The Wedding

My name is Ray, and I’m not on Facebook. It’s humbling to admit. Everyone I know is on Facebook. The barista, the old woman down the street on a walker. The skateboarder who zips by and waves while jumping the curb. Even my lawn guy who said, “No estas en Facebook, estas loco (you’re not on Facebook, you’re crazy).  Even Lady Lucy’s on Facebook.

My neighbors held an intervention. When that didn’t work they brought in an exorcist. When that failed, they asked a free-spirited couple to chant and channel light energy to me. Why do I bring this up? Keep reading.

It’s 2:15 p.m. The wedding begins a 4 p.m. I charged my iPhone. I ask Siri, “Get me directions to 320 Artist Drive. How difficult is that for Siri? Not very. She’s back in a jiffy, “Proceed to the route,” she said with a hint of sarcasm in her voice. Like she has to tell me to proceed to the route. If Siri doesn’t tell me, am I about to sit in the lot waiting for further instructions? Give me some credit, I made honor roll once in second grade, or was it fourth. No, it wasn’t fourth, I barely escaped.

I follow Siri to 320 Artist Drive. It can’t be right. I’m staring at a condo. The condo supposed to be a lodge that handles parties, weddings, wingdings, soiree’s, and the annual Facebook Anonymous Convention (FAC for short). I circle around the condos. No sign of a lodge. Lots of pickup trucks,  satellite dishes, pizza boxes sticking out of a dumpster. I caught a glimpse of a scrawny looking guy, arms like overcooked angel hair spaghetti, a bit of facial hair covering a receding chin, and a T-shirt with a peace sign that looks as old as Woodstock (if you remember that). I estimate his age anywhere from twenty-two to seventy-one. I roll my window down, “Excuse me, do you know how to get to Hyde Park Lodge?”  He tucks his right arm behind his back to hide something he was smoking. He says, “Lockman? No

He tucks his right arm behind his back to hide something he was smoking. He says, “That where they’re having the smoke in?”

“I don’t know about a smoke in, I’m going to a wedding.”

“Wedding man? Cool. Who are you marrying?”

“I’m not getting married, it’s …”

He interrupts me, “Does she know that? That’s bad karma dude.”

I change my strategy. “I’m looking for the lodge. Do you know how to get to the lodge?”

“Locks? Don’t worry about locks. Break in, take what you want, leave a nice note, you’re only borrowing.”

“No, a lodge,” I repeat.

 

“Hey man, don’t freak out. Everything’s cool. There’s a logging camp about thirty miles from here.”

“Thanks, man. Peace.”

“He scratches his head with his free hand, and says, “I’m searching for it, dude.”

Hw either promoted or demoted me from man to dude. I’m sure this isn’t the lodge. Although I see a stream of people going in and out of a first-floor condo and coming out with plastic to go baggies.

I check my iPhotos where I have a pic of the invitation. Maybe I got the address wrong. No, I got the address right. It’s being held at Hyde Park Lodge. I stop a man and woman, I ask them for directions. He’s talking at her. She’s talking at him. No one’s listening. It must be the U.S. Congress. I’m confused. They start arguing. “Jill, you’re thinking of the Hide Park Lodge.”

“No, Don. I’m thinking of the Hyde Park Ledge.”

“I interrupt. All I need is the direction to Hyde Park Lodge. Hyde with a Y.”to Hyde Park Lodge. Hyde with a Y.”

“Oh, Hyde with a Y Park Lodge,” they say in unison. They look at me as if I’ve lost my mind. In unison, “Sorry, can’t help you.”

I leave and head for the center of town. I park, go into the first tourist trap I find. “Can I help you?” says a guy who looks like he’s a retired CPA.

“Yes, how do I get to Hyde Park Lodge? There’s a Hyde Park up on the Hudson. Hell of a drive from here. Has a great sushi place. Used to go there all the time. I miss it. You like sushi? I just moved here from New York. Would you like to see some of our postcards?”

“Raincheck on the postcards, por favor. I’m going to a wedding. It starts in less than an hour. I have no clue where I’m going.”

He says, “You came to Sante Fe with no clue as to where you’re going? Martha, Martha, red alert.”

“It’s a metaphor for my life. No need for a red alert,” I answer.

He turns, “Downgrade it to an orange alert, Martha.”

His eye stops twitching. I buy two postcards and leave.

I’m a proud man, but I’m a desperate man. I have no choice. I call my daughters for help. It’s humiliating, humbling, I’m already generating a list of excuses. I call Pru, no answer. I call the bride’s sister, Monica, a granddaughter, no answer. I call Cathy, the bride’s mother, no answer. I know they’re at the Lodge. I’m feeling paranoid. I always thought I was the life of the party. I try Googling Hyde Park Lodge. All I get is the Hyde Park Ranger station. Close enough. I call and a Ranger answers. That’s good. It’s a recording, that’s bad. The recording tells me to call 911 if it’s an emergency. I consider the advice. I have thirty minutes and two postcards.

I start driving toward 320 Artist Drive again. Why? It’s a guy thing. If it doesn’t work the first ten times, it’s got to work the eleventh time. It’s written in the Real Man’s Guide to the Universe. I arrive again at 320 Artist Way. The condo is still standing. My toking friend waves. I wave back. He hollers, “I found it.”

I holler back, “Found what.”

He waves his joint, “Peace, man. Peace.”

I flash the peace sign and head up the road away from town towards the mountains. I call Angie, another daughter. She and her family pull off the road somewhere in Michigan. She tells me the address is wrong. It was changed on Facebook (now you understand). I ask for help finding the lodge. She asks me where I am. The answer is easy, 320 Artist way.

“I’m Googling. Which direction are you facing?” she asks.

“Straight ahead,” I answer.

She’s a professor. She’s good under pressure. “That’s good Dad. Where is the sun?”

“In the sky.”

“I’m getting a sense of where you are,” she says.

“I have 15 minutes until the wedding starts,” panic creeps into my voice.

“No worries. I’ll get you there. Head in the direction of where there are the fewest houses and keep on going until ….”

“I hear until and then I lose the signal. What choice do I have with only 15 minutes? I keep going. The road goes into the mountains. It narrows. A large dropoff appears to one side. I keep watching the road. It’s all winding and up, up, and up. I’m fearful my nose will begin to bleed. Does my rental have an oxygen mask that will drop out of the roof in case of an emergency?

A motorcycle passes on a double yellow, blind curve. I’m hoping whoever is driving doesn’t become bug splatter. Maybe they’re late for the wedding too. They squeeze in a second before a jeep comes in the opposite direction.

Ten miles later at 3:55 I see something that looks like a lodge. It is a lodge. I pull in. Pru and Cathy are staring at the road. I blast the horn. I wonder if I disturbed the wedding  (I wonder if the daughters think, you can’t bring dad anywhere). We hug and they tell me there is no cell service).  The wedding hasn’t started. I breathe a sigh of relief. All the guests crowd four deep around a table. I inquire as to what is going on. Cathy says, “Open bar.”

I muscle my way to the front of the crowd and get the bartender’s attention, “Do you have Perrier?”

“Perry who?”

I need a service dog. Where’s Lady Lucy?

I made it through my misadventures. The wedding was a success. Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson couldn’t find the Lodge. I heard they joined the dude at 320 Artist Way.

I had a great time. Lots of laughs. Lots of love. Lots of celebration. Not a sad face in the crowd. It’s what weddings are meant to be. I decide everyone needs a bit of wedding in their day.

My granddaughter and me at the wedding. It was worth the adventure. Don’t miss out on the big things. They come by once. Grab hold and hold on tight.

Ray with his granddaughter

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