The old saying that expensive things come in small packages just gained a little more validity at my uncle's wedding. Uncle Stan has recently walked down the aisle for the fifth time. The great thing is that he acts like each marriage is the first. He pays more in alimony than Donald Trump. Not only does he have a devil-may-care attitude regarding the alimonies, he also spares no expense on the weddings. I wish I knew where all his cash comes from. I guess that is for him to know and for me to find out, or not. He played a trick on everyone by buying little diamond stick pins for the women and diamond cufflinks for the men as his favors at this last wedding. He bought these huge wedding favor bags and stuffed them with tissue paper. He gave a speech about good things in small packages and then turned around and distributed these huge bags. At the end of the evening, people were digging into their bags and they discovered these tiny little boxes at the core of the tissue paper. They did receive the valuable gifts as promised, in a small package. It just happened to also be in a large package.
If you were fortunate enough to be invited to Jimmy's wedding you would have been in for a great treat. Jimmy was always the town clown. He thought up the zaniest ideas to get a laugh. The good thing was that none of his pranks were ever at anyone else's expense. He was more often than not generous to a fault. It is obvious that the same held true when he decided, along with his bride, what to give as wedding favors. He was never one to be motivated by money. His revenue is laughter and having a fun time. This was also the main attraction between him and his bride Melanie. She was of the same ilk. I would venture to guess that the cost their favors rivaled the total of every other expense for the wedding. This by no means says that the wedding reception wasn't top notch. Most people in town do not know that Jimmy was a prolific best selling author. I will not reveal his pen name at this time at his request. I don't think Melanie knew it until she accepted his proposal. People are beginning to question where the money came from to afford these incredible favors. I am sworn to secrecy. Being his best man, I will go to my grave before I leak it out to anyone in town. I think I better not even say what the favors were. They might serve as a clue to the titles of his books.
My city has a convention hall that is a mere 2 miles from my home. I often go their to see what is happening in the world of business. Many new ideas and products are first exposed to the public by way of these exhibits. I have been there so often that I no long have to pay for my entrance. The staff there assumes I am part of the establishment. I do get an ID badge so I look the part. Recently I approached the manager's desk and inquired about the process of running one of these shows. The gracious young lady at the desk told be that there is a ton more work to putting the exhibit on than meets the eye. She went on and on about the difficulty in coordinating all the different aspects involved. I had no idea how involved the process was. She said if it weren't for the fabulous and efficient event management software available today it would take three times the effort to pull it off. She said when she was apprenticing in the business only a few short years ago, people were putting in 15 hour days to accomplish what they do in 8 or 9 hour days today. This is especially nice since her team is on salary and not an hourly wage.
Let me see now. Flour is still one of the least expensive commodities at the supermarket. Then there's sugar which is somewhat reasonable. They follow these two up with a few eggs, butter and maybe some chocolate and raspberries. They mix them all together and end up with about a thirty or forty pound cake in three or four tiers. Next they pile up the tiers and prepare them to be iced. Lately, the word fondant has become popular(the more French words used, the more expensive the cake). Now the master decorator enters. If he or she is French, you are really in trouble. After the decorating is complete, the special selection from the array of wedding cake toppers is placed atop the cake. The masterpiece is ready for its presentation at the wedding reception. Pardon me, I left out one minute detail. The father of the bride is discretely handed the invoice for this creation. Three short minutes later, he is revived with smelling salts and the contract is just about complete. He calls his real estate broker and inquires about second mortgage rates. Well it isn't all that bad. Instead of the motorcycle he was planning on buying, he has a big cake. Who ever thought some flour, sugar, butter and eggs etc. would cost as much as the bike.
Putting together an event for a clothing manufacturer is about ten times as difficult as one might deem it to be. This is especially true when the venue is in the Big Apple. You know that the spotlight is very exposing when you are in the arena with the big boys. The biggest event of my life was about to happen. We had three months to do a years work. This was one of those moments in your work that absolutely would define your career. No room for mistakes in this gigantic scenario. I gathered my crew and laid it on the line. I told them that this was it and I had zero tolerance for mistakes and certainly wouldn't listen to any excuses. Failure was definitely not an option. I said if there are any complaints or new ideas, I needed to know them NOW! Jennifer, the newest member of my crew raised her hand. She sweetly and so quietly whispered "May I ask a question?" I sort of heard her and approved her request. She said "Why don't you use event management software?" I felt like an idiot but I had to pretend I knew of what she spoke. I walked her into my private office and grilled her. Today she is the youngest vice president in my company and will have my appreciation until my dying day. The event was a huge success and we finished with plenty of time to spare.
Life has its way of having you think that whatever evil or wrong doing that happens to you is unique to only you. All you have to do is pick up one newspaper or go online to one news site and this theory gets blown to smithereens. We are all subject to an endless list of maladies. Just the other day, my neighbor was burglarized. He came home and found his apartment in shambles. He was planning to move into his fiancees house right after the wedding. He had just about nothing of value in the apartment. Whoever the idiot was that broke in was probably very upset that the only things of value there were the inexpensive wedding favors. They were torn and strewn all over the bedroom and indicated the frustration of the moron that intruded. My neighbor decided to go public with the fact that this person had the IQ of a baboon. He figured if he insulted him or her enough he or she might tip their hand and expose themselves. The local TV station loved the idea and aired it for three nights. They are still waiting for some form of slip up so they can throw this animal into a cage where he or she belongs. They are referring to the thief as "The Favor King."
