Monday, April 11, 2005

Weekend foods, places, and noises

So my wife and I were away this weekend. Hence no posting. Loyal reader, do not dismay! I will remain as faithful to you as if you actually existed.

It was a nice wedding. Two friends of ours (Sarah has known them much longer than I have) tied the knot in a strange little nook in Salt Lake City on Saturday. It is a gated park. A policeman stopped us and asked for our name on the list. That's the first time I've been on a list. I found out later that you can walk in freely, so it was just like a passenger ferry.

This park was a little valley carved into the side of the east hills of Salt Lake, just a few blocks, in fact, from the LDS Church Office Building (read: World Mormon Headquarters). It had a shrine with Greek columns called Meditation Chapel, a small river with a few bridges and green swards, red brick; in short, it called to mind a peaceful, holy golf course. Our friends were married in a room with an arched ceiling, adjoining a banqueting area with a low sloped roof broken by skylights. That's where they stuck the hors d'oeuvres later.

It was still light when we left, around 8:00, and headed to the Crystal Inn, son asleep in his chair in the back seat. Despite my abiding love of stuffed mushrooms, pesto tortellini salad, and meatballs, neither Sarah nor I had eaten much while juggling Alex and seeing friends. Thus, our version of the wedding dinner was purchased at the McDonald's next to the hotel.

The next day was Sarah's birthday. Until I am rich and famous, we won't have enough money to pamper her in style. Instead, I gave her a nice pillow she had been mentioning, and the sweet words that belong behind closed doors. For Alex's health, we are non-alcoholic at this time, but that night we had toasts to the next year of life with sparkling peach cider.

Sarah's father, who has money to spare, took us out for a fine birthday lunch at an Italian restaurant, then took Sarah on a shopping spree while his fiancee, Sarah's brother and I followed around the mall. Sarah found summer sandals and Clinique. Alex received a crab with a smiley face whose feet squeak, whose antennae are most suitable for teething, and whose torso emits a whirring noise when he is spun on some axis that we were unable to determine in our study.

Near the end of our trip, Sarah had not yet found her footwear and returned to Meier and Frank with her father, leaving the rest of us in the Ladies' Footwear section of Nordstrom. After several peaceful minutes gnawing on fingers, Alex started to scream. He has a wild, uncontrollable scream, which indicates that he will be a soloist. I left the store to sing to him, to calm him down away from the women in 3-inch heels and trendy, exotic clothing.

It turned out that the open area bordered by Nordstrom, the exits, and the hall was an echo chamber, and Alex's screams started coming in stereo. I went out of the square on the information booth side, and started singing him "House Carpenter" very softly. This song is about a woman who leaves her house carpenter husband and her darling little babe for her rich sailor demon lover, curses her lover out of remorse for her lost family, and sinks to her doom on the open waves. You can see what kind of child we are trying to raise.

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