Friday, September 25, 2009

The Social Event of the Year!

Why any of you read this stuff is beyond me but since I wanted to get some of my thoughts about Jeremy and Cassie’s wedding down on paper (or a Word document anyway) here are some of my favorite memories of the last week:

Wednesday, September 16th:

We played golf at Eagle Crest on Wednesday morning. Jake and Jerm extended their reputation as the two best trash talkers I know. Here are a few samplings (i.e. ones I could mention without fear of a final warning from HR!):

* Jake: Good gravy and biscuits!
* Jeff: One inch at a time. Jake: That should be your motto, Dad
* Peter: First to 100! I win $5! Drinks are on me suckas!
* Groundskeeper: is that kid in the red shirt a beginner? Jake: No, that's my Dad. He's been playing for years!

While we were playing golf, the bridesmaids went for a pedicure / manicure thing. We caught up with them at the fingernail / toenail styling salon place thingy. I do not understand what this is all about.

While there, we loaded some stuff into the back of Cassie’s SUV – which already had a keg of beer in it. When Jake started to close the rear hatch window, I quietly said, “Hey Jake, keep an eye on the keg.” I almost didn’t ‘cuz I thought he doesn’t need his old man nagging him. Turns out that in this case, he did. A rear window hitting a beer keg actually makes a pretty cool sound. On the other hand, the glass is a pain in the rear to clean up!

From there we went downtown to get something to have lunch. It was nice to hang out with others in the wedding party and get to know them a bit better. It was also when it first hit me how old I was compared to everyone else!

That evening Cassie’s parents hosted a great BBQ for the members of the wedding party and family. The keg of beer from the back of Cassie’s SUV was forgiven for busting out the rear window by providing some decent Deschutes Beer for the evening.

Thursday, September 17th:

In the morning we picked up our tuxes. Remember The Penguin on Batman? That’s pretty much me in a tux.

In the afternoon we decorated the church. I spent most of the time washing rocks and spraying them with Pam to make them shiny. Yup. They entrusted me with rock washing! When Elizabeth showed up, she apparently heard God telling her to take charge and became the de facto wedding coordinator. Although I’m not sure she made any new friends, she did help get things wrapped up and done for the day. (Let’s see now . . . is she more like her mother or more like her father? Hmmm . . .)

Toward the end of the afternoon I sent a text message to Jeremy (who was at his house getting some stuff done with Cassie) asking: “Are you at your house and, if so, is it okay if I come over to take a nap and change?” When I didn’t get an answer I checked my phone and realized it was BECAUSE I HAD SENT IT TO JENNY LEAVITT BY MISTAKE! Imagine her horror at getting a message from me asking if I could come over to take a nap and change! Sheesh! I am such a dork! BUT Jenny took it all in stride and responded with, “Well I should let my daughter know you’re coming over, I guess.”) I expect a call from her attorney any day.

Around 5:00 PM we had the wedding rehearsal. One couple walks down the aisle. The next couple has to wait until the first couple gets halfway down and then they start walking – arm in arm. And when you get to the front you split off and everyone goes to their corner. The whole thing is soooo complicated. Thankfully we did it twice, otherwise I may never have been able to master the skill involved! Walking out at the end is pretty much the same thing, except in our case it involved skipping out to some cute song from the Juno soundtrack. Except I didn’t skip. ‘Cuz I’m a penguin, right? We waddle.

Then, the moment I have been waiting for! We headed to the Deschutes Brewery Mountain Room for the rehearsal dinner! Beer, prime rib and salmon! What more could you ask for? Well, how about a GREAT view of the mountains. And beer. (Did I mention that already?)

