Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho…It’s Off to Work We Go!

So having made it to Texas safely and having met the Byrne family, we all turned our focus now on preparing for the wedding. Of course, it wasn’t all work and no play. We did manage to squeeze in a dinner at an awesome restaurant out at Kemah where we merrily clinked knives to glasses so the couple would kiss.

“This is just not right,” bemoaned Papa Byrne. “They aren’t married yet.”

I don’t think anyone heard him or if they did, they didn’t let on because the clinking continued….as did the kissing. Afterward, we spilled out of the restaurant and took a walk along the boardwalk. Spying a merry-go-round, some in the group decided to get the lovebirds on it for a ride. Off they went, around and around, and someone called out, “A kiss, a kiss…..give your bride-to-be a kiss.”

Easier said than done when you are on a merry-go-round. It’s a wonder that any of my pictures were in focus that night because I was laughing so hard as I watched Jason lean in for a kiss that turned into quite a gyration as he found his animal moving up and Laura’s steed moving down or vice versa. Even funnier was that they had both been required to put little seatbelts on so twisting and turning wasn’t even helping much.

We also had time to eat at a great little Mongolian BBQ place where you got to put whatever you wanted to eat in a bowl and then you handed it to the chef who dumped it out onto a huge metal drum. Just a few swipes with his wooden stirrers and the meal was ready to be slid back into your bowl and delivered into your eager hands. Yum yum! With food like this, it was a wonder I could still fit into my mother-of-the-groom suit.
Meanwhile back at the reception site, Joyce, Laura’s mom, had us all working like a well-oiled machine. She had been working on the organization of the wedding and reception and had been gathering supplies for weeks. Faster than you could say “Almost Married”, she was quickly transforming the church’s gymnasium into a beautiful reception hall. We all rolled up our sleeves and lugged out banquet tables, set up chairs, found the tablecloths, ….but wait! Did I say “set up chairs?” Ah yes! We STARTED to set up chairs but then someone who is more obsessive-compulsive than me decided that all the chairs at a table should match so we began to scramble as we tried to sort the black upholstered chairs from the wine-colored upholstered chairs and then figure out what to do with the sand colored chairs. I could tell that Grandpa Byrne thought this was an exercise in futility and my muscles were inclined to agree with him but soon we had other problems to worry about.

The tablecloths had been folded up and stashed away until the tables were in place. We grabbed the first tablecloth and set it on the table and backed away to see how it looked. It looked wrinkled. Now I figured that once you got the candles on the table and the decorative greenery, let the cloths “rest” on the tables overnight, added 10 people with their place settings, and turned off the main lights, leaving everything in beautiful candlelight…..those wrinkles weren’t going to be very prominent. But Joyce thought we should iron the tablecloths. I could see her point. I mean, she had worked hard to find those tablecloths and they were lovely. So someone found an iron and then a place to plug it in, spread the tablecloth on the floor, and began to iron. Ten minutes later and only a few feet finished on the tablecloth, I could see we were going to have to bring our pajamas and spend the night if we kept this pace up. It was then that I had a brainstorm.

I’d been lusting over one of those nifty clothes steamers for several months. Santa hadn’t read my mind because one didn’t appear under our Christmas tree. This might be just the excuse I needed to strike while the iron was hot, so to speak. Certainly a steamer would be a lot faster than trying to iron so many tablecloths with one or two irons. Without hesitation, I volunteered to head off to the nearest store and purchase a steamer to speed things along. Whee! I was going to get a steamer after all. George and I headed off and found a beaut at a nearby Target and soon we were back at the church, unpacking that baby, filling it with water, and setting up a steaming post in a back room.

Once I got the hang of it, I started to crank those tablecloths out. Grandpa Byrne occasionally popped his head in the door to see if I had passed out from the heat but I was doing fine. Even though the windows in the room wouldn’t open and the steam was creating a sauna effect in that small enclosed space, I was having a blast. If there is one thing I don’t mind, it’s a little heat. Besides, maybe I could sweat off a pound or two before the wedding.

By the evening of that first big workday, we had the tables up, tablecloths on, and the candles on the tables.

The men had even finished the flowered arch that was going over the columns above the cake table. The next day would be a cooking day and then the big family dinner that night of Thai food, in lieu of a rehearsal dinner. My mouth was already watering.


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