I have spent the best part of the last thirty years in foreign lands. My job as a researcher for a major oil company has allowed me to experience thousands of new things. It is really exciting to watch how different cultures celebrate different events. Sometimes I feel like I am a walking National Geographic magazine. I have been to the far corners of the globe, testing and seeking oil reserves. Now that I am retired and back in the US, I am observing many of the changes that have taken place here. One thing that isn't exactly monumental but very interesting is the advent of the new wedding cake toppers. I really get a kick out of the creativity that goes into them. No longer is the standard, hand-holding bride and groom the only thing atop the cake. Today they have an actual theme up there. I am only back a short while so I anticipate seeing many new ideas, since I believe we are a fast moving, ever-changing society. My only regret is a big one. I really miss having the family I might have had if I were stationed here at home. I have two siblings and five nieces and nephews, but I wish I had a wife and children of my own. I guess I should just be thankful for the family I do have.
There is the age-old question "What do you give someone who already has everything?" The question probably has a million answers, but most of the time, none come to mind. I was having a discussion with a Guatemalan national about the lifestyle of his family. What he was telling me was nothing less than fascinating. He was fifty-two years old and he said that his grandparents were living in the mountains in the western part of the country. He went on about how no one in the small village pays for food. Each family grows certain fruits or vegetables and others raise certain animals and there is a peaceful and totally non competitive exchange amongst them . He said they have never even heard of half the diseases that we know of. He thinks the average lifespan there is either 100 or close to it. They have no TV, computers, cell phones or anything technological. Every meal is like a festival and they can't even imagine a crime. I began to believe he was pulling my leg. I asked him what he was going to buy for his grandmother's 100th birthday. He replied "I don't know. She has everything she needs." How relative was that statement?" I'm getting my son and his wife event management software for their 10th anniversary and they still need a lot of other things. It's hard to believe I am talking about the same planet.
When I grew up my closest friend and schoolmate was Donald Wright. Donnie was the fifth child of Maria and Thomas Wright. They were known in the community as the King and Queen of beds. They got these titles by selling bedroom furniture from their Main Street store. Thomas started the business in the 80's with his brother Donald and soon they were appropriately tagged the "Wright Brothers." Ironically, neither one had ever been on plane. Maria on the other hand was previously a member of a traveling air circus. There are numerous stories of how they met. More than likely, none of them are true. She replaced her brother-in-law Donald when he was forced to retire at a young age by a debilitating illness. Donnie had to work at the store on weekends and even after school at times. I used to go over to the store and have lunch with him on Saturdays. One day, I noticed his dad poring over the books and I didn't see any computers in the office. I couldn't believe that they were still a pen and pencil operation. I plotted with Donnie to set them up with a computer. We gave them lessons on Saturdays and before they could even believe it themselves, they were actually literate with the furniture retail software they had installed. They called my parents and said we could have free mattresses for life.
My six-year-old granddaughter tugged on my arm the other day and said "Grandpa could I ask you a question?" I said "Leave me alone kid. You're bothering me." She expects me to tease her that way and totally ignores my request. When I dropped the teasing and asked her what she had on her mind, she said "I'm confused." She wanted to know why every time there is a story about the astronauts or outer space, the Earth is called the "Blue Planet." I told her it was because it was blue from outer space. Then she scratched her head and wanted to know why we keep asking people to keep it green. She said if we make it green, we should call it the "Green Planet." I tried to change the subject by asking her whether the chicken or the egg came first. It got worse. When I finally explained to her what we meant by green she said now I understand why the story on TV was talking about green printing. She went on about how green really meant clean to her. I don't know what I'm going to tell her when the good old birds and bees subject comes up.
As the world becomes more and more specialized, we must all cover our backs by dealing with only the most reputable of people. For every honest and decent person out there, there is one that might not be. I am just preaching caution. There is special concern in the area of sport marketing. All too often an aspiring young athlete can be taken in by some Johnny-Come-Lately, unscrupulous individual that presents himself as the next Jerry McGuire. The athlete can unknowingly be signing away a huge portion of his or her future earnings. There are people and places out there for these kids to contact and get advice from before any damage is done. This also holds seriously true for the entertainment industry. In my mind, the two are very much the same. Sports are a huge platform for entertainment. The courts are inundated with contractual cases involving swindled athletes and performing artists. I must make clear that in no way am I an official source on these matters. I simply hate when especially young innocent people are abused. If you are one of the people I am discussing, please get online or contact someone you trust to find out what protection is out there for you.
I have a hard time comprehending how companies like NAPB come up with an accurate valuation for their clients. I, in no way, am doubting their fine reputation. I am simply in the dark as to how they do it. When you consider the variables involved, this can not be a simple process. The task of coming up with a dental practice valuation involves several aspects. To start with there is the profit and loss statement of the practice. Then there is the collection of contracts that are needed for the employment of all the professionals. I wonder if they have a set value for the stations or chairs the practice has. The biggest item the way I see it is the reputation and public acceptance of the principals. The word in the industry, as far as I have been hearing, is that NAPB are masters at coming up with the fairest possible price for both the buyers and the sellers. In real estate, the saying is "A property is only worth what someone will pay for it." I don't see it working that way when it comes to selling something in the medical field that so much more dependent on who the seller is as opposed to what is being sold.I guess it always comes down to leaving each person to his or her individual talent and being thankful it exists.
