Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Summer Issue- 2009

We've had three summer weddings here. One year a daughter and our son had their weddings, and another year, another daughter. Of course there was much joy, partying, visiting with family and friends.. For the daughters' weddings we hired a man with horses and a coach who gave guests and helpers rides around some fields and forests. Along with the joyfulness of the ceremonies and parties we experienced some hitches and difficulties.

One important family member from the States told us that she was coming for the week before the wedding. Thinking of the complications about to arise, I strongly suggested she stay for the week afterward! She thought about this for about 20 seconds, before saying that, no she would come the week beforehand! I mentally tore my hair, wondering how to manage. I made arrangements to rent a bus for a week. We planned the itinerary – picking up guests in Prague and delivering them to local hotels, supper and music at a vinarna, a visit to Cesky Budejovice and Krumlov, a trip to the glass factory with lunch following, a visit to Orlik with an evening barbecue on their restaurant patio, another evening grilling lamb on a sheep farm. Some stateside guests rented cars, but most relied on our bus.

Many people were very helpful. The bride's roommate arrived mid-afternoon while our youngest daughter was agonizing over the wedding cake assembly. Instead of going to play Pitch with the university friends, the roommate stayed, talking the very nervous cook and decorator through the process.. A nearby organic farm gave us fresh roses for the cake decorations.

A few people acted as saboteurs. A couple people insisted on inviting guests for coffee, on one of the remaining weekends I had to work on writing and sending faxes. Also, after several months, the caterers hadn't gotten back to us. I sent a letter to them saying that we would have a number of important people who would expect good food: “several authors of books, a former ambassador, a signer of Charter 77, the daughter of a Czech senator [Not bothering to mention that this had been in the First Republic!], someone who had set-up a dinner for Havel when he was in the states”, and so on. I got a quick phone call: “Didn't you get our fax?” They quickly faxed their offer! However, I am certain they had not faxed earlier! Finally, while I was sending out a group of helpers to gather branches to arrange in two painted milk cans, someone else grabbed them, setting them to scrubbing the chapel door! This did no good. [A few years later it was painted.]

The bride's dress was remade from her great-grandmother's. Unfortunately a new set of bridesmaids' dresses had to be ordered! One bridesmaid was now pregnant! All the women staying here spent the morning decorating the chapel and tables on the Platz with flowers. I removed ORANGE flowers from the altar, replacing them with the pastels I'd wanted! I gave one woman who would read the intercessory prayers bits of papers to arrange for reading. Instead, she worked on flowers; during the service she had to shuffle those papers!

For our son's wedding the bride's family of course planned dress, flowers, reception. I went to the factory which makes material, buying a long roll of sturdy red cloth to run up the aisle of our chapel. Helpers fixed refreshments here for those invited to the ceremony, but not to the reception.

A nearby dressmaker fashioned the dress for our other daughter, washable silk and beautiful lace for sleeves, which we'd chosen in Vienna. She fainted at the final fitting, alarming the dressmaker who phoned us. We picked her up as planned and all was well.

The deacon from the nearby monastery brought a lovely bouquet. We asked if it was from the abbot. “No, they are from the archbishop.” !!! We finally unraveled that mystery. A cousin who had done some translations for him, sat next to him at a special mass on Vysehrad.. We could just imagine her saying to him, “I am going to a lovely zamek for a wedding in a lovely family in the Highlands!”

Standing on the platform with the deacon and his bride, the groom realized that he had left the rings upstairs in his room! Somehow he communicated this to a friend in the middle of the chapel who somehow where realized the rings were. She slipped out the side door, went to a dresser drawer, and brought back the rings, delivering them safely to the groom!

Both of our daughters' wedding receptions ended with a big thunderstorm. Guests flew around the Platz, bringing in food and dishes and taking down tents, before heading for shelter. The second caterer told me later it was if the kitchen were full of ants scurrying around!