I know. It’s been more than a month since I’ve written. I should have written! I meant to, but…but I didn’t. Guess I’ve been away far longer than I realized. But I wrote postcards! I know, I didn’t send them. Well, here they are as one, all those postcards that I really did mean to send each week since I’ve been away.
Postcard #1 With this Ring
Weddings, weddings, weddings and a bunch of rehearsal dinners, baby showers, anniversary dinners and corporate meetings thrown in for good measure. I love and loathe the weddings the most. I try not to, but I become attached to each and every bride I work with. As the toasts are made and the cake is cut, I try with little success not to tear up. When a recent mother of the bride hugged me to thank me for pulling together her seemingly endless decorations, countless flowers and way-too-many candles, saying, “You made it so beautiful, so much more than I thought it could be,” we were both straddling the fine line of shedding happy tears and sobbing in a way that makes one’s face blotchy.
They are so much work and stress, these weddings, and they wear me out for days afterward. But as I remind my staff and myself almost every weekend: It is just another day at work for us, but let’s try not to forget what a privilege it is to be entrusted with one of the most the most important days in a person’s life.
Postcard #2 Winner, Winner!
I might have won a few dollars here and there, just when it came in really handy. My great guy eventually got tired of hearing about my jackpot winnings and my lament, “If I’d only bet the max!” Apparently, the Seminoles tired of me, too. My sure-thing machines turned cold weeks later.
Postcard #4 A Token of Our Appreciation
Thanks to my ridiculous proclivity to play a slot machine now and then, Hard Rock thanks me by bombarding me with monthly “freebies,” each worth about 1/10,0000 of what I’ve won and lost there.
But the weekly free concert tickets have provided some of the best nights out I’ve had in a long time. Dancing on stage with Sister Sledge as she belted out “We Are Family,” dancing in the aisles with RG Son (who came to town for a last-minute visit) to Earth, Wind and Fire one night and Al Green the next–all the while laughing with the ladies sitting next to us on both occasions who demanded to know, “How does that young boy knows all the words to all these songs–he’s too young!” To which I replied, “I raised him right.”
Postcard #3 Birthday Girl
Happy birthday to Angel, my newly turned 9-year-old Boston Terrier. We found the doggy birthday cake at Fresh Market nestled between dozens of mustard varieties on a random aisle. Rouletta and Angel pretty much viewed the thing as crack, and we are stilling doling the cake out in small pieces. Apologies for the awkward photo that includes my great guy’s foot–snapping pics of birthday-crazed pups is no easy task.
Postcard #5 Sometimes You Just Have to Rant
I may be off the floor as a server, but my former co-workers can’t help but share their share of “Are you kidding me? stories. Best one all summer: Party of 14 comes in with no reservation on a busy Friday evening to celebrate a birthday. The staff scrambles, but gets them seated, hides the cake, finds candles forgotten by the organizer, and generally makes sure they get top-notch service. Everyone has two happy-hour-priced drinks. Everyone shares seven appetizers. Everyone is happy. At the end of this perfect evening, everyone wants a separate check. The server explains that he needed to know that at the beginning of the party in order to set it up properly in the computer, and adds, “But you all got pretty much the same things, within 25 cents of each other. Let me split it evenly.”
“No, no!,” says the host, “We’ll figure it out. Give us a minute.” A full 45 minutes later, this is what they handed the server:
At which point, the server walked back to my office to show me this table’s handiwork, saying, “I’m killing time to make it look like I’m following this dumb-ass worksheet. I’ve already split the check in 14 equal pieces. But here, you keep it–you know, in case you ever miss your nights working with us.”
Postcard #6 The End as a Court’s Mere Afterthought
“Do you have your ID?”
“Right here, Judge.”
“Do you own any property together?”
“Do you have any minor children together?”
“Is everything over, finished, the end?”
“Yes, Judge,” I said, so softly I barely heard my own voice.
“Yes?” asked the judge.
“Yes,” I repeated, as loud as the others before me had spoken, so all in the tiny courtroom could hear.
“You are divorced. Good luck.”
And just like that, multiple decades of marriage and five years of separation ended with a shuffle of paperwork and a nod toward the door to send me on my way.
“How do you do this every day?” I whispered to the bailiff as I walked toward the courtroom’s door. “That’s it? That’s it???”
She smiled at me, her eyes reflecting a tinge of sadness laced with jaded irony. “Every day, sweetie, every day we do this. That’s it.”
“But I thought I’d get a chance to say something, you know, that Mr. RG and I are on good terms, that he’s a great dad and a good person, how sorry I am that I had to leave and move on. How I will always have love in my heart for him, you know, in my way.”
“Good luck,” came the judge’s voice as she pronounced the next person divorced.
“Shhh. You go on now,” said the bailiff, pointing me toward the door.
“But…” I started.
“Go on now,” she smiled. “Go on. It’s okay.”
Postcard # 7 Calling All Muses
Postcards are snippets, aren’t they? Easily scrawled, abbreviated snapshots of so many days filled with so much unwritten rich detail. Why, I wonder, have I found it so difficult to write about any of them? Am I out of words? Is my writing finished, over, the end? I hope not. I want to reconnect with my old friend RG and allow her to give me back my voice to laugh, wonder, and tell it all. Here’s to hoping it’s soon.
Meanwhile, I’ll tackle my summer reading list.
Best wishes. Wish you were here!