"Everybody Wang Chung Tonight... Everybody Go Greek Tonight"
After Nick & DeLisa were finally hitched, we drifted over to the reception, which was right across the parking lot... Jason Foley, husband to bridesmaid Lesley, and I rushed over to prevent what had happened the night before at the wedding rehearsal dinner--that being, the group didn't get to sit together because some were late getting to The Pillars.
So we snagged a table in the reserved section, which DeLisa had several tables reserved for the bridal party and guests. The tables had 8 seats there... we needed one for myself and Steph, Jason & Lesley, Mike and his date Daphne, Suzie and her husband Mike (the other one), and Ken that was in the wedding. For you math students out there, that's 9... so I quickly reached back and snatched a seat from the table behind us, while Ken grabbed the silverware and glasses and setting. Then we both quickly tried to fill in the gap left by the seat, using the other chairs and tables. It didn't work... we were amused when other people walked up, looking confused as they tried to figure out why there were only 7 chairs and settings there, and why such a space existed between two seats.
It was an open bar, so the beer and wine and mixed drinks started flowing quickly for everyone. I, not drinking, was eyeing the buffet table... they had already set out a huge bowl of chilled shrimp, and I was looking ever so forward to taking it on... I told Jason and Ken that I might not even make it past that point at the table. When Brooke Belcher and Todd Velaber married a few years back, they had a similar set up with the shrimp... at one point in the evening, late in the reception, I took to just standing there and eating out of the bowl. I feel no shame.
The bridal party was announced, as the girls came in, and with the addition of Mike, we all crowded around the table... with this group and Steph, this would be the equivelant of Michael & Ashley Nipp, Tom & Jill Johnson, Wookiee & Gina, Myself and Steph and Shawn all eating together... the jokes flew, the laughter came heavy and it was an all around good time.
A toast was made by someone in Nick's family, and a few people got up to give their wishes, and finally, The Impressive Clergyman gave the blessing over the meal. And we ate. I dug in on the shrimp and greek salad and fish and green beans and potatoes and baked chicken and corn nuggets (better than you think) and crab claws, which I ate a ton of. Aunt Tessia had made desserts for each table ("You don't et no meht? Iss okay... I make lamb") and of course, a chocolate grooms cake and a pearly white bridal cake. And the open bar--which I drank about nine Cokes that night. I'm talking, I was chuggin' 'em, baby.
The Greek music started, and Nick began to lead a small line of people, including DeLisa, in The Circle Dance. Whoever is leading holds a cloth napkin in their left hand, and on the other end is the next person. That person is joined hands with the next, who is holding hands with the next and so on. Its like the leader, Nick, is pulling the train of people with that napkin. Its a dance where you take about four steps, you stop, you do this four step little dance (like, right foot forward, left foot forward, right foot back, left foot cross) and then you go and the whole line moves forward about four steps.
Slowly, more and more people grabbed the next person in line, so the train got longer and longer. Steph and I joined in, and we were trying to learn it... Steph just didn't get it, and though I finally figured it out, my problem was that there were good Greek dancers at the front of the line, and good Greek dancers at the end of the line, but me being in the middle, having Steph on one side and a five year old girl on the other, kept me from doing the dance... I would stop, begin to do the dance and then the line would move again. At one point my arms were totally outstretched, at another point I had both Steph and this little girl right up on me. Finally, though, I was able to do it properly... so now I can add "Danced in Greek wedding reception" to "My List of Unusual Experiences" (a list that I proudly say also includes "Ran up Rocky steps in Philadelphia", "Saw 'A Few Good Men' Performed Onstage", "Was in Olympic bombing" and "Seen George Lucas in person.")
Another fun little tidbit is that guests throw money at the bride and groom as they pass by. Usually, its $1 bills, though I'm sure there was more. It was funny to watch the money fly through the air, then the little kids run around picking it up.
A black dude jumped on the stereo, him being the actual DJ, so we got some dancing music going finally. It made me think of when Truvy Jones and Clairee Belcher are at Shelby's wedding , and they observe a the mayor's new wife dancing... Clairee says, "It looks like two pigs fighting under a blanket", and Truvy responds, "I'll bet she spent a fortune on that dress and didn't even bother to wear a girdle."
And, in what I think is the ultimate inside joke among all DJs, especially ones with soul, he played "Electric Boogie". Yes, the immortal Marcia Griffiths 1990 classic that says "It's electric (boogie woogie woogie)"... I truly think that in the brotherhood of DJs, this song is played just to get a laugh out of all the white people trying to dance in rhythm... and there was a lot of white people dancing to this. Especially one guy trying to look cool--you know the type, five o'clock shadow, just a little heavier than he should be for the shirt he's wearing, plus his shirt is untucked from his jeans, even though he's wearing a tie... and my man was getting with it too. I watched him, expecting Cops to roll up and take him down, a la Bucky from American Idol. I think this guy might have whizzed in the bushes... wouldn't have shocked me.
There are, like, two single women in the whole place, and one was Melissa, one of the bridesmaids. Somehow, Steph found out she was 35, but she was totally h--er, I mean, she was attractive. Ken noticed too, and spent several minutes getting his groove on.
