Monday, March 20, 2006

More pre-wedding

The day of the wedding, Dad and I left the house around 8:45am. Before that, I'd roused myself and walked out to find a cup of coffee. Ever since the first time I went abroad, I like to get up early in the morning and go find coffee by myself. I did it the first time I went to Florence (which was to visit Dad when he lived there for a year), and I did it here in Israel now that I had the chance. I walked down the main street in our neighborhood and passed two or three caf├ęs before stopping at one. I ordered a cappuccino that turned out not to really be a cappuccino, but it was acceptable. I walked home, carrying it, and was way ahead of Dad and ready to go when he was.

Where were we going so early in the morning? I was going to meet my sister-in-law, (let's just give her a name, shall we?) Tikvah, and my nieces, so we could get pretty. They were planning to get rather prettier than I, getting hair, nails and faces thoroughly done. My plan was to have a manicure and do my own, very minimal, make up later on.

Dad was going to pick up B2 and the groom, Yehuda, to make a visit to the cemetery. Actually to two cemeteries--that of his grandmother, my father's first wife, and to the burial place of his mother's parents. Apparently that is the custom on the day of the wedding.

A side note--every wedding I've ever attended where there was a dead parent, that person was almost tangibly present. I can understand this practice.

Back to the frivolity--I'm not much of one for manicures, but I've had a few in my life. The last one was for a friend's wedding at least five years ago. It was a painful experiences because the lady cut my cuticles too close and made three fingers bleed. I haven't been back since. I bite my nails, which are soft to begin with, so a manicure is not a high priority.

But, for purposes of family bonding and vanity, I said sure. Susan (stepmother) almost said yes, but she'd just had her nails done back in the States, so what was the point?

It was ok--only one cuticle bled. The horrifying part was the extremely unhygienic conditions under which the manicure was performed. Things were re-used that should not have been, the nail debris was not contained, the clippers were not sterilized. I'm telling you, we don't know how clean we have it in America.

Niece #2, who is the sweetest, kindest girl in the world, asked if I was having my hair done. I said I'd do something but I wasn't sure what. She said, "Maybe my mother will do something for you." You know the end to the that story!

I watched Niece #3 (incorrectly labeled in that post) have her hair turned into a frothy, Barbie-like confection. Tikvah could tell it wasn't the right thing for me. She asked if I wanted her to do something. I said, "Maybe." Then I said, "I'd love it if you could do something for me." And I sat myself down in her chair.

And what did she do? Something special that didn't hurt and was totally "me." Fancy but not ostentatious. She used a couple dozen bobby pins, a lot of hair spray and her imagination--and knowledge of my tastes--and in about 15 minutes she fixed me up just right. She worked very hard that daty--fixing my hair and that of her four daughters--but she remained calm and cheerful through it all.

After they finished up with the polishings, waxings and blow-dryings we all headed to our respective homes.

I took a cab back to the apartment. The cab driver spoke no English and did not understand my pronunciation of the street where I'm staying. I still can't say it correctly. I did convey the name of the main street that insects my street, so we got going. It was a situation where I understood most of what he was saying--not he actual words but what he would have been saying in that situation. For example, "On which end of the main street is your street located?" I couldn't have answered that one anyway. Or, "Will you know it when we get there?" The answer to that was, "yes, " but when did he ask it? I said, "lo" (no) and "kin" (yes) and "beseder" (all right) a lot. And "todah" (thanks). And somehow we got there, when he finally correctly interpreted my mispronunciation.

The plan was to meet Dad and Susan back at the apartment and be ready to go by 4:00pm. We left around 4:15pm.

We arrived at B2's place to pick him for the drive to the wedding. My dress is sleeveless, which is why I have the white cardigan draped over it in the picture, so I would be properly covered. When B2 sees me he says, "You're going to be covered?"

I said, "Yes, that's why I have this sweater." It had been a little warm in the car on the way to his place, so I wasn't fully buttoned up. I started buttoning.

B2 said, "I can loan you a shirt if you need it." He smirked a little and walked into the hallway.

I said, "But that would be man's clothing--and it would be improper to wear men's clothing!"

From the other room, B2 said, "Oh, you remember--very good!"

I muttered, "Hoisted on his own petard." The triumphs with B2 are small and one must savor them.

He did approve of my outfit when it was fully buttoned up. Not as attractive as the dress without the sweater, but not bad. It wasn't like I was going to meet any boys that night.

On the drive to the hall, B2 made a joke about passing a Coke-a-Cola bottling plant. "When you start to feel thirsty, you'll know it's coming up." I said it wasn't subliminal if you could see it. Then B2 told a story about reading one of the Curious George books to the kids when they were little, "I didn't remember the story but all of a sudden I got the taste of spaghetti in my mouth. Then I turned the page...and there was Curious George in a bowl of spaghetti!" We all laughed. B2 is very sweet.

When we arrived at the hall at 6:30pm, the groom, Yehuda, didn't want to go straight in. Perhaps first I should tell you the plan for the wedding:

7:00pm--Official start time. Appetizers available, guests start to arrive.
7:45pm--Rabbi arrives.
8:00pm--Wedding ceremony under the Hupa.
8:30pm--Dancing, eating, dancing, eating--until midnight or so.

My sister-in-law and nieces planned to arrive early, around 6pm, to take some pictures. The groom wanted to arrive no earlier than 7pm.

B2's plan was for Dad (aka Grandpa) to take Yehuda off somewhere to hang out until he was ready to be officially present. He said he didn't want to be there until 7pm.

That is pretty much what happened.

Part II tomorrow....

Grateful for: infection-free maincures.
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