This past weekend we faced a fully-booked Saturday and a near-full Sunday. Saturday came with three unprecedented challenges. The large pavilion was hosting a wedding on a day when the rain forecast called for an inch within an hour of “I do.” The smallest pavilion was rented by an old bat who, despite 20 signs forbidding parking on it, had appealed for the right to drive her car over our soaked turf to everyone from our corporate management to the US Forest Service. The middle pavilion was to house a surprise birthday party, and the only rub there was she wanted to zip past us at 30 mph as if on a minor highway. Our worry: children cross the road as wisely as deer, and we have plenty of both.
Saturday we awakened in the cold sweat of fear and loathing. We imagined the worst, as the worst had begun the night before. Around 6:30 p.m. six cars and pickups blew past our checkpoint going 45, drafting like they were running Daytona. Nobody paid us any fees nor notice. Such conduct is like staggering onto a cop’s parked cruiser and puking all over it. We simply had to go get them. This was the advance guard of the next day’s wedding, come to set up for it. During our brief conversation it became clear that there would be a rehearsal at this pavilion tonight that had not been paid for. We collected payment from Daddy Red Truck, but only after reassurance from Mother of the Bride that “I’m a good Christian woman” and “We will be out of here long before you close the park at 9 o’clock Saturday night”.
The surprise party turned out fine. I got an advance look at the entry vehicle. The guest of honor was hooded as if on his way to an ISIS beheading, and later was completely surprised. Everyone enjoyed their visit. The old bat’s handicapped brothers chose not to attend, so she did not drive over the grass or bring “The Media”. She turned on the Kat about the dry water fountain, but got herself waved off with directions to a nearby restroom whose fountain does work. So far so good.
The third one was bad. We dropped in to pick up and replace garbage bags three hours after the vows, and all was still sweetness and light. Good Christian Woman offered food and drink. Ribs and Scotch were tough to pass on, but I managed. Scotch? Lordy, Kat! They have a full bar, with not so much as a tip cup. Only two hours of free drinks left — maybe they’ll make it. Twenty minutes before closing time we stopped in to get the rest of the garbage, and the mood had swung 180 degrees. Our first hint was a mom on the steps of the pavilion holding her little boy’s drawers around his knees as he peed lustily onto the patio. The cowboy groomsmen had turned surly and sour; the bridesmaids were itching for a fight. Clearly no one was ready to leave any time soon. GCW demanded the name of our supervisor, and swore she’d never waste another dollar at this park. That hurt and you have no idea how little. We got them out, moments ahead of the locking of the gates.
Sunday morning came too early, but we enjoyed blueberry muffins and coffee outside. The rain had ended, the humidity was low, and the breeze blew cool and sweet. We loved hearing the river gurgle and splash, dug the buzz of hummingbirds on our feeder, and debated whether that nearby automatic weapons sound was a woodpecker or frog. The worst was behind us. Kat and I were tired but relieved. Then it hit me: the Good Christian Woman was guiltily sleeping in on Sunday, or suffering through a hangover while enduring a recycled sermon warning against yesterday’s transgressions.
Life is good!