There's nothing like out of town company to help you get reacquainted with where you live. That's exactly what we did when we hosted two ladies from Germany. Our friends hailed from what used to be East Germany before the wall came down and grew up behind the iron curtain. Of course, they were told that the West was evil. I'm glad they didn't believe that!
Sybille and Gundi were the perfect house guests and I hope we were the perfect hosts. We gave it our best shot for two weeks, taking the ladies all around the Pacific Northwest. They got to see a waterfall for the first time, had a day at an American shopping mall and found several goodies on sale, went for a boat ride (thank you Susan Wiggs, boating queen!), visited Debbie Macomber's office and had lunch with the amazing Debbie, had lunch at the Seattle Space Needle, took a ferry boat ride, went to the ocean, had root beer floats and a banana split, saw Mt. St. Helens, shared meals with friends,and learned how to country line dance. We were busy every day of the week. A big highlight was getting to meet our charming mayor of Bremerton, Mayor Patty Lent, who treated them like rock stars, pinned our Bremerton lapel pin on them and gave them each a Bremerton ball cap.
Sybille came bearing eleven pounds of chocolate courtesy of Berggold Chocolates, for whom she was writing a blog on the trip. Berggolda, the German version of Flat Stanley (if you don't know who that is, think the Travelocity gnome) came everywhere with us and had her picture taken with various folks and at our many tourist stops for the blog back home.
Our company had a wonderful time, and so did we. There truly is no place like the Pacific Northwest, and it was fun visiting places where we just don't normally go. For example, I hadn't been to the Space Needle since I was a kid. Going as a grown-up I think I appreciated the view a lot more. And you know what? They still serve the lunar orbiter, an ice cream treat that, thanks to hot water and dry ice, makes a very impressive dessert. A kid at the table in back of us was having one and boy did that bring back memories. I remember my godmother buying me one when she took me to the Space Needle for my birthday.
But you know what was best about the whole adventure? Spending time with new friends and getting to know more about them and their country. My German is still not very good, but I'm going to keep working on it because we want to go there and visit our new friends and let them tour us around their home towns. I bet they, too, will wind up seeing where they live with fresh eyes.
And now, what about you? What fun tourist attraction near your home have you not seen in years? If you had visitors from another country what would you show them?
Our baby got married last week. Sigh. I'd been anticipating this event for months, dieting forever to get in my mother of the groom dress, making plans, packing and unpacking, loading up goodies to take the the newlyweds. And then, in a blink, it was over and all my eye makeup had run down my cheeks. I was not even remotely prepared for the emotional wallop that comes with watching your child get married. Oh, my!
And I was hardly a momzilla at all. Okay, yes, I had one meltdown moment... not one of my finer. And I'd have been saved from that if someone had told me that hiding under the tablecloth of some of those tables in the fancy venue was ... a hole. A sneaky, hiding hole that didn't reveal itself until I set down a vase of flowers and they spilled all over the table. Sheesh. Yes, patio tables pulled in for extra duty do have a hole. And, as one of the servers helping with setup said, it would have been nice if they warned us. I guess better to have that happen to me than the mother of the groom.
Anyway, a good time was had by all. It was fun to be included in all the preparations, especially visiting that amazing L.A. flower market district where we went crazy over flowers. My daughter-in-law has great taste. And my daughter has quite a gift for flower arranging!
We adore our new daughter-in-law and lovely granddaughters. And we are going to enjoy visiting with our son's new in-laws over the years. All in all, a perfect melding of families. Can a girl ask for more? And now, as our daughter once said as a little girl, we can all live happily ever after.
What a funny coincidence that, just as I have a new novel out about weddings, I've got a son getting married! Needless to say, I'm excited. Yes, about the book, of course, but even more so about the fact that our son has found a lovely woman to spend the rest of his life with.
When it comes to marriage, cynics have all kinds of comments. "What's the point when half the marriages in America end in divorce?" ... "It's just a piece of paper."... "Weddings are too expensive."
Well, I must say, I concur with that last observation. When Gerhardt and I married we were the tail end of the old-fashioned reception in the church basement with cake, punch, nuts and mints. Suddenly, everyone was booking glamorous venues and feeding the multitudes. So, yes, weddings these days are big business and a big expense. But a wedding can also be inexpensive - held in a park with friends bringing various dishes. Held in someone's home. Held at the church with cake and punch and nuts and mints. (And okay, bring in some salads and cold cuts!) As for wedding dresses, I've seen gorgeous ones at Goodwill and in consignment stores. You can even rent a wedding dress these days. So, to the newly engaged couple stressing over finances - don't listen to the cynics. You can find a way to have your wedding cake and eat it, too. We can't all have a royal wedding but we can all celebrate.
And weddings are worth celebrating. Yes, many weddings end in divorce but they all begin with hope. And hope is worth celebrating. And yes, that marriage license is just a piece of paper, but it symbolizes something important, the joining together of two people who (at least in theory) will go through life sharing the ups and downs, the highs and the lows, the sickness and health. A wedding celebrates the fact that two people want to spend their lives together, helping each other become all that God wants them to be. A wedding is about even more than the couple saying "I do" - it's about the community coming together to say, "We love you and we'll support you." It's about new love starting out and old love remembering. It's a party, guys!
So, for all of you who have gotten married this summer, to all of you with sons or daughters saying those two important words, I wish you all a happy wedding. Love is worth celebrating so get out there and celebrate for all you're worth!