Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Sunrise over Clinton Boulevard

When was the last time you did something a little wild and reckless? A little out of the ordinary? Out of your comfort zone? It was about 12 hours ago here.

I highly recommend doing different stuff every now and then. I even belong to a group on FaceBook entitled "Do something new every day," and though you wouldn't believe how difficult it is to come up with something new to DO every day, it's a pretty neat idea.

If you haven't yet seen the exquisite ring on her hand, I'll just announce here in my little corner of the Interwebs that our good friends John and Ying are getting married. We are very excited. And I am over the moon to be the matron of honor. Ying's dream wedding venue was Mynelle Gardens, and I have to admit it is absolutely gorgeous.

Try to imagine a more beautiful setting in which to get married. Go on. I'll wait.



I can't either.

Here's the deal: the registrar will only take reservations for 2010 starting today, December 1, at 8 AM. But John was scheduled to be in the OR, and Ying was going to be out of town on an audit. I knew their date would be relatively popular, and I wasn't willing to let them miss out on something as gorgeous as that. So it was up to me, the third in command, the MOH.

The gardens were established almost 100 years ago and are now enclosed with thick brick walls and wooden fences. It's not that they are in a bad part of town - they were out in the sticks when they were first planted - it's just a little rough in the dark. I remember once reading in Maxim that one of the most dangerous things a guy can do is drive around in downtown Jackson, Mississippi, at 2 AM. But I'm not a guy, so there you go. Still, there was no way I was going in that early, but when I pulled into the parking lot at 5:45, there was already a vehicle there.

It had tinted windows. The engine was running. There was someone inside. Oh no! What if she wanted John and Ying's date? I knew from a prior visit that the rules are truly first-come-first-served, and whoever got in that door first at 8 AM would get her date. Glad I dressed in layers on this 38 degree morning, I pocketed Mike's Smith & Wesson, grabbed my coffee and John and Ying's money, and parked my butt directly in front of the door.

Such a Black Friday move! Who was this Fran? When did I become the wedding vigilante? But I knew there was no reasonable way whoever was in that car would come between me and a mission accomplished. It sure was dark out there. Cold too. I made sure to sit low so I'd be a tough target for a drive-by, tucked my hair under my hat and into the neck of my coat so I'd look less like a girl, and prepared to wait it out.

About 15 minutes later, I watched carefully and palmed the butt sticking out of my pocket as the car door slowly opened. One booted foot hit the pavement. Then another. A large figure dressed in black unfolded itself from the driver's seat opposite my side of the car. The skull cap on his head must have reached about 6 and a half feet in the air. The wall of man shook his head, stumbled slightly, lumbered around the door, and proceeded to violently blow his nose.

So I loudly and cheerily called out a, "GOOD MORNING!"

The reaction was as much instant as it was gratifying. I didn't realize that he didn't know I was there, but it sure was funny. He jumped, yelped, and did a little dance. He might have even wet himself, poor guy. "What the hell are you doing there?!? Don't you know this is no place for a woman?" To which I retorted, "I have protection! What's your excuse?" To which HE replied, "I weigh 250 pounds."


As soon as we made introductions and determined that we were there for two different dates, we sat side by side and chatted, both cold butts against the door.

It's neat how God sends angels to watch over us when we need them. Some might say Alan's presence was coincidental, but I choose to believe we were there together this morning for a reason. Just before dawn a much more ominous shadowy figure walked up. I had noticed him walking by in the other direction, so I knew he had double-backed to approach us. He emerged from the shadows into the porch light to warn us: "You should not be here at this time of night: somebody is bound to jump you." He repeated the warning in different ways a few times, but Alan and I thanked him for his time and watched him retreat and board the bus.

When dawn broke, I found myself saying a little sincere prayer of thanks. More cars had pulled up and more brides- and grooms-to-be joined us in line. Risky or not, I knew I had done the right thing and was glad for it. I held on to Alan's deposit and saved his spot while he crossed the street to bring us back sausage biscuits. It was a party in the parking lot. When 8:00 rolled around, I was the first one in the door, and John and Ying now have their wedding date and venue. It was a good morning.

Oh, and hey. His name was Alan. Wow. Thanks Kid.

Photos courtesy of Wendell Berry, New Southern View, and SF Weekly.


L said...

Ying couldn't have picked a better MOH. How many folks do you know that would pack heat in a shaddy section of town to secure the wedding location? This makes for a great story. Ying has got to put this in her wedding album.

Love that your friend's name was Alan. It was meant to be.

Katy Agnew said...

FYI... This sounds like something Cha Cha would do. I'm just saying...

sararevell said...

You are a fantastic writer and I love this story! Pretty impressive, MOH. Pretty impressive.


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