 6 tuxes and get the 7th free or a new $300 suit, so it was pretty much a no-brainer to opt for the suit, plus it is great fun watching Sammy taking suit-buying class 101.
Late afternoon, the bus that Sammy and Annah had arranged, is queued and loading and Helen hears via cell that my sis Cheryl is on her way to the hotel via the Logan Express so Mary gets the bus driver to hold the horses for a bit and soon enough there’s Cheryl and also Bonnie and Deb! Deb is Mary’s best friend and Bonnie is Anton’s mom and good friend as well. They quickly check in and the last of our group including Ike and Mary Fran and their two kids Karl and Anja board the bus.
When we learned that all three kids were getting married we did our calculations and figured out how much we could contribute to each and the reason that the groomâ€™s dinner is being graciously hosted by the Moynihans is because that was the only way to stay at Sammy’s budget, our gift. And the added bonus is that instead of a stuffy dinner at some restaurant with only the wedding party in attendance, the whole MN contingent is treated to this event.
We arrive and Patrick and Kathy are right at the curb to greet the whole MN group and Patrick, knowing me by now, shows me directly to the Samuel Adams keg. What a set-up! A huge canopy, catered food, nice sound system, and lots of Moynihans. I meet Kate, Patrickâ€™s sis who is a riot, there is no filter on her, and also his brothers Denny and Robert. But before we get too far into the night we all toast Patrick as it is, coincidentally, his birthday.
As the the sun sets John and his cousins get a bonfire going and someone puts on â€œIâ€™m Just a Gigoloâ€ which is the Moynihan family get-together theme song and everyone is singing at the top of their lungs. Then John and a couple cousins break out the guitars and bongos and play sing-a-longs throughout the
night, with Annah joining them after a bit. I am impressed that John knows every word of â€œAmerican Pieâ€. We know the clans have melded when we see Bonnie and Kate up dancing.
Saturday dawns to a perfect day for this outdoor wedding. Cheryl, Mom, Mary, and I amble over to the nearby shopping mall where Mary gets her hair done in a french bun, I think they call it, and it looks pretty sharp. Back at the hotel we see Joey and Caleb, Helen’s husband who had just gotten off the Logan Express (he was only able to get a couple of days off from work) outside the door of the hotel and I join them in a smoke. Mary and I split a Backwoods cigar. Then it is time to get ready for the big event!
Mary dons her pink custom-made dress (Alexei again) and with her new ‘do she looks great. I put on a tux for the first time in 40 yrs (prom) and we are off on the bus to the Henderson House.
We get our corsages and Kathy, world class wedding planner that she is, even thought to have corsages for the godparents. In Sammy’s case that is my brother Mark and his wife Connie. Pete and Josh (Sam and Josh go back to 2nd grade) usher in the guests and then Mary and I do our walk to the front of this courtyard which serves the Henderson House. The last up the aisle is Patrick giving away his eldest daughter Annah and I hear him whisper to Sammy, â€œYou take care of my Annah Kate.â€
The ceremony goes off without a hitch, the JP is very smooth and practiced. And, I didn’t
screw up the Unity candle part which I had never heard of before. When Annah had explained it to me (Mary was totally familiar with it) I think she thought I was some sort of pagan, being ignorant of this tradition, as this is a big part of her folks’ anniversary celebrations.
We do the receiving line thing and I am surprised at how large Sammy and Annah’s circle of friends is. We board the bus, the locals hop in their cars (Sammy is driving Patrick’s new Camry as he is not allowed to drive his Lumina to the wedding) and we are off to the Wellesley Event Center.
