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Friday, 26 October 2012

Colorblind

By Nancy Leitz

When Jerry and Holly announced that they were getting married on July 4, 1992, it was cause for great celebration. Mainly because we all thought Jerry was going to be a confirmed bachelor like Uncle Ernie. Now that we knew he wasn't going that lonely route, and because we were all crazy about Holly and knew she was the perfect partner for Jerry, we couldn't wait for the wedding.

As word of the wedding spread around both families, the excitement was contagious and the guest list kept getting longer and longer until it reached about 200 people and went from a simple ceremony to a full blown wedding with a fabulous reception and a weekend of fun and celebration for everyone.

The wedding venue was set in the beautiful rolling green hills of Connecticut, in a lovely place just for weddings. It was a very large building with facilities for two weddings on the same day. The ballrooms were side by side but still very private for each group.

There was a nearby Marriott Hotel with every amenity for their guests, and our two families and all of Jerry and Holly's friends took up most of the rooms.

The festivities began on Friday afternoon with the arrival of the families to the hotel. Aunt Sue and Uncle Carl were among the first to arrive and they found us at the pool having drinks and snacks and greeting each other.

All afternoon various relatives and friends drifted into the pool area and joined the conversation and the fun. We had plenty of time before the rehearsal dinner which was to be at 8 PM so we lingered and caught up on all the news.

Uncle Carl was in his late 70s at the time and was tired out from his long trip from Pennsylvania so he went to his room for a nap. Aunt Sue stayed out with us because the hotel rooms surrounded the pool area and we could see his room and know that he was all right in there alone.

We all knew you had to keep an eye on Carl because he sometimes forgot just where he was or where he was supposed to be.

Then it was time for the dinner and the dining room at the hotel was decorated to perfection for our enjoyment. Cocktails and (pause for spell check) hors d'ouevres were served and toasts and funny stories abounded. Dinner was delicious and all were very happy as we went to bed and rested for the big day tomorrow.

When Roy and I went into the dining room the next morning, we were seated next to two of our grandsons - cousins Tim and Francis (both about 12 years old).

They were at a table for two with enough food on the table for an army. They had eggs, toast, waffles, fried potatoes, orange juice and chocolate milk in front of them.

Suddenly I heard, "Psst, Nanny.” I looked over at them and Francis said, "I hope you are going to take care of this bill, Nanny, because I only have $11 and it's not on me."

Then it was time for the wedding and Holly was a beautiful bride with a gorgeous lace dress and picture hat. Jerry looked pleased as punch as he stood at the front of the altar with his lifelong friend, Bones, beside him. The service was short and sweet but they were well and truly married and as happy as two people can be.

Jerry had told us to use the right door into the reception hall because there was another wedding reception at the same time in the left side. The room was beautifully decorated and had large round tables set for about 10 with lovely tablecovers and place settings that Holly had chosen.

After a fantastic dinner, the music began and the dancing was in full swing and cocktails were flowing. Everyone was dancing and talking and having such a nice time that no one noticed that Uncle Carl was missing.

Aunt Sue asked Roy to search the men's room but he was not in there and he was definitely not in the main room. Where could he be? A few of us went out on the terrace to see if he was there was he was nowhere in sight. Now we were beginning to worry.

Then I thought of the other reception room. Could he have wandered into that room by mistake? The only way to find out would be to go in there and look for him.

A couple of us went in and, sure enough, there was Carl, having the time of his life at the wedding of complete strangers. They were treating him like family. He had a beer in his hand and was just placing it on a table to dance when we appeared.

We apologized to the bride for the intrusion and she very graciously smiled and said it was fine; she didn't seem to mind at all. We told Carl that Sue was looking for him and he thanked everybody, shook hands with several of the men, kissed the bride on the cheek and we left to go back to our own wedding.

Now this is where the title of my story comes in. The wedding that Carl had crashed was African American and he never noticed that all the people in that room were black.

And, we can never thank that wedding party and their guests enough for being so kind to an old man who wandered in to their affair.

As someone once said, "We could all take a lesson from crayons: some are sharp, some are beautiful, some have weird names and all are different colors but they still learn to live in the same box."


