In early August, both Bozeman and Spokane had scorching record temperatures (it seems but a memory now that there is a rime of crusty snow and ice on the ground here), and we drove to Spokane for a friend's wedding. This was during the "DO NOT DRIVE" phase my CR-V eventually grew out of, with the help of several hundred dollars of repairs and a good spanking, so we drove the 4-Runner. This is the same 4-Runner that we agreed could wait to get the A/C juiced until next summer, mostly because my comfort is more important to our family, and we had spent all our money on my car, as it should be. This is also the same trip where I got a little frisky with a bee.
We sure know how to have a good time!
The wedding began at 7:00, the driving directions indicated that the event took place about an hour and a quarter from a certain exit on I-90, and I neglected to take all this into account when getting B and me ready to go. We left from Rob's folks' place at about 5:30, thinking we'd be a little early. By the time I reached the exit mentioned in the directions, it was 6:15. I had left fresh as a daisy, but in the heat, was quickly melting. I hadn't realized just how far everything was, so had not thought to bring a DVD player for Blake, who quickly grew bored out of his mind. And we drove. And drove. AND DROVE. Turns out this wedding isn't in Spokane at all. Not even really in the area. It was actually more in Pullman, Washington, which is easily two hours from Spokane proper.
I realized that Rob and I had driven near the wedding, but not close: it was like someone from Spokane coming to Bozeman to stay, only to realize the wedding itself is in Billings, except that Billings is connected to Bozeman via 75 mph interstate, and we were on a two-lane highway with maximum speeds of 65 mph, in a borrowed truck sans A/C that couldn't really pass anyone except on the downhill sections, because Rob had left early in his truck to video the "getting ready" parts of the wedding. As I came to this realization, I first got mad (I'm hot, sweaty, and clearly going to be very late, with a boy who is good-natured, but only SO interested in rolling wheat fields, and who is also prone to heat stroke)... MAD. Like, how dare she have a wedding so far away and not mention it?! Oh. Wait. She did mention it, kind of. Then I got sad. We were going to miss a large portion of the wedding we drove all this way to see. Then I got super-pragmatic. I found radio stations to jam out with Blake to, figured that fretting over the timing wasn't going to get us there any faster, and that we could enjoy ourselves once there, whenever the hell that would be.
We finally drove past a huge red barn set back from the road. It was clearly the scene, since I could see a confection of a wedding gown in white standing next to a man in black, in front of a host of people. It took a great deal of self-control to not honk wildly out of relief and acknowledgment. "YOU'RE GETTING MARRIED! I'M SO EXCITED AND NOT BEHAVING INAPPROPRIATELY AT ALL!!! WE'RE FINALLY HERE!"
As we found a parking space (not in view of the wedding itself), I opened the door of the truck to hear "May I be the first to present to you, Mister and Missus...." And I clapped and whistled and grabbed Blake, and we snuck over to blend in with the crowd. We had perfect timing! We got to enjoy the party without me having to wrangle Blake through a hot and sticky time of sitting still and being quiet, PLEASE don't ruin this lovely day for this lovely couple, and if you loved me you would HOLD STILL and WHISPER and maybe even STOP TOOTING.
Looking around, it was clear why the couple had chosen this location. A old barn, converted for events, was the centerpiece. In front, there was a large gazebo-like stage area with tiered grassy steps for placing folding chairs. Beyond the gazebo, a large hay field (and the highway, but it was far enough as to be a non-nuisance), and to the right of it, a koi pond and spacious lavendar garden. It was unequivocally gorgeous.
Blake gravitated immediately to the pond, where I heard a large splash. I darted over to instruct him that while he could toss the small pebbles from the path in the water, those big rocks were there on purpose. I then had to define the word "landscaping" and told him firmly of the consequences should he continue to rearrange it. He was blissfully absorbed, I got to visit with friends we never see, and the reception began in earnest. Despite arriving at 7:30, which is usually Blake's bedtime, I decided we'd stay until at least 9:00, just because it had taken so damn long to get there, and we were going to live it up!
At about 8:30, during the dimming of the day, I looked over from my conversation to the pond, where I noticed that Blake's nice shirt looked quite a bit darker than it ought, and that he was wiping water from his eyes. Walking over I saw he was saturated from head to foot, with a nervous boy of about eight or nine hovering near him.
"What happened?" I asked as I calmly removed his shoes and wrung out his socks.
"He tried to jump to that rock," said the boy, pointing to a flat stone about a foot from the side of the pond. "And he fell in. And he knocked over the statue," he finished, in a manner suspiciously helpful and relieved. He then ran off.
"Is that what happened, Blake?"
Eyes full of tears that never quite fell, Blake told me the whole story. Turns out this boy had stepped from bank to stone, then stepped back. Blake, wanting to be big too, tried it. Thing is, a step for a boy twice his age is a bit of a hop for him. And while he got to the stone just fine, he lost his balance. Trying to regain it, he flung his arms around the small statue of a boy fishing that was also on the stone... and they both went in. He told me he wasn't scared at all because of his swimming lessons, and that he'd gotten out, but that he was sorry about the statue and being all wet.
It was still very hot, so the wet wasn't a big concern. I thought I'd fish the statue out and set it back up, since the pond wasn't more than a few feet deep, but it was so dirty that I couldn't even SEE it. I decided I would just tell someone in charge that it hadn't been stolen, but was lying safely on the bottom of their nasty pond, while the bamboo fishing pole floated around on the surface. We borrowed a dry shirt for Blake, and his discipline was to stay at our table for the rest of the evening.
He was fed a steady stream of cake and sweets by our tablemates, passed out into a sugar coma on the (two-hour) drive home, and decided the night was a resounding success. I didn't hit a deer or get a ticket while driving unfamiliar roads in the dark at 11:00 p.m., so I guess I agree.