The other day, the postman left one of those notices that a piece of registered mail that had to be signed for was to be picked up at the post office. I was concerned because I found this out from my wife while I was out of town on an important business trip. The problem was that she was also leaving that evening to see her mother, who wasn't doing very well. She received a call from her sister asking her to come there, just in case. It was evident that I would have to sweat out wondering if it was the contract from my biggest client that I have been expecting. I was tempted to call him, but decided I didn't want to seem to desperate. I didn't have the remotest idea when my wife would return and I had three days to go before I could get to the post office. I was having the toughest time attempting to be patient. Fortunately, my mother-in-law improved and my wife was able to go home the next day. She immediately went to the post office and signed for the mail. It turned out to be one of my niece's wedding invitations. My wife called Sara and asked why she sent out her invitation registered mail. She said that the entrees at the wedding were so expensive that she wanted to be positive about the headcount. I'm still on pins and needles regarding my contract.
Back in the 60's my friends and I always chipped in and had a storefront (as we called them back east) for a clubhouse. We had very strict rules for its use. We knew that our parents had a few spies in the neighborhood and we would be found out if we were doing anything our parents wouldn't approve of. One day we found these boxes in the dumpster in the alley behind our club. We opened one and it had a beautiful wedding gown in it. This enticed us to open the others. One was full of things like tiaras and wedding garters. Then we saw one marked "Special Wedding Favors." We got excited because we figured this box could be worth a lot of money. One of the guys stopped and said "Maybe we should tell one of our parents about this. These things might have been discarded by mistake." We couldn't argue with his concern so we told my parents. Coincidentally, my mom's sister lived in the same building our club was in. My mother took one look at the stuff and immediately knew they were from my aunt's wedding. She called her and met her there. She had no idea how the boxes got into the dumpster. She couldn't stop thanking me and my friends for finding them. I guess we'll never know who put them there. My dad thinks my uncle had something to do with it.
I can actually hear myself thinking of all kinds of accolades for thee reigning hero in my life. I hear myself singing songs of praise and adulation. Am I nuts? Yes I am absolutely bonkers over my experience with HCG. The only way to even half appreciate what I am going on about is to have been where I was and then be where I am now. When you are a child, it is easy to think of yourself as an equal if not, better than everyone. As you grow up and become responsible for yourself, you get this dose of reality tossed into your face. How you handle that dose is what will determine the type of person you will be. I handled it with food. Food was my be-all and end-all. I no longer felt I was as good as anyone else. Buying larger and larger sized clothing and avoiding mirrors at all cost became my way of life. When I finally realized I couldn't hide from myself, I made the big decision. I started my expedition to find the diet that would cure my ills. It wasn't happening. I became the model for the Duncan YoYo company. One little phone call from a concerned friend informing me about HCG changed my life. It brings tears to my eyes to know that someone cared enough about my life to give me the magic to make it great. This person will be my hero for life.
I just had a conversation with a gentleman who is going through the gut wrenching experience of watching his wife and daughter planning a wedding. He shares his e-mail account with his wife. That was mistake number one. He is constantly exposed to all the goings on and the drainage in his bank account. His daughter is twenty-five-years old ans has received a total of seven paychecks in the four years since she graduated college. He feels like an old tree being plucked of its leaves. In addition to his woes, his wife is asking him to sign for a second on their home to further support the wedding. I asked him how long this drama was going on. He said it has already been five months and the wedding isn't happening for another four months. He said the only bright spot in the entire scenario is that his daughter is an only child. I told him that is mistake number two. They obviously spoiled her because she is the only one. He began to describe this elaborate unity ceremony they were planning on having. He said it involved two huge candles and he keeps having nightmares of the candles burning all his money. I told him that was mistake number three. They aren't nightmares, they're reality. I guess he won't be buying that bass boat he wanted for his retirement.
I find it interesting that probably the most important part of our homes is almost never thought of and very infrequently seen. I am talking about our roofs. My brother-in-law works for a Dallas roofing company and says he is amazed at how many styles and different materials there are to select from for their clients. He had been working in the land development area of construction prior to moving to Dallas. He said it was difficult learning an entirely new trade. It worked out because he is a naturally gifted craftsman. After only eight months in roofing he is now a crew leader and is really pleased that he made the transition. His company, JNT Developers is regarded as the best of the best and he loves the way they treat the homeowners. He works mainly in residential roofing but the company is involved in commercial roofing as well. Being a New Jersey girl, my sister has taken just about all of those eight months to adjust to her new life in Texas. She is expecting her third child and wants my wife and I to come to Dallas to be the baby's godparents. The last time I was in Texas was when I went to the US Army's pharmacy school in San Antonio many years ago. I wonder if Dallas is similar. I guess I'll find out. The baby is due in three months.
Eighteen years ago our daughter was given the opportunity to study abroad by her university. It was our luck that the overseas campus was based in London. As you more than likely know, London is just about the most expensive place in the world to live. Since she was slotted to be there for seven months, all I could hear in my head was Ka-ching, Ka-ching. On the other hand we were proud she was selected and didn't want her to miss out on the opportunity. Prior to her leaving, we sat her down and went over what had to be done economically. We gave her a credit card and a limit of $600.00 per month to spend on her personal needs and entertainment. We didn't realize the near and present danger. Her closest girlfriend was accompanying her and this girl came from a very well-to-do family. To further complicate things, their dorm was only three short blocks from Harrods department store. It took her about three weeks to get us to push her budget to $800.00 per month. After all was said and done her $600.00 per month for seven months or $4200.00 ballooned to $11000.00 or over $1500.00 per month. I was at the point where I wished she would lose the credit card, in hopes that whoever found it would spend a lot less. She attempted the same type of thing when it came time for her wedding, eight years ago. She wanted to spend more money on her wedding bag favors than the favors themselves. We finally got her to comprehend the word "NO."
