Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Marriage is a Solemn Institution

It's a time-honored tradition in my family, on my father's side, to put clothespins on unsuspecting individuals. Nowhere has this childish/Super Fun past time been embraced as warmly as at my sister's recent wedding. My sister's classy and elegant wedding. At a country club with a plated dinner.

My uncle sidles up to me. He displays a handful of plastic clothespins like a guy with watches in his coat. "I bought 200 of these last night," he says in a low voice, handing me a few.

My eyes widen in delight. He walks away, a red clothespin already clinging to the back of his shirt.

We decide that the ultimate coup is to pin one on my sister, the beautiful bride. That accomplished, many times over, we move on to more insidious targets. My father manages to clip one to the long braid of one of our servers. Our entire table giggles into our hands. A family friend stops to chat, his back to my brother's seat. By the time he walks away, the back edge of his jacket is lined with a patriotic assortment of red, white, and blue clothespins. The DNB tags the photographer.

Our game is interrupted by a young man, a friend of the groom. He kneels by my father's chair. "Sir," he begins. "I just wanted to thank you for a wonderful event." Graciously, my father shakes his hand and the young man leaves. A clothespin has made it onto the bottom hem of my father's pants.

My father, an expert in military intelligence, carefully bides his time. A game of limbo begins, and my father works his way toward the edge of the gathered spectators. Just as the young man begins to scoot his way under the limbo marker, my father swoops in. Surreptitiously clipping the clothespin to the back of the limboing young man's shirt, he walks away in triumph.

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