Want to know the recipe for a crazy adventure? One scoop love struck Montana-grown bride to be, two scoops very pregnant home-body little sister, one April wedding in Manhattan, blend it all up with a fun-loving, party animal Hispanic family-of-the-groom and you’ve got your self one eventful weekend! But that’s not all…
It started around Christmas when my older sister, City Mouse called to tell me the most romantic engagement story. Which I’m not sure if I should tell here or save for another Country Mouse-City Mouse blog topic showdown…I will just say, I was in the tractor feeding cows with my husband when she called from her new fiancé’s family’s home in Connecticut after a day in a Christmas adorned time square to tell me she was going to marry Hot Sauce, her spicy, Hispanic, geek chic, funny, intelligent boyfriend! I squealed! Literally. My husband jumped in his tractor seat.
The months and wedding planning flew by and soon we found ourselves coming down to it. The wedding was to be in the Manhattan Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I was thrilled to be able to go but had one hang up. My 1 and 1/2 year old wild little cowboy I would have to leave behind. And he was at a very delicate and clingy stage but it had to be done. The visual of a 6 and 1/2 month pregnant me, several bags of luggage, most likely wearing heels, trying to wrangle my little wrangler toddler boy through an airport, let alone manhattan, most truthfully and literally gave me night terrors.
So I went alone, leaving my son with his dad. And I boarded the plane from Billings. Not gonna lie, I got several looks flying in the physical state I was in. I may have only been 6 1/2 months along due to a genetically short torso, I tend to look full term by about 5 months! But I made it. Even though the flight attendants may have looked at me with apprehension. I landed at JFK and found my mom there waiting. Her flight had landed shortly before mine. She and I would be the only family able make the long trip to NYC but we were wide open for adventure.
We spent the next day taking on the big city ourselves. My sister was solidifying last minute wedding plans so we braved the shuttle, train, taxi, and subway, whatever it took to get us in and out, underneath and around Manhattan. It was thrilling seeing places I had only read about or seen in movies. Grand Central Station for one. Not at all like anything I have ever experienced…the biggest train station I had ever been to prior to that was more like a grey hound bus station. My mother and I spent the entire day stumbling through a lost, but eager and excited stupor to visit places like St. Patrick’s Cathedral, The Manhattan Apple Store, 5th Avenue Saks (I didn’t dare go in…as I doubt I fit the dress code just to window shop there let alone afford anything), the Plaza Hotel(where I was starstruck just know Marilyn Monroe had been in the same Building, let alone lobby, maybe even bathroom! Once upon a time) and of course Central Park. We had vendor hotdogs, got my portrait drawn by a street artist and ate the BEST gyro I have eaten in my life! We walked through a fraction of a corner of Central Park and shopped four…yes FOUR different H&M stores within only a handful of blocks. Sadly I couldn’t find children’s or maternity in any of them but later put together that most manhattan shoppers aren’t shopping for stretchy pants, nursing tops or hauling their kiddos around in that part of the city. But FOUR H&Ms! I was in heaven! Because the nearest H&M store to me back home is a 9 hour drive away!
When the day of the wedding rolled around, my mom and I got dressed early that morning knowing we wouldn’t be back to the hotel until after the day’s and night’s festivities. We were all dolled up, me in my all white top and skirt (which I hunted and hunted and hunted for and miraculously still fit 6 weeks after I bought it in time for the wedding…a lot can change in that amount of time when you have a bun in the oven!) I had a yellow sash that my sister sewed and cute yellow sandals to match. I hairsprayed my curls into stiff but efficient ringlets and crossed my fingers that the humidity would be kind. My mom and I waited in the lobby for the groom’s mother and sister to pick us up as it would be faster to carpool with them, and less hectic and dirty (in all white) than taking the train.
They picked us up and we were happily joking and laughing on our way to see our two widdle wuv birds wed in the Manhattan Temple.
And then the hood began to ooze smoke out of its clentched jaw.
And then the car started making odd noises.
And then the car slowly erched to a hault.
And we were stuck.
Cars honking,speeding past, flipping the bird.
We were stuck in the middle of the freeway.
In the Bronx.
On the way to my sisters wedding.
All I could think is, “if we were in montana some nice old rancher would stop to help us!” But here, with my uncultured white girl, agricultural country girl, terrified of the unknown big city, little simple mind was praying “nobody stop. Nobody stop. Nobody stop” but then a car pulled up and two big Hispanic guys came up. My sister’s mother-in-law and sister-in-law to be rattling in Spanish to these guys. I of course had no clue what was going on, my archived high school and college Spanish language knowledge flew right out the window. But I soon saw they were there to help. They couldn’t do much but soon the police were there telling us we could be in the middle of the road. Duh. As if we wanted to be there. They finally got the car off the road and the cops were still telling us, “you can’t be here.” I figured, “oh sure, we will just hitch hike. All dressed up for a wedding. I am sure some nice friendly gangsters will gladly drive us into downtown manhattan. Or we will just get mugged.”
So the tow truck came. Told us to get back in the car. And the tow truck towed us. INSIDE the car and dropped us off at a sketchy little gas station in the Bronx. We waited another hour and the grooms father and brother finally made it through lunch hour traffic to pick us up.
Despite all the anxiety, more on my part being a very wary, hormonal, pregnant country girl, we made it to manhattan and boy if I have never been more happy to see the gleaming gold on Angel Moroni that adorns the top steeple of the temple. Once inside, the business and hustle of Manhattan outside felt like earths, and moons, and planets away from us. It was quiet and reverent and sanctuary inside. I was able to sit with friends and family to see my lovely sister (emotional but relieved as they had postponed the wedding 2 hours so we could be there…) and her perfect match be sealed for all time and all eternity. It was wonderful.
Following the ceremony we went out into the city and walked though Central Park for pictures of all us sisters and brothers and brides maids, with the bride and groom. The newly weds split a heart shaped pretzel from the street vendors, stopped to give Our respects to the strawberry fields memorial, and rode back to the temple in a bike pulled carriage. Ate some messy but delicious street vendor gyros and on to the reception!
I had no idea what I was in for when we pulled up to the church. But we were instantly greeted by caterers offering us coconut shrimp, chicken skewers, won tons, and all kinds of delicious appetizers. We went into the reception area glowing with colorful paper lanterns, and 1,000 paper cranes my sister folded herself in rainbow colors! I had never seen a church gym transformed into such a party scene. We had an incredible dinner, and were just about to eat cake when we heard music playing. Then in through the door comes a full, live mariachi band! What?!
There was dancing, dancing, and more dancing! Much of the dancing being done by my sister’s close Montana and Utah friends who had been able to attend! It was hilarious and wonderful to see a little group of white folks boogying right along side the crowds of hispanic family and friends. The band paused to toast a lively, “Viva Mexico!” Only to be stunned with silence from the crowd. The Mariachi whispered over his shoulder to the groom, “where are you guys from?” Then corrected himself with an sounding, “Viva Honduras!” And the wedding party roared with cheers!
For a pregnant, apprehensive, home sick mama missing her baby and home back at the ranch…I had quite an adventure I will never forget. It was incredible to not only attend such an event full of music, food, and most of all love, but to see that was a big part of the new life my sister was marrying into. It was wonderful. My unborn baby even got excited by the party food and mariachi music. To this day, now 8 months old, she goes crazy over Mexican food and salsa music!