In everyone's life there comes a time where something pivotal can have a profound effect on the rest of your career. This was the case in my life when my company CEO called me in and told me that he was putting me in control of our trade show events. In particular, the biggest event in the company's history was a short six weeks away. He gave me a copy of the plan and shook my hand. After changing my sweat laden shirt, I went to work. I never felt this nervous in my life. This was the kind of opportunity you dream about. The one that could define who you are and how valuable you could be to the company. It's the type of responsibility that has you shaking in your boots. All I could do was to do my best. I set out pumping myself up and having endless conversations with myself. The work pile appeared to be impossible, but I had to force myself to think otherwise. I knew I had to get some good people under me and I was happy to know that the CEO trusted me with using all the company's resources. At this point, I went to IT and asked them to research different event management software for my project. Within two days, they assured me that the finest software available for me was from Event Ready. I wasted no time procuring it. Believe me, if it weren't for this software, I would have been sent back down to the mail room. The event was a huge success and the best part is that there is now a VP after my name on my office door.
When you are planning a wedding, everything that has to be done is merely a task on a list. You have little time or opportunity to assess each and every item. If you are diligent and have tons of energy and patience, it will get done. I would imagine people start with booking the church and reception hall. Obviously all else has to be coordinated with that date. Probably the invitations are next. This would be followed by the flowers, the cake, the food and so on. When I look back (way back) at my wedding, I remember my wife and her sisters taking care of just about everything. My responsibility was the church and reception hall. I obviously was done with my part very early on. As I watched and heard the progress the girls were making, I thought that there might be something I could do beyond the two bookings. It was then that I read about this new idea called a unity ceremony. Surely, the wedding itself was uniting me with my bride. But having a ceremony to symbolize unity and reinforce it visually sounded like something I knew she would appreciate and love as I would. I didn't tell her or her sisters about it. They found out as it was happening. They all wept and kept thanking me for the pleasant surprise throughout the evening.
When I was a mere twenty-two years old, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to visit our beautiful capitol. While there, I had several conversations with the staffs of our senators. Some of them were acting as what I perceived as tight-lipped. The rumor was that some senators were possibly going to be investigated for abuse of their franking privileges. I had no idea what franking was until I spoke with one staffer that had no problem spilling the beans. Senators have the use of the US mail system to mail, at will, any and all documents and such that pertain to their constituents. This privilege does not include any personal or business ventures of the senators. It seemed that a select few were ignoring this restriction and were using the mail for self-serving purposes. The direct mail services we have available today were far and few between. This meant that most of the mailings performed by these few violators was paid for on a full boat basis. This means that they had no concern that the public was paying the highest postal rates and they couldn't care less about it. The fact is that they had no right whatsoever using this privilege at all. In addition, they were abusing the time of their staffs while they were processing this illegal mail.
Few things grasp my interest at weddings like the wedding centerpieces. It really feels special to be sitting at a table chatting with friends and family and just having a great time. I will say that I appreciate the simpler type of centerpiece where I don't have to stand up to have a conversation with someone directly across the table from me. Very often people overdo it with gigantic arrangements that make you feel like you are in a duck blind or a jungle. My niece recently had simple bowls of floating blooms as centerpieces and they stuck me as being the perfect selection. As a matter of fact, her understated good taste was reflected in the entire reception. I never felt more comfortable and relaxed at a wedding reception. I must say, I really expected nothing less from this charming and sophisticated young woman. When I expressed my thoughts to my wife she said "Of course, she's from my side of the family." I know she was jesting, but the truth is if you knew my side of the family, you'd wholeheartedly agree with my Mrs. I can only hope that any future weddings that come up will result in the same level of enjoyment. My wife said it would only be possible if the wedding were once again on her side of the family. This time she wasn't jesting.
I take one glance at my granddaughter and I am immediately in touch with that warm part of my heart that is more capable of joy than anything else on Earth. She simply provokes this special feeling in just about anyone in her presence. When you combine her sweet essence with her magnetic charm, you are totally at her mercy. The beautiful thing is that she feels this gift, this power and she never abuses it. She is an emotional giant and it is actually enhanced by her diminutive size. Her small frame makes her all the more attractive. If I sound like a doting grandpa, excuse me, there's no controlling it. Last month my wife and I watched as Chloe walked down the aisle with the love of her life Michael. They looked so ethereal they appeared to be emanations. Later at the reception she went wild with excitement when she saw the wedding centerpieces her grandma and I gave her for her wedding. Each beautiful floral arrangement had a likeness of her and her new husband dancing in the center of the piece. I can't recall ever having such a wonderful time in all my 70 years. Just having some part in bringing such a person into the world is more than enough to make me feel like my purpose here on Earth is worthwhile. The dancers will also serve as her wedding favors.
Whenever I hear anything related to things like wedding invitations, I can feel my eyeballs getting ready to roll. I immediately revert back to the days when my daughter worked at a gift/stationery shop in the one and only Malibu California. It was located within feet of the beach and was often frequented by Hollywood celebrities. It was exciting for her. She would get excited to tell my wife and myself about the clientele she serviced each day. The pay wasn't the big allure. Since she was in college only two miles down the coast and the opportunity to rub elbows with the stars was more than enough for her as compensation. I once saw a bed linen set for sale in her shop for $199.00. Believe it or not, I saw the exact same set on display at Bed, Bath and Beyond for $24.99. Do the math and you can "guesstimate" what they charged for wedding invitations. You and I could probably fund an entire wedding for what they charged for the invitations alone. I do realize that the rent must be astronomical at their location. On the other hand they more than make up for that by hiring the college girls at a bargain. You should see the prices on the food at the Italian restaurant next door. Viva La Hollywood!
