Our problems began after their wedding. If the sky wasn’t clear and sizzling, I’d swear we had one of those black clouds parked over our heads.
…one hundred degrees is very hot for an old Dodge minivan.
…one hundred degrees is too hot for a wedding.
…one hundred degrees is just too hot.
The wedding was fine—in an air conditioned church. Red roses and white ribbons were draped cheerfully along the aisle. The bride’s sister played Ava Maria on the piano. My husband, Jack, was in Harry’s wedding party, so I watched it from the bench with my mother in law and brother in law. I was pleased to fit into my little black dress four months after giving birth to our second son. I had a break from changing diapers and nursing round the clock. I wondered if I was the only guest toting a breast pump in her bag, but I was happy to be there.
So the plan was: Jack rides in the limo with the wedding party, and I drive his mom and brother to the reception. Since I didn’t know Jersey, I’d have to follow the mother of the bride for the hour long drive. Someone should have warned me this mother of the bride was a NASCAR driver. She blasted off at eighty down the highway. Was she trying to lose us? Linda clung to the car door handle like we were at the top of Mount Thunder rollercoaster, and Tom’s eyes bulged as we whizzed by cars in the next lane. I cranked up the air conditioning to keep sweat to a minimum.
“What’s that weird sound?” Tom asked.
I lowered the radio. CLICK…CLICK…CLICK. “You mean that?” How could I explain the noise without causing panic? I smelled something much like a burnt pan. Not a comforting smell while driving. Smoke started to puff out from the hood. Now what?
Decision time: do I keep driving to follow crazy mother of the bride since I have no clue how to get to the reception and risk blowing up our van; or do I pull over on the Jersey highway? I had no choice but to pull off the exit. God answered our prayers and had us coast into a gas station, looking like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Mother of the bride kept going, probably forgot we were even following her. Linda and Tom didn’t handle problems well, so I had to get control. If Tom said: “What are we going to do?” one more time, I might have slapped him.
We didn’t own a cell phone back then so had to collect quarters, call Jack at the reception and interrupt the picture taking. Click, click went the phone. After ten minutes of tracking him down and wasting three dollars in quarters, we had a plan for him to get us. And I was about to burst with milk if I didn’t pump soon. Imagine two water balloons filled beyond capacity.
One hour after the reception started we arrived. The car was in the shop, so we’d have to stay at a hotel. I raced to the bathroom. As I finally pumped from within the privacy of a stall, I felt I had to explain the clicks and squeaks to other bathroom visitors. “Please excuse the strange noises. I have to pump milk.” I felt like a cow overdue for milking. I wished they’d all leave the room so I didn’t have to come out with my bottle of milk and rinse the pump in front of everyone. But I did.
The night ended as Tom and Linda walked to the bus station. They had to rush home for I don’t know what. But Jack and I decided to enjoy ourselves at the hotel and forget our problems until the morning.
Mr. Auto Mechanic was more than happy to fix our van’s clicks, burps, and gurgles for a “lowered price” as he called eight hundred dollars. This was by far the most expensive wedding we ever went to other than our own.
So…if you invite us to a Jersey wedding, we’re not going.
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