Thursday, July 20, 2006

What Fresh Hell Is This?

First, "What Fresh Hell Is This?" is a quote attributed to Dorothy Parker. She supposedly said the phrase when a ringing phone interrupted her literary thoughts. She liked the phrase so much that she began to answer her phone in that fashion. Great story, but it has nothing to do with my "fresh hell". I just love the quote.

Years ago my sister was married in a perfectly beautiful ceremony. She married her sweetheart in the town where they both attended college. This meant that her family had to commute to the wedding location. For some reason that I no longer recall, my sister ordered her flowers (yellow roses) from a florist in our hometown. The roses traveled with my parents, my brother and myself to the duplex where my sister and her husband-to-be would reside after their honeymoon. Immediately upon inspection of the flowers, my sister began to wail. Some of the roses already had brown edges. Who cares that one had to use a magnifying glass in order to see the brown edges, it was my sister's wedding and she wanted everything to be perfect. We calmed the bride-to-be down and set about accomplishing all that needed to be done before the wedding that evening.

Mom, sister and I were to head to the church to arrange the flowers and perform other decorating chores. We walked out on the duplex porch and I, the wedding soloist and maid of honor, misjudged the distance from porch to ground. I fell. Hard. And twisted my ankle so badly that I couldn't put any weight on it at all. I was half carried, half shoved back into the house by my entire family and placed on the sofa. An ice bag was hastily assembled and I was forced to elevate the quickly swelling and blueish ankle on four or five pillows. My sister tried hard not to cry as my mother murmured prayers that I would be able to stand, much less walk, by the time the wedding was to begin.

Time passed. Chores were accomplished. It was time to head to the church. I was able to stand, walk and, thank goodness, wear the white shoes specifically purchased for the wedding. ( Myself and the two bridesmaids were wearing emerald green dresses with white shoes. ) I got out of the car and was walking into the church when the heel on one of my shoes broke. It wasn't a nice heel-disconnected-from-shoe break that could be repaired with super glue, a hot glue gun or a nail. It was a three-inch heel broke in half break. Luckily, we were running ahead of schedule so my brother drove back to the duplex to retrieve a pair of black pumps I had for some reason packed in my overnight bag.

We were all spiffied up. Everyone looked beautiful and handsome. Grandparents and mothers were seated. I sang "The Wedding Song". Perfection. The bride entered. Vows were spoken. Prayers were prayed. Now the bride and groom stared lovingly into each other's eyes as the sister of the bride ( me ) began to sing "Love Me Tender". If only I had kept my eyes closed or stared at the back wall of the church. But, no, I had to look at my baby sister and......I began to cry. It wasn't a nice lady-like misting of the eyes, it was crying. I don't why I didn't just give up. I sobbed and blubbered through three verses of "Love Me Tender". It must have been horrible to have stand and look into her beloved's eyes with all the caterwauling that was issuing from my throat, but my sister did it.

Finally the reception was over. The newlyweds were on their way to Orlando. The church was cleaned. The brown-edged roses were disposed of. The guests had departed. Mom, Dad, my brother and I discovered that we were starving. We decided to pick up some food before we headed back to the duplex where we would spend the night. My brother motored us to the drive-thru of a fast-food joint. Technology was primitive at this point in time. The drive-thru had one of those hose things that rang a bell inside when the vehicle ran over it. My brother stopped the car before running over the hose thing so we could study the menu. An overly exuberant employee's voice came over the speaker as we were deciding what to order.

"May I help you?" she asked in a perky voice.

"We haven't even run over the ding-a-ling yet!" my brother exclaimed.

That was it. Four weary, emotionally drained, hungry people lost their composure. Somehow we managed to order food and drive to my sister's new home while laughing hysterically. No more "fresh hell" for us. The day was over.


Blogger Tiggerlane said...

This is a classic story! Promise you'll sing at my wedding.

Oh...wait...sing at my funeral. Then, caterwauling would be appropriate.

8:12 PM  
Blogger pixielyn said...

I LOVED this story!!!
I so wished I had named my blog "What Fresh Hell is this?" as that is my life's theme!!!

12:23 PM  
Anonymous sunflower said...

We may have to take turns with the title "What Fresh Hell is this?", because that is truely my life with 5 grown-up children. Did I say grown up? Loved the story.

11:48 PM  

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