I have been noticing that the dental care segment of health care takes much more initiative in purporting prevention than the rest of general medical industry. What I appreciate is that other than recommending scheduled visits, they spend all this time and effort on things that work against their revenue. I am not saying physicians don't give you warnings and guidelines. I am saying they more or less are more concentrated on cures and treating symptoms as opposed to placing more attention on prevention. Mind you, I am not a scientific source nor have I done any considerable amount of research on these matters. I am only relating a personal observation which may or may not have any substance. Every so often, I see a dental practice for sale, I never see a medical office for sale. This, in its way, supports my theory. I would like to get more involved in some legitimate research into this situation. I don't know if it will serve any real purpose other than affording me the satisfaction of discovering how close I am to the facts. I don't anticipate my study will affect anything. I just feel that if any attention at all is brought to it, there could be a possible refocusing done from all the good and conscientious doctors, I know are out there.
It was very difficult living under the looming lies told to my daughter by an evil but cunning adversary of mine and my wife's. For nearly seven years we were victims of the viciousness of this sub-human individual whose purpose in life was to ruin ours. To this day, we have no idea why he holds this vendetta toward us. We never knew exactly how he convinced our daughter that whatever we did was done directly to ruin her life. Fortunately for the world at large, this demon was electrocuted on the job and can no longer spread his evil. Three months after the incident, my wife tought it to be an opportunity to get some answers as to what went down those seven years ago. She attempted to reach Mary four or five times, to no avail. Then I got the idea that her best friend Lexi would possibly intervene. Lexi said she was sworn to secrecy but never agreed with Mary's accepting anything this demon could say as the truth. Here we had a friend believing us, but not our daughter. This intensified the tragedy in my mind. Although it was still a big plus to know that Lexi was on our side. We finally had a crack in the ice. She apparently got to Mary on some level because Mary contacted her mother and requested a meeting. My wife broke down with a river of tears. They met and Mary said she must have been out of her mind doubting us and would not reveal what this creature had told her. She parted by saying she just mailed out her wedding invitations and there was one in the mail for us.
It isn't every day that commoners like myself get the opportunity to attend the wedding of very notable people. I have seen many spectacular affairs given for everything from birthdays to testimonials. Unfortunately, they were only on my TV. Now I was about to experience how the other half (maybe tenth) live. To begin with, it was a wedding reception I was attending. I got the invite through quite a fluke. It turned out that the bride was a student of my father and had promised him an invite to her wedding before she even knew the guy she would marry. In the interim, dad had passed away and I replied on his behalf and told her the bad news. She, upon receipt of my reply, suggested that I attend in his memory. She went on about how he meant so much to her and that he would be happy to know I was there in his place. I excitingly agreed. The invitation was a work of art and the address for the reception was hard to believe. It was actually at the estate of a well known billionaire. Soon after, I received a communication telling me there would be a limo escorting me to the wedding. This was really getting exciting. What really blew my mind was that upon entering the gates of the estate, we had to drive almost a mile to get to the actual party room. When it came time for the wine wedding favors to be doled out, I sat back and tried to absorb the evening. When I arrived home, I opened my favor and stared down at a bottle of Crystal champagne. I'll never open it.
Finally, following three consecutive years of skipping my vacations, I decided to throw caution to the wind and treat myself to a full month getaway. I was actually craving the sun. Combine the sun with ocean breezes and I'm in. I booked my air travel and hotel room at a wonderful resort in Central America. Counting the days until I left was excruciating. The night before I left was entirely sleepless. I figured I could sleep on the plane. It didn't happen. Upon arrival at the resort, the driveway to the entrance hit me like Mother Nature was absolutely showing off. As I and this young couple sharing my shuttle entered the great reception room, we were handed a luscious cocktail. I could feel my body transforming into a mellow state. I immediately befriended the couple who were, incidentally, there for their destination wedding. We arrived on a Friday and the wedding was planned for Sunday. The next day, they invited me to their wedding. I was more than happy to accept. That afternoon I wandered off into the nearby village and became more and more impressed by the floral display in every direction. I couldn't name many of the flowers but I knew what I would get the couple for a gift. I remember them being equally enamored by the flowers when we arrived. I bought, possibly, the most beautiful floral arrangement ever and had it sent to their suite. They loved it almost as much as I loved the wine wedding favors they gave out at the reception.
The song goes like this, "If you want to be happy for the rest of your life, never make a pretty woman your wife." Never before was that better advice than when David chose Martha to be his wife. She was so alluring that this guy went through endless confrontations with all the ogling and the remarks he so often overheard. Their courtship was like a minefield. David was an attractive guy but always felt like he was in over his head when in public with Martha. She in no way flaunted her beauty. She didn't have to. She would look fabulous wrapped up in a roll of tar paper. David began to mellow out in his way of handling of her getting so much attention. Then the wedding day came. Everything was going like it should. The ceremony was warm and tender. The reception was rolling along from the toasts to the cake. Dinner was way above average and the music was fun. As the evening sailed along and the open bar was creating comedians and lovers, the popular tradition of the wedding garters was approaching. When it came time for Martha to remove the garter, David began to slip back into protective mode. This was definitely spurred on by about three of the onlookers who had more than a few drinks and more than a few comments regarding Martha. In a matter of seconds a melee of all melees broke out. Suffice it to say it ended up terribly. The honeymoon had to be postponed pending the time it would take for David's wounds to heal. He wasn't the only one hurting. In addition there was the matter of reparation for the damage done to the reception hall.