[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Please read instructions for submitting.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post

Comments

Nancy, this story brought tears to my eyes. How wonderful for all of you and especially for Carl. Too bad we aren't all that way.

I love this story Nancy...what a truly beautiful message. We could all learn something from Carl.

Another wonderful story Nancy. I never heard the crayons saying before, but I will borrow and use it if I may. It is excellent.

What a wonderful story!

Nancy: I loved the ending. Hopefully the two couples went on to enjoy their lives and we all learned a good lesson from your story, bless Uncle Carl.

If only, Nancy.....If only...

Another one of your excellent stories...Thank you!!!

Yesterday, my sister and I went into downtown Cleveland for an Obama rally. We took the train and then a connecting trolley to the Burke Lakefront Airport. The rally ran very late, and the trolley we took was no longer running when it was over, leaving us with no immediate transport back to the train station, a fact we began to discuss aloud. A pair of ladyfriends sitting in front of us, whom we had been chatting with for an hour or so, said, "Don't worry about it. We're parked over there and we'll just drive you to the train station." We had not even introduced ourselves, exchanged names, or even hometowns. We gratefully accepted, laughingly assuring them we were not murderers, just a retired teacher (me) and an advert saleswoman for church bulletins (my sister). The gentleman next to me, a postal worker, said, "Oh, I could take you too, but I have to be at work by 10, and I might not even get to listen to his whole speech!" By this time, several people had offered us rides, and all of us were of different races, ages, and genders. It was truly wonderful. Uncle Carl's Experience lives on!

Judy:
Yes, too bad we aren't all the way Carl was. I think he was disappointed we found him.

Joy:
He was having such a nice time with those gracious people,and I honestly think they enjoyed him,too.

Grannymar:

Sure, feel free to use the crayon quote.I have no idea who wrote that. I read it a few years ago and saved it for this occasion..

Donna:
Thanks for your nice comment. I appreciate it and hope to see you here again..

Claire Jean:

Yes, wouldn't it be nice CJ,if all the World was colorblind? I do think things are getting better in that department though,don't you?

I was delighted when we elected our first Black President and I sincerely hope he is reelected...

Nance:

The first time I had an intra-racial experience like yours I was at a Washington - Philadelphia football game at RFK Stadium and was seated near a Black fellow who had a whiskey bottle in a brown paper bag.

Every time Washington scored he took a big sip of his drink and smiled at me.

Finally, the Eagles got a touchdown and, with great flourish, he passed his whiskey bag down to me.

That was about 30 years ago and I'm still laughing about it. I suppose he is,too!

Ah, if we would all just learn to see with out hearts instead of our eyes. Thanks for a wonderful story.

Something tells me Uncle Carl was bluffing all of you and shared events on purpose. Wider range of food selections:)


WMH:

What a lovely sentiment..Seeing with our hearts instead of our eyes..
That is such a nice thing to say.

Annie:

I never thought of that but you could be right. I'll bet Carl had some good hors D'ouevres over there.

Thanks for giving me an excuse for using that term again..Spell check is not worth it if you only use the word once..

Thanks for stopping by..

I love your story, Nancy, but then I love all of them. Uncle Carl is a treasure trove of inspiration for good tales and none better than this happy one.

A beautiful wedding and I enjoyed being there with all of you.


We loved having you there,too,Darlene..

Thank you for the nice comment...

It's been nearly as enjoyable to read all these comments as to read the story. The story was fashioned well enough to keep us from guessing too far ahead. Good writing takes a good story over the top.

Last week I attended a funeral service. The deceased was a black man and the chapel was full of mostly black people. It was a somber occasion but not overly sad.

When the euologist, a white man, stepped to the podium the first thing he said was, "I suppose all of you are asking, 'What's that guy doing here'?" The laughter rolled and it became obvious why "Philip" asked him to perform this task before he passed on.

Herm,

I agree, the comments are as enjoyable to read as the story.I always enjoy reading and answering them.

Your comment was equally interesting. I like the story of the white person eulogizing the black man and his funny observation about why he would be the one chosen to have that honor.

Your comment is another good example of the way race relations should be.

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