We enter the building and are shown to a foyer area where there are servers dressed up like right out of a movie bearing all sorts of
fancy hors dâ€™oeuvres. I see someone rushing towards me out of the corner of my eye, and it is Kathy, she wants to make darn sure that I am aware that there are lobster rolls. What a woman! I do find those and many other wonderful delights and of course the open bar. After a time we all move to the ballroom and we take our seats. The seating chart is done the way I like it, putting friends and family with their friends and family. Now it is speech time and Patrick, no stranger to crowds, tells of the phone call he got from his Annah Kate when she and Sammy were living in Boulder. He says, â€œI can’t wait to meet your young man, with a name like Kelley a good Irish
Catholic I am sure.â€ â€œNo dad, heâ€™s not Catholic.â€ â€œWell, thatâ€™s okay. Anyhow it will be fun to take you two out for a T-bone and chew the fat with your new beau.â€ â€œDad, what makes you think he eats meat?â€ â€œOh, ok, then we’ll get to know each other over a few Bud lights.â€ â€œDad, what makes you think he drinks?â€ At this point the house comes down. Then Patrick charmingly welcomes the Kelley clan into their family.
Now it’s best man Joey’s turn and he starts with, â€œYea sure, I have to follow Pat!â€ which gets a roar. And he gets a lot of laughs telling how his big brother’s favorite game when he was little was the â€œTrip Joeyâ€ game and then he reciprocates Patrick’s welcoming and it is a job well done.
We smokers hit the deck overlooking the golf course and I get out my Cohibas
and share them with John and several others and we admire the gorgeous evening.
The food comes and my salmon is delicious and that is the report I get on the prime rib as well. Mary had the vegan offering and enjoys it, I must be truthful and say that I have no idea what it was.
The music starts up and it is time for the father/bride dance and the only C/W tune allowed commences, it is â€œI loved Her Firstâ€ and every time they spin towards Sammy, Pat good naturedly points at him. Then it is time for the mother/groom dance and it is the Beatles â€œAll My Lovingâ€. It is Niagara Falls after the spring melt for Mary as that is the tune that we would always sing as a
lullaby to the kids when they were very little.
Then the married couple takes a spin and then everyone is on the floor. Everyone is dancing with everyone. Sammy is dancing with Pete, then with Anton, I think that is when he did his slide across the floor. Caleb keeps up with Sammy by doing the MJ coat flip off and on thing and as the night progresses it is getting harder and harder to tell that Sammy is the only sober man there.
The Wellesley Event center gives us the boot about midnight so most of the crowd heads to the Crowne Plaza and continues the party at the very nice bar there. I spend a lot of my time with the cool people smoking outside, the bar is very good about letting us take our drinks out. Old farts that we are, Mary and I hit the hay about 1:30 with the party still in high gear.
Sunday we actually sleep in til 10 or so. We head to the restaurant for the buffet brunch that Pat and Kathy are hosting for our families. We greet them and then Kathy sees some Kelley family friends and generously extends the invite to them as well. It is a fabulous buffet with, naturally, tons of seafood. I show great restraint in not hurting myself. Sammy and Annah are first and then one by one people are off, and finally we have the chance to thank Pat and Kathy for their incredible hospitality and generosity.
Monday is travel day for many of the MN contingent and Cherylâ€™s flight is about the same time as ours, so we are traveling together to the airport. Mid morning we hop the airport shuttle to the Logan Express and onto the airport. We are fortunate to have some quality time with Cheryl as her gate is adjacent to ours and her flight to MO leaves the same time ours does. We find an airport bar with, for an airport, amazingly cheap Bloody Mary and beers and I find myself telling Alexandria (our home for 29 years and where the kids grew up) stories. The time comes for us to board and with hugs we do so.
Our flight into Houston is routine as is the layover. We’re getting to know this airport pretty well. Our flight into Merida goes without a hitch and soon we are on the ground. Once again Mary is hassled about her insulin pump at customs but at least she wasn’t pawed by a security gal with dirty gloves like she was in Logan. We hang a left out the door to the taxi stand and 15 minutes later we are home. We throw all our gear into the bedroom, grab a couple beers and the Cohiba I had stashed and we sit on the promenade doing damage assessment til 2AM. What a trip!
Thanks for visiting gentle reader. Once again Bruce has subjected you to a very long post. If you made it this far, congratulations! And a friendly reminder that Bruce loves reader’s comments. To do so simply click on the title of this post and scroll down. Hasta pronto!
Thanks for visiting gentle reader. Once again Bruce has subjected you to a very long post. If you made it this far, congratulations! And a friendly reminder that Bruce loves reader’s comments. He hopes to hear from you soon. Hasta pronto!