Tuesday, August 18, 2009

$40.00 a Minute Wedding

For thirteen years my brother and his childhood friend Greg lived at the Oxon Hill Manor House. Free room and board through their college years and career beginning jobs in exchange for setting up for the grand weddings that would take place in the beautiful ballroom.

On the day of weddings, John and Greg were required to wear brown one piece shiny jumpsuits that had embroidered oval name tags. They were required to wear these as directed by a woman with a tight bun and click clacky heels. 

Parquet floors reflecting the warm glow of crystal chandeliers, grand piano in place, the lead soprano of the Washington Opera awaiting her accompanist to begin her warm up. My brother notices her distress and approaches her. "I can accompany you if you have your music."

The strands of La Bohemia reaching the event director's office were soon followed by the click clacking of her heels across the marble foyer. "How many times have I directed that you are NEVER EVER to touch this piano! This is a $40.00 a minute wedding! It is specially tuned. Your job here is done for now, wait in your room until I call you."

Click clacking again across the marble foyer just in time to catch my brother as he ascended the beautiful staircase to his room. "Do you have a tuxedo?" "Yes, I have a tuxedo." replied my brother. "Then put it on quickly and meet me back here in ten minutes."

My brother did as he was told. "The accompanist is unable to be here. Can you play for the soloist?" My brother, tall and handsome in his tuxedo politely replied, "No I can't. I'm worth more than $40.00 a minute." With that he calmly returned to his room.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Block Party

The end of a party is always the best. Tired from milling about the guests will settle themselves comfortably, quietness settling about them. Lamps are turned on, shoes are kicked off, legs are tucked underneath. The day's events are recalled, moments of observation shared.

A circle of women making room for someone new. A compliment here, an exclamation there, shared values drawing them close.

Shared laughter letting them know they are not alone.

I am not a Giver of Parties content to be an invited guest. Fearful of being the center of attention, fearful of saying the wrong word, fearful of disappointing.

Hosting my first tag swap is such a milestone in my journey. I continue to struggle with the acceptance of friendship; but as  I gaze at the art of the women who shared themselves with me, I am surrounded by friends. Elizabeth