The first time I heard about wedding favor bags, I thought they were giving out purses and pocketbooks. I never thought they were talking about the need to bag the favors. As time went on, I warmed up to the idea. This happened mostly because my cousin Shelly gave out her favors in a tote bags from Yankee Stadium. Now that girl knew how to get my attention. They were in good old Yankee blue and white and had photos of A-Rod and Jeter on either side. They will always remain my favorite bags ever. The problem was that her wedding was in Boston. If anything would cause a riot at a wedding it would be the mingling of Yankee and Sox fans. As they say in the Big Apple, "This girl has chutzpah!" To compound the tension, the reception was held during a playoff series between the two most intense rivals in the game of baseball. The Yankees were in town with a two game to none lead in the series. I already had my tie and jacket removed anticipating the extra-curricular activity to come. Then suddenly she pulled out another box of favors in Red Sox bags. You could feel the anxiety taper off by the second. I will tell you without reservation that if this girl ever runs for public office, I'll throw my hat(a Yankee hat) in the ring to be her campaign manager. By the way, the TV was blasting at the reception with the game on that night and my Yankees lost in extra innings.
If there is one thing you can count on Jerry for it is that you always know he will go outside the box at every opportunity. For this reason, I was absolutely certain that something weird would happen when he announced his wedding with Connie would be at the beach. To my surprise, everything was going along in a normal fashion. The wedding ceremony was by-the-book. The flowers seemed normal. Connie was in a beautiful, stark white gown. I began to think we were all in for a perfectly common affair. When Jerry's brother backed his pick up onto the sand, I felt a touch of the old boy in the air. Sure enough, Tommy unloaded about 50 shovels and Jerry told all the guys that we had to dig to find our beach wedding favors. You could see that familiar glow in his eyes as we all rolled up our pants and removed our shoes and socks. He further enticed us by telling us that one of the gifts was very valuable. But we each had to quit as soon as we unearthed one gift. Before you knew it, the girls were grabbing for shovels and all mayhem broke out. The laughter became deafening. Keep in mind, the treasure hunt started long after everyone had more than their share of champagne. Downtown at police headquarters, we had a hard time explaining the holes at the beach. By the way, there were no favors.
According to all the reports I have been hearing, the recession is over in the minds of the media and the government spin doctors. I am happy for the majority if there is any truth at all in these claims. I, for one, have seen no indication that my small business has experienced any relief whatsoever. I can honestly say that for at least two and a half years now, I have been dangling from a rather fine thread to hold on and revitalize my business. I have tried discounting my product line. I advertise in barely affordable publications. I even have one of those poster guys at the corner twirling his heart out. I will say there is an indication that I'm gaining a little ground. The progress needs to be accelerated soon or it won't be enough to save me. I discuss this with anyone I feel might have even the slightest insight as to what else can be done. Fortunately, I am very hopeful since my brother-in-law's friend informed me about b2b telemarketing. He explained how he turned to it as a last resort about six months ago and his revenue has nearly tripled. He told me to contact this firm called SalesFish and see what they think they can do for me. There is no question, I will absolutely take his advice. For the first time in over two years, I feel like I am able to take a deep breath. I really feel this next step will save the day.
When the invitation to a distant cousin's wedding arrived in the mail, I couldn't remember his name. It was my wife who thought it rang a bell and that she had it on the tip of her tongue. Within minutes she spouted out "He's your third cousin on your dad's side." I was amazed that she could come up with that. I told her that I didn't see any reason to attend. She said it would be nice to go even if I wasn't that close to him. Her thoughts were that I would be able to see many other relatives while we were there. I agreed and we replied accepting the invitation. Little did I know that he was the CEO of one of the biggest financial institutions in Germany. He was fifty-two years old and marrying for the first time. His wife was all of twenty-six years old and from what she looked like on the internet a stunning beauty. I imagined she would have to be since she was Miss Indiana a short four years ago. A week before the wedding we were sent first class airline tickets and the name of the limo service that would bring us to the wedding. I must say that it was beginning to look like something really exciting. My wife strutted around with one of those "I told you so" looks on her face. Arriving at the church, I was awestruck. I expected Kate and William to be at the altar. The reception was something out of an F.Scott Fitzgerald novel. I didn't know there was a palace this grand in the United States, much less Indiana. Everything from the chargers to the wedding flutes were pure silver. I was afraid to lift the flute for the toast.
The big day was swiftly approaching. The entire building where I work was buzzing like a million yellow jackets. Management was laying it all on the line. All of us employees were lectured a hundred times as to how vital, important and critical this conference was to the very survival of our company. Everything had to be done to perfection. We had a zero tolerance law in effect. One little faux pas could take us all down. It was at this point I was able to score the most points ever with my superiors. I fortunately was paying attention to my ten-year-old nephew while having dinner at my sister's home the other night. He was going on about how these big companies implement the latest in event management software to not only reduce the tedious segments of planning events, but also serve as a monitor of the various elements of the process. I jumped at the opportunity to not only present this to the brass, but I also related the where's, who's and how's that I learned from my nephew. I couldn't believe how well received my ideas were. I was offered a promotion on the spot. I don't know how far something like this is going to take my career. I will tell you one thing I know for sure. Some ten-year-old boy is going to have the spiffiest mountain bike in the neighborhood real soon. My wife advised me that I had better run it by my sister first.
