July 3, 2001
Declining the Invitation 


Wedding Anxiety Dream #9 ... #9 ... #9 ...

Grandma is worried about the wedding buffet.

"I'm not sure we're going to have enough sandwiches for everybody, Terri Lynn," she says to me on the phone. "What if we run out of jam?"

I remind her that I've still got one last jar of her homemade raspberry jam, hidden in the back of my freezer ... tucked away behind the Ore-Ida Crinkle Cuts and the Jeno's Pizza Rolls. 

"I haven't let the kids touch it," I assure her. "The jar hasn't even been opened yet."

But this starts me wondering. IS that jar of raspberry jam really still in my freezer? It's been a long time since I've checked. Now that I think about it, I realize that it's been years since I've seen it. Did I even bring the jar with me when I moved to California??

I feel the first little tickle of worry, brushing against the back of my heart.

"I hope so," Grandma says matter-of-factly. "Now that I'm dead, I'm not going to be able to make you any more jam, you know."

End of Dream.

      *      *      *      *      *      *

The Relatives Who Hate Me aren't coming to the wedding, after all.

Their declination -- declination is a word, right? -- arrived in the mail yesterday: they sent back one of our invitation response cards with the "regrets" box checked. Inside the card, The Relative Who Doesn't Hate Me Quite As Much As The Spouse Hates Me scribbled a brief handwritten message. "Sorry we can't make it," he wrote. "But we'll be thinking about you."

I should probably be glad. Who needs to be dealing with a bunch of negative family energy on the happiest day of her life? (And the "energy" from this particular segment of the family, ever since I ran away, has been nothing but "negative.")

Or maybe I should be pissed. Even now, four years after my first marriage collapsed, I am still beyond redemption?

And maybe I should be sad, while I'm at it. When we're young, we believe that nothing ever changes ... especially family relationships. We think everything -- and everybody -- is going to stay exactly the same forever. It's a shock when you grow up and realize that this isn't necessarily the case.

But you know what? I don't feel glad or pissed or sad. Mainly I just feel relieved. At least now I know for sure that they're not coming, and I can quit rehearsing the Blood is thicker than water under the bridges we burned/Can't we all just get along? speech. I'm sorry they won't be there, but that's the way it goes.

I'm sorry that a lot of people won't be there.

I'm sorry that my grandmothers won't be there. Neither one of them lived long enough to meet David, but I know they would have loved him to pieces. (And I know the feeling would have been intensely mutual.) I'm sorry my grandpa won't be there, playing his guitar and singing "Oh! Dem Golden Slippers" in his wonderfully awful voice. He and David could have jammed together, after the ceremony.

I'm sorry that our pal Feef can't come to the wedding. (We received her regrets yesterday, too, via e-mail, and this is one "declination" that we are sincerely sad about.) While we're at it, I wish that my other two Grilla pals -- EdmundKaz and Bottlenekk -- could be there. It would be fun if the four of us could meet each other face-to-face finally, after six years' of silly/serious/mostly-silly online back-and-forth. We could all take turns wearing Ed the Dog and reading excerpts from Night of the Prairie Squid.

(Hell: I wish the whole damn BOOM ROOM could be there. I think BarTab still owes me ten bucks.)

It would be great if J.P. Patches could put in an appearance at the nuptials. J.P. and I haven't seen each other since the day he plopped that Miss Fire Prevention crown on my head, thirtysome years ago: I'm sure he's dying to know what I've been up to since then. My sixth grade teacher, Mr. Iverson, might be an interesting addition to the guest list. So would my first grade boyfriend Larry Conway ... and the guy who wrote 'The Martian Hop' ... and Matt Lauer ... and my former next-door-neighbor/partner-in-crime, Lori Pinkney ... and everybody in my twelfth-grade Stage Band class, especially Sue Besecker, who wrote in my yearbook that I was "the most poised person she had ever met."

So would every one of you reading this website right now, come to think of it. In a perfect world, all of you would be there on The Big Day, sharing our joy ... AND our Balsamic Zucchini with Carmelized Onions.

But alas, it's only a semi-perfect world these days, here in *FootNotes Land,* and I understand that people have legitimate reasons for not being able to drop everything and hop on a plane for TicTac, just to watch me walk down the aisle. (Reasons like jobs, or previous commitments, or conflicting vacation plans ... or hating the bride ... or, in some cases, not being alive anymore.) I understand that this is the way of the world, and I'm fine with it ...

... and I'm going to rejoice in the friends and family who ARE going to be there at the wedding: Kevin, my poetry-writing pal from high school ... our parents (both sets) and our Tots (both sets) and a healthy smattering of siblings, his and hers ... my groovy Uncle Jerry, who gave me Abbey Road for my twelfth birthday, and his equally-groovy wife, my Aunt Jody ... our friends from the old Baby Boomer Chat Room, Mr. and Mrs. Bobo (who are flying in from New York) ... our other friend from the Boom Room, Smrtflmkr -- aka Barb -- who was there the first weekend David and I met ... Graham, David's best friend from high school ... Heather, one of my loyal, longtime *FootNotes* readers ... a handful of family friends, a nephew or two, a couple of Jaymi's ex-boyfriends, just to keep things interesting.

We'll all have a piece of wedding cake, in honor of those who couldn't be there with us: vanilla cake, with vanilla frosting ...

... and raspberry jam filling. Of course.

one year ago: tidal wave
two years ago: my personal bobo

throw a rock