The call came out for all the guys in the room to gather on their knees in a big circle, which we did. Someone let us into a rhythmic clap, and Nick was in the middle, and was supposed to do some sort of Greek dance, though he admitted in the circle he had no idea what he was doing. Never fear, another Greek man went into the circle, and began to do this slow step dance that was really cool. Nick stepped back into the circle of guys who were squatted on their knees (three minutes in and my knees were killing me--that floor is no place for a padless kneecap) while others took turns in the circle. Someone got on his knees in the middle of the circle, while another guy danced around him, threw his leg over that guy in the middle and kept dancing. Then someone set a cup of wine down in the floor and danced around it, while another guy came in, picked up that same cup using only his mouth, then, while dancing, began to drink the wine. It dribbled down his chin a little, but was cool nonetheless. I finally stood up, because my knees were aching.
We got our pictures and such, continued to drink and eat and dance and have a good time--I was sweatin' hot, though, I'll be honest. The Greek dancing continued, and more money flew in the air, and I asked Suzie "I wonder if they are using the same dollars over and over?" and she said , "No... look over there..." pointing to the table where Nick & DeLisa had been sitting.... there was a huge pile of cash on the table, just dumped there. Looks like hundreds of bills or more. I told Steph we missed a huge payday on our wedding...
Apparently, DeLisa didn't have a garter, or she left hers at home. Before the wedding, Lesley and Steph fashioned one with some fuzzy trim from a purse or something, weighing it down with safety pins. This is what Nick tossed into the crowd of guys.
When Steph had said be prepared to be at the reception until around 11pm, when the wedding was from 5 to 6, I was thinking "five hours? five hours?? how?"... but lo and behold, it was around 1015pm when we finally started getting our stuff together to go.
We walked out, and made a procession where we tossed little candy flower thingies to the bride and groom as they ran to their vehicle (they had two there--one to drive away in, and one to load up with gifts and drive to Birmingham, which I'll explain in a minute). The vehicle wasn't decorated very well, mostly because there wasn't time to get supplies and do much to it--mostly some toilet paper and shaving cream. They sped away, amidst the crown whooping and hollering, and like most newlyweds, they came back a few minutes later (we did it at our wedding, just to change and leave for the airport, I think they came back because DeLisa forgot something)
The newlyweds had actually planned to go back to Birmingham the next day, then fly out to... The Virgin Islands, I think, for their honeymoon, so people were putting the wedding presents in their Jeep. DeLisa had asked Stephanie if we could bring some of the gifts back with us, because there wouldn't be enough room in the Jeep to take them all. So, I walk out, and see a couple of guys loading... well, cramming... gifts into the Jeep, to the point where you can't see out of any side or back windows... that leads to this exchange.
Me: Hey... my wife and I are going back to Birmingham, so we can take some of these with us
Mensa Student #1: Oh, no, Nick and DeLisa are going back, and we have to put them all in this car
Me: Yes, I know that... DeLisa asked us to take some back with us because they won't all fit in their vehicle
Mensa Student #2: No, but see, they are driving back and they have to take their gifts with them
Me (speaking slowly): My wife Stephanie and DeLisa are best friends... she asked us to take some of these with us to our apartment, in Birmingham, where she and Nick can get them later
Mensa Student #1: But all thes gifts are going back with them to Birmingham
I rolled my eyes. Not my problem. Stephanie came out, and asked why we didn't have gifts in our car... I told her of the the brilliant conversation I just had, leading Steph to roll her eyes. DeLisa showed up, looked at the Jeep and said "We can't see anything to drive it!" Nick came out, and Stephanie said "Would you still like us to take some gifts with us?", to which DeLisa said "YES!" Stephanie and I told them both how we tried to get some to begin with, but were shafted, to which Nick just rolled his eyes. Anyway, we loaded up the car with about a dozen boxes and bags, enough to give some visibility to the back windows, and finally, Nick and DeLisa Pournaras took off.
Stephanie said her goodbyes to Ken, Mike & Suzie and Jason & Lesley (the other Mike and Daphne had already left), and we headed back to the Fairfield Inn.
The Next Morning
To finish, we awoke the next morning, again around 9ish or so. The Fairfield Inn check out is not until noon, which is nice--most places want you out by 10am, so that two hours was great. We had the continental breakfast again, then loaded up the car. We took a tour of Mobile, with Stephanie showing me Baker High, her alma mater, and the old home that the Campbell Family resided in when she lived in Mobile (Steph says she still doesn't think they've painted the shutters).
Back to Birmingham we went, stopping at Steak-n-Shake for dinner... a little tip: if you and your other want a milkshake, yet don't want the whole thing, but don't want to pay $2.59 each for two kids shakes, do this.... ask for one shake ($3.19), and ask that it be put into two separate cups. One regular shake is enough to fill up two kids sizes, so you pay only $3.19, not $5.18 for two, and you get just enough. We ended up deciding on the turtle carmel nut (though I really wanted the cookie dough). Mine kinda stunk though, because I kept getting hot fudge stuck in the straw, and couldn't get to my shake.
Such is life.