In everyone's life, there comes a time to drop all the pretenses and charades. It is a time to strip away the protection and let the real you be exposed and drop the fear of letting all know who and what you are. I can think of no better time to let this happen than during the performance of a unity ceremony. It would be wonderful if we could all allow this to be a permanent state as opposed to only when there is a profound calling for it. I could only imagine what the world would be like if we all acted exactly like the real people we really are. I lost my sister when she was only 34 years old. She was one of those pure-hearted non-restricted people. Not only was she 100% proud of who she was, she also accepted others for exactly who they were. I could never express in words how badly I miss her. The world was a much better place with her in it. The greatest compliment I have ever received in my life is when one of her friends said that I reminded him of her. Please don't confuse this with my advocating being one of those people that is so outspoken that they feel they have the right to be as critical as they wish whether or not their words may hurt someone. I am advocating the kinder softer side that is in all of us. In relation to the unity ceremony, I would like to comment that the opening of your spirit and giving it the power to become one with the one you love is a rare and beautiful blessing.
I love to see innovation. I don't particularly care what field it is in, I simply enjoy positive change. I feel that it is in our nature to make things better as often as we can. I am a freak for things like all the techie stuff the new cars are equipped with. I even go as far as to finding the advent of wedding favor boxes to be charming. You can imagine how much fun it is for someone like myself to absorb all the incredible special effects in movies these days. I have no clue how most of these things are done. I simply sit back and root for them to keep coming. I think it was in the original "Terminator" film that they had the scene of the character coming up from the checker board floor. Let me tell you that I was totally blown away by the computer effects used in that film. From the simplest changes to the most intricate one, I am the world's biggest fan. Don't get me wrong. There are negative changes as well. I would like to remind you that I did say I love positive change. It must also be said that there are traditions and customs that I hope will never change. I have a long list of what I hope never changes. Things like peace, love and charity headline that list.
Some people are wising up and jumping the gun. They discovered that the mad rush in the wedding industry is heavily centered in the month of June. The smart ones are planning their weddings for early spring or mid-summer. It isn't the 100% cure-all, but it does help lighten the load to a certain extent. It increases the odds of timely deliveries and avoidance of deadline stress. For example, if the bridal shop has a long list of gowns to be made and only a few weeks to produce them, you could be biting your nails hoping yours is done on time. The bride shouldn't have a seamstress following her down the aisle with pins in her mouth. Likewise, the groom wouldn't want to be wearing a tuxedo that hasn't been dry cleaned and two different size patent leather shoes. Obviously, these things don't happen very often. The idea here is to avoid even worrying about them happening. This is why I was pleased for my sister when she mailed out her wedding invitations for her May wedding. It also was kind of a kick that her wedding day is on my birthday. I can see the future celebrations being a lot of fun. I am a bit disappointed that I'm not in the bridal party. I didn't really expect to be, since I am not a close friend of my brother-in-law to be, yet. I have a feeling we'll be getting a lot closer in the very near future. According to my other two sisters, he is a stand-up guy and they couldn't say enough good things about him. Being the only boy among four siblings has taught me that most of us guys know about half or less than the girls do. Women, for whatever reason, always seem more multifaceted than men. At least that's what my sisters keep telling me. Also being the youngest limits my latitude, so I do a lot of ego shining, if you know what I mean. I am in a no win situation with three to one odds against me all the time. Having said that, I wouldn't trade my sisters for anything in the world. I enjoy being the youngest because the onus of being protective falls on them since I'm not their "Big Brother". Every time my dad and I try to make family plans, the four women intercede and take over the reins. I wonder what it would be like if the numbers were the other way around. Knowing the strength of each of my sisters, it would probably take just one to control things anyway.
Here we are in March already. The horns and whistles of the New Year's celebration have barely left my head and before I knew it, I was writing the date with a 3. My father warned me that as I got older, time would have its way of flying by. When I was a teenager, time was my enemy. I would either be impatiently awaiting for that driver's license or for that bell to ring that would let me out of school. This supports my argument that nature has it all wrong. Time should be slowing down during the later years of our lives, not when we are young and desperately begging for it to move on. I bring up the month of March because it is in this month that the preparation for the June weddings go into full swing. To my 22 year old daughter, the time is dragging and she absolutely is pacing the floor impatiently longing for her day in June to arrive. On the other hand, her mother and I are frantically wanting the time to slow down because of all that has to be done. Our daughter, Danny, was one of those little girls that walked around the house with a wedding veil on for years. She has played wedding so many times, we have about ten reels of film with her as a bride. We are lucky that she waited until the ripe old age of 22 to actually get married. In the meantime her fiancee, Jeff, probably would have liked to wait until his career was more established. But, he knew if he asked her to wait any longer, he would have to trash those wedding favors his grandmother made for him to give away at his wedding. The fact that Danny is so impatient and restless doesn't in any way mean that she is exactly helpful in planning the wedding. After getting the fitting for her gown, she went into wait and see mode. That is wait and see her mom and me take care of everything else. I watch my wife on the phone and out running errands and it is really beginning to bother me. I do have to take some responsibility for spoiling our little girl, but enough is enough. I feel a tad guilty when my wife gives me one of those "I told you so" looks. The truth is when you have an only child there is a real tendency to do a little (actually a lot) too much for them. I wonder if she'll become more responsible when she is out there with Jeff and away from our home.