When it came to the toast I kinda took a few liberties. First, it was more of a story time than a toast. I wanted everyone to know why I think Jerm is such a great guy and why I think he and Cassie are such a good fit. I also didn’t wanna be so sentimental that people would feel obligated to cry, so I interspersed some serious stuff in amongst the ridiculous stuff. Unfortunately, that strategy didn’t quite work. Some people cried anyway. Rather than give you the whole speech, here are some highlights:

* If we had followed the Ron Howard rule for naming our kids, Jeremy would have been: Jeremiah McKillop Milliron. (And if you want to know the rest of that story, you’ll have to ask.)
* We didn’t, so, in the end, he was named, Jeremiah Peter Milliron because Nancy said she had always liked the name “Peter.” (There is some reason to think she became a bit disillusioned with this name in later years.)
* Jeremy was born on November 25, 1986 and came home on Thanksgiving Day. My mother-in-law (the world’s greatest, by the way) got everything ready while I went to the hospital to pick up Mom and the new kid. We got home, put him in the bassinette and sat down to a great Thanksgiving dinner that couldn’t be beat.
* In 1st grade Jeremy’s teacher told us that he was very quiet in class and that she could hardly ever get him to talk. I was certain she was confused.
* In grade school Jeremy always sought out the kids no one else wanted to play with. No big thing, he said he just played with them ‘cuz they were cool.
* I accidentally left out one story at this point. The one about how we got Jeremy to eat asparagus by telling him it would do something magical when he peed later.
* When Jeremy was 15, he and I spent Thanksgiving in Mexico City pouring concrete floors for different families with a group from Northwest Medical teams. Jeremy also spent a lot of time playing basketball with a group of kids we came to call the “Rat Tail Boys” because of the long braided string of hair down their backs. Once we destroyed the basketball hoop we went to the biggest Wal-Mart store I have ever seen to pick up and install a new one.
* Jeremy’s first love (until Cassie, anyway) has always been basketball. That’s where he got to know a couple of his groomsmen – Pat and Simon. Pat is dang funny but he’s also a sensitive and caring guy. Simon is someone Jeremy says had a bigger influence on him in high school than anyone else. Both are GREAT guys!
* Jeremy’s Best Man is his brother, Jake. They have always been very close. So close in fact that, when they were young they slept in the same bed together most nights. Even when we told them they couldn’t. One morning we woke to find them holding hands! (And took a picture of them so we could blackmail them into eternity!) When Jeremy turned 16 or so, we asked them to stop ‘cuz it was kinda getting creepy.
* Soon after I first met Cassie I thought, “She is just what Jeremy needs.” She not only taught him how to dress (sweatpants are NOT for very occasion!) but they also developed a respectful and caring way of talking with each other, even when they disagree.

After my life history of Jeremy, Cassie’s Dad, Jeff, made a toast. In it he said that when he first saw Jeremy coaching his basketball team he knew he would be a good strong husband for Cassie. As a Dad that made me feel pretty dang proud. For Jeremy it was nice to hear that someone sees a connection between his character as a coach and his character as a husband.

After the toasts were done, we hung out on the deck, smoking cigars and shooting the breeze. For me it was a great time to talk with a number of Jeremy’s friends. It was a dang cool night, at a dang cool place with dang cool people.

Jake and I stayed with Jeremy on his last night of freedom. For me the high point of the whole week was standing in Jeremy’s bathroom and talking until 3:00 AM, just reminiscing about all that has gone on over the years leading up to this day.

When we finally went to bed, I slept on the couch and Jake and Jerm shared a bed. Just like old times! (They claim they did not hold hands.)

Friday, September 18th:

Wedding day! At 9:30 all the groomsmen met at the Bond Street Barber Shop for hot lather shaves. None of us have ever had a shave by a barber before and it was kinda cool. Jim, the owner of the Bond Street Barber Shop, is a great guy and was our barber from the time the boys were in elementary school. PLUS, this is the only barber shop I know of that serves a complimentary glass of beer or wine (and Bloody Mary’s on Saturday) to its patrons.

