Sunday, September 09, 2007


You know that you’re attending a wedding in the South when the reception features a Grits Bar.

I shit you not.

You would go up to the Grits Bar, where a server, resplendent in white Chef’s Toque, would ladle steaming grits into a Martini glass. You would then direct him to add your choice of toppings, choosing from among sour cream, butter, sliced scallions, shredded bacon, and cheddar cheese.

One of those things was a meal in itself, but there was lots more. Smoked salmon with mini-bagels. Carved turkey breast and ham. Iced, boiled shrimp. Fried scallops. Little puff pastries, stuffed with what appeared to be beef brisket. An impressive collection of top-drawer cheeses. Fruit.

[Note that I am enumerating what was available, not what I ate.]

And, thankfully, there was an open bar. With liquor drinks. Not something to be taken for granted at a Baptist wedding, although these were clearly not old-school Hard-Shell Baptists. Hey, they had a band...with dancing!

[Old joke: Why don’t Baptists screw standing up? Because it looks too much like dancing.]

In case you are curious as to just whose wedding this was, we were there because the groom is the younger son of friends of long standing. Long standing, in this case, being over 25 years, dating back to our first Tour of Duty in Atlanta.

Back then, pretty much our entire neighborhood - a disparate mixture of locals and corporate transferees from all over the country - ended up becoming quite friendly. No, it wasn’t Peyton Place - it was not that kind of friendly - but friendly in the sense of forming bonds that, in many cases, have persisted for decades, surviving relocations and other challenges.

The ladies, in fact, still get together for dinner every month...and the husbands see each other on regular occasions. Laura Belle and Don, for example, are part of this little group, and they are among our very closest friends.

Over the years, the group has seen plenty of changes. People have moved away and, in some cases, come back. One couple, alas, divorced. We lost one member to cancer three years ago; another fought that battle and (keyn ayin hora) won. Children have been born, grown up, and in some cases moved away. But this is the first one of the group’s children to formally Tie the Knot. It’s a milestone, to be sure.

I’ll post some photos when I get a chance.

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