How many times have you asked yourself what you wish you would have done with your life? How many times was your answer "I'd do everything the same?" If you are like many of us the answer to the first question is "Several." The answer to the second question is "Never." Hopefully, you will accept that I am not asking these questions having to do with anything financial. I am asking you to probe deeply into who you are and what it is you might have done to feel the the most satisfaction out of your life. Is there a role model that you, yourself would like to have emulated more closely? Is there a certain profession you wish you would have pursued? These aren't always finger tip answers. They require some real self assessment and evaluation. You may very well be content with your life. I am not reproaching who you are. I am simply suggesting that you have an opportunity to remind yourself of what makes you feel happy and complete. For all I know you are and if you aren't, this may send you in a direction that will cause you to be. We all need to examine ourselves. Sometimes we get so caught up in judging others that we neglect to size up ourselves. Think back to a time when you really felt like the world was your oyster. Maybe it was when your first child was born. Maybe it was that unity candle ceremony when you and your wife were observing the flame of one candle joining the flame of the other causing you to be full of hope and excitement. I'm asking you to get in touch with those feelings and mentally caress them. Believe it or not they are still accessible. Ask yourself if you really want to leave this world with that "bucket" still filled to the brim. Ask your family if there is a void that you could fill. Trust me. I am telling all of this to myself as I relate it to you. I too need to do some re-evaluating and get a few ducks in order. Our time here is a mere flash in the eyes of eternity. To waste even one minute of it would be a great injustice. I truly feel that it is not too late to change for the better. There are many reasons to embrace this gift of life we were given. The blessing of free will that accompanies it is not to be taken for granted. It is our responsibility to do the most we possibly could with it.
Leonard could be the poster child for thrift. He finds every single way to cut corners. If there is a penny to be saved, he will sniff it out. Now that he has broken down and decided to propose marriage to Helen, he has really become a super snoop. You could walk through the park in the city square and find that every leaf that has fallen all autumn long has been overturned. Yes, he was there. He is the only city dweller I have known to be a carrier of a Geiger Counter to comb the city streets for coins. In high school we dubbed him "Ebey" short for Ebenezer for obvious reasons. If he were running the government, China would owe us money. He has actually been known to squeeze blood from a stone. Enough about Ebey. As fate would have it he fell in love with Helen. Helen spends more money in a beauty salon in one visit than Donald Trump spends on jet fuel. I can't wait to see how this works out. I heard from Helen's girlfriend that they were working on paring down the items on the things to do for their wedding. This would be like me challenging Euclid to a math battle. He wanted to have a vegetarian dinner served. She wanted Chateau Briand. He wanted to use his I-pod for music. She put in a call for Coldplay. It went on and on that way. The only thing she agreed with eliminating was the wedding favor boxes. What's funny is, the reason she went along with that was he wanted to use the boxes his brother had left over from his wedding ten years ago. What Leonard doesn't know is that Helen is about to inherit an obscene amount of money and all her requests aren't just to bug him. She will get what she wants. I only found out about her bonanza recently from her same girlfriend. We will find out in the near future whether Leonard really respects the dollar, like he says or will he jump on the philanthropist's band wagon when the slot machine pays the jackpot? My money is on the money. It has its way of dominating things. I hope Helen doesn't go too wild with the Benjamins. If I'm wrong about Ebey and he remains frugal, watching her in action could give him a heart attack.
I never thought I would be involved in something so treacherous. I always thought these things could only happen on TV and they would never threaten my neck of the woods. The fact is these things do happen and they happen to people like you and me every day all over the world. It was a normal wedding reception at our local Elk Lodge. The tables were set with beautiful wedding centerpieces and dinnerware. Josephine and Will were dating for many years and no one expected them to actually get married. The story was that Will had a few too many one night and popped the question. The funny part was that Josephine said no and thought that would be the end of it. The "NO" got to Will and he persisted. So, there we were having a great time when one of the guests fell over someone on the dance floor while smoking a cigar. He got up and apologized and went on his way. A few minutes later there were screams of FIRE! FIRE! throughout the room. It was about ten degrees outside and the cloak room was obstructed by flames. Everyone was running out into the cold and screaming. The firemen showed up and we all were given blankets and didn't want to leave until we knew everyone was safe. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case. I kept looking for this little five year old boy that I remember running around the place having a ball. When I didn't see him in the crowd outside I panicked and ran back in. It was then I saw him huddled over what turned out to be his mom. She was struck by something from overhead and subsequently didn't make it. She was the only fatality, but there were quite a few others who were injured. The little guy was taken to safety and was holding on to one of the wedding centerpieces that his mom was planning to take home. My heart is still aching for him and his mom. I was told he was now living with his aunt and uncle since his dad left them when the tyke was only two.
Talk about two things being placed on Earth and being meant for each other. What better suited combination than girls and flowers. One way to prove my point would be to think of things like flower girl baskets. I have never heard of flower boy baskets, have you? Another thing would be the fact that there are many girls' names that are derived from flowers. I don't know too many guys named Rose or Daisy. Let's face it, the fairer sex has a whole lot more to compare with the beauty exhibited by flowers than men do. Sometimes I wonder if some of the names of flowers came from the female or the flower. The history of how names came about has always interested me. I was told that many of my ancestors were given the wrong names on their papers when they came from Europe and were processed through at Ellis Island in New York. Supposedly, the names of the cities they came from were mistakenly inserted on forms as their last names instead of their actual names. They had no choice but to keep these cities' names because their visas were used to identify them and confirm their legal presence in this country. Consequently many of us are here with the wrong names and may never know our real names. As time went by this was corrected, but some of the original immigrants never changed their names to their family names. Getting back to women and flowers having more in common than men and flowers, I am only a voice of one. If you disagree, so be it. The world even says that woman old and young can dress like flowers. Take a close look at fashion all through the years and I think you'll be forced to see I'm right. I don't remember when I last wore pastel pants or lavender shoes. My closet does not harbor sixty-five pairs of shoes. I get my hair cut, not colored and styled. Don't think for one second that I am knocking women. I am definitely a guy who wouldn't be able to live without them. This especially applies to my lovely wife of forty-eight years. Besides, my granddaughter is the absolute indisputable joy of my life. Talk about girls and flowers being akin to each other, she is a special flower.