At Noon the entire wedding party got together to begin the painful process of taking wedding pictures. That meant changing into my tux, which, in turn, marked the beginning of my 12 hours of hell! I did it ‘cuz I love Jerm and Cassie, but nothing makes me feel more claustrophobic than having to dress up! However, I did continue my tradition of not wearing socks at my kids wedding. (I have no idea why I ever thought this was a good idea.)

A cool thing Jerm and Cassie did was to arrange for a limo to take us around to various venues for the pictures. It was a fun way to get around and made things a bit easier. Not to mention there was champagne and Jack Daniels to help ease things as well.

We got lucky and finished with pictures with over an hour to spare. We decided the best thing to do was to go for sushi! It was great to be able to sit around the conveyor belt and relax for a while before the wedding began.

After sushi, there were some family wedding pictures to be taken. While the family members met at a home with one of the best looking back yards in Bend, the rest of the wedding party went on a special mission. Jeremy had asked a couple of guys on his basketball team to be ushers for the wedding. So, Jerm and Cassie sent the limo over to pick them up – along with all the bridesmaids! Imagine how cool it would be for a high school kid to have a limo pull up to their front door, have a bunch of hot older women jump out and escort you to the car. Yep. Pretty dang sweet!

We were at the church about an hour before the wedding. The bridal party was sequestered in a room (where I promptly took a nap) until the ceremony began. The wedding began promptly at 6:00 PM and lasted for about 15 minutes. For me, that was just about the perfect length of time. Get in and git ‘r done!

The high point of the wedding was when the pastor paused for what seemed like an eternity, before telling Jerm that he could “now kiss the bride.” He paused long enough that I heard Jerm whisper, “Hurry up!”

After the “Let me introduce, for the first time, Jeremy and Cassie Milliron,” that cute song from the movie Juno (that I can never remember the name of) started playing. As each bridesmaid / groomsmen exited they kinda danced / skipped down the aisle. With the exception of the father of the groom who was too dang self conscious to do any skipping and risk tripping.

We exited the church and got directly into the limo to ride over to the Bend Senior Center for the reception. I know what you’re thinking: “The Bend Senior Center? Could you have picked a less cool place?” Well, actually, the Bend Senior Center is pretty dang cool for an event like this. Plenty of room, nice facility, good places to hang out inside and out. It was a great choice for a reception

When the wedding party was introduced we entered to the music of some Backstreet Boys song that I cannot remember the name of. That meant we kinda had to dance into the hall. This time I pretended to dance but stayed at the back of the pack so no one could see me. ‘Cuz I’m just that cool.

There’s lots I could say about the reception but most of it was just a blur. Here are the things I remember most, however:

* I got to talk to a lot of folks but not nearly everyone I wanted to. Yeesh!
* I swear I filled my plate a couple of times but never really got to eat. And the food was GREAT too!
* The beer (home brewed by a friend of Jake and Jerm’s) was great! Especially the rye porter!
* My “cigar/whiskey bar” was popular, even though it didn’t get started until later in the evening. And my brother managed to avoid the temptation of smoking a cigar, thereby avoiding excommunication from the LDS church.
* And yes, there was dancing. And yes, I danced. And yes, I was horribly self conscious about my lack of dancing skills. However, it was pretty dang fun (once I got past my paranoia) and, more importantly, no one lost an eye.
* I avoided most of the clean-up by talking with a ton of folks after the reception ended. It was great to hear so many people say such nice things about Jeremy and Cassie. Makes an old man feel pretty dang proud.

There’s more I could tell but I’ve droned on waaaay to long already. It was very cool to be part of the wedding party – not something every parent gets a chance to do. It felt like I got an insider’s view on the whole thing. I feel very honored that Jerm asked me to be a groomsman.

Lastly, in spite of my frequent references to alcohol and other vices, I think I was sober at all times. I talk big but, in the end, I can nurse a beer for hours! There were no arrests (that I’m aware of) and, as I suspected, Cassie, Jerm and Cassie’s parents made sure it was a fun but dignified event.

Now if I could just remember where I put my socks . . .

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