Burnt Orange Glasses: Damn Wedding, Part Duh

In his political and pop-culture infused off-beat commentary, columnist Jeff Conner provides the thrilling conclusion to the story of his trip to College Station and the aftermath of the 'Damn Wedding.'

Time gives us a little perspective. In the 70's he was a paranoid, alcoholic megalomaniac who nearly destroyed the American presidency, but by the time of his passing, Richard Nixon had been remade into a conquering hero, the conservative who opened communist China to the world.

Several posters were curious about the aftermath of my College Station summer wedding story. A little time and perspective was absolutely necessary to allow everyone involved to rest, recreate and recover before we reflect. If time can turn Tricky Dick into a human being, then it ought to be able to work wonders for a road trip to Colleyville.

In case you missed the basic plot, here goes: my sister-in-law was getting married, and elected to do the deed in College Station, where her in-laws live, over the 4th of July weekend. Mrs. Lubbock Horn was the beautiful Matron of Honor, and I officiated the ceremony. Mix in some odd family members, an occasionally hysterical bride, dookie brown bridesmaids' dresses, one incident of groomsman/bridesmaid wedding night copulation, a few shots of Southern Comfort, a bridesmaid's party at the Dixie Chicken and ninety percent humidity, and, as they say on the sitcoms, hilarity ensued.

The week started out with a bit of a challenge: one of Mrs. Lubbock Horn's aunts faked an injury to avoid having to attend the festivities. Well, had surgery, actually. You would think strategically undergoing back surgery three days before the wedding would be too far to go to avoid family obligations, but on this particular occasion, you would be mistaken. With the aunt laid up in an out-of-state recovery room, the family needed someone to drive from Lubbock to Dallas to pick up Grandmother, who was flying in from Amarillo. You get three guesses upon whom the job fell, and you don't need guesses two and three.

It was good, though, because Grandmother is a hoot and the extra leg of our trip kept us out of Bryan for an entire day. Grandmother grew up in Hawaii, where they evidently refer to a bathroom as a "holly." When she first asked for a pit stop, I thought Grandmother was talking about music, but my beautiful wife acted as translator, which was good practice for staying in College Station. I swear, I felt like I needed not just a translator but a dang passport – because, brother, I was in a whole different world.

When we finally made it to Bryan, things were tense but manageable. My father-in-law forgot to bring a suit, which is about like invading Iraq without a plan to set up a local government afterward. Unlike the Iraq war, a quick retreat to Men's Warehouse solved the problem.

As soon as we arrived from Dallas, our presence was required at a soirée being thrown by the future in-laws, who are actually pretty cool, not being overly tainted by their time in Aggiedom. The only thing is, they love to toast. I'm not opposed to the practice, mind you, but I'm just not used to doing it over and over and over and over. At my wedding, my kid sister, an optometrist in Lubbock, was my Best Person, and she did one toast at the reception. I think her toast took the first time, since Mrs. Lubbock Horn and I are still going strong. But these folks toast repeatedly, like the guy at church who prays a long, meandering prayer, evidently thinking that the Almighty has some heavenly stenographer clickity-clacking every word we say and that we will some day be judged by the gross weight of our verbiage.

One of the drinks they used to toast at the party was some kind of lemon-flavored liqueur, which the groom liked. The problem is that a fruit-flavored drink just sounds nasty and more than a little light in the loafers, if you catch my drift. The father-in-law learned about my drinking preferences second hand, and had the civility to buy a bottle of 18 year old Jamesons just to sample with me. God bless him. "Wow. That's smooth," the father-in-law said, my response to which gives rise to the secondary title of this rant. Never question an Irishman's knowledge of whiskey; it's like getting into an argument with Pamela Anderson Lee over fake boobs.

Friday was a holiday, so we took a tour of a local winery. Mark Twain once noted that when he needed a good laugh, he would curl up with an etiquette book. I could easily say the same about the snorting, swishing, swirling and splashing of Texas wine tasting. My gosh, what a pretentious waste. I haven't seen that much something made over that much nothing since OU began running TV commercials about their academics.

The wedding rehearsal was also a bit strained. The DJ arrived late, which was no problem except that the only live music in the entire wedding was my mother-in-law's (Mrs. Lubbock Horn's and the bride's mother) and my duet to the Everly Brothers' "Let It Be Me." I was trying to mix my guitar and two voices through the DJ's equipment, while simultaneously learning where to stand for the ceremony. It was tough multitasking, like when John McCain's wife, Cindy, tries to smile and breathe at the same time.

Plus, the family had unique instructions for the reception, which was held in the same room as the wedding. Problem was, it was going to take 45 minutes to set up the dining tables and silverware, and the family did not want the guests tearing through the reception food like a gaggle Arkansas Razorback fans taking out a Golden Corral buffet. So I was to ask them to only eat food served on hand-held trays by waitresses until the reception started.

The bride gave me specific language to tell the guests, but it didn't make any sense. She wanted me to talk about eating "light" versus "heavy hors d'oeuvres," which is a distinction even my well-educated brain would have a hard time making. "Jeff, I don't think you're listening to me!" was the teary-eyed cry. I smiled and nodded and before the actual reception the next day asked the guests to "please limit their selections to the finger foods on the hand-held trays until the reception begins." Damn, I'm good.

The bridesmaids' party was at the Dixie Chicken, but the bride requested that my beautiful wife be the designated driver, which is like being given a ticket to the B.C.S. Championship Game and then asked to work the concession stand.

The subject matter of my wedding message was that we are reflectors, not generators. Like the moon that does not generate sunlight but only beautifully reflects it, humans do not create love or forgiveness. They come from God, and we reflect His love. I noted that if we try to love under our own power, we will soon find our resources depleted, but that God is an infinite source. What the heck, everybody could smell the reception food and quit listening after the first three sentences anyway.

But all's well that ends well, as the poets say, and the wedding pretty much went off without a hitch. The bride was beautiful, as was the Matron of Honor, who made her dookey brown bridesmaid's dress (with lavender highlights) look as good as it was going to look. Nobody died, was arrested or even indicted (still waiting on the grand jury), and I didn't hear a single mention of 38-30 all week. There was swing dancing, even more toasting, roast beef with horseradish sauce, cutting a rug with Mrs. Lubbock Horn (cut tragically short by her foot blisters and general exhaustion) and that peaceful, easy feeling you get at weddings that the world, even for a short period of time, is a better place.

Kind of like the flood of smoke and Burnt Orange that pours onto the floor of D.K.R. when the Horns take the field for the opening home football game each year. O.K. The wedding is over, vacation time is all used up, summer is winding down, they opened the school supplies section at Target, and, if you ask me, it's about time for some freakin' football.

Hook ‘em and beat the hell outta Florida Atlantic.

Jeff Conner's political and pop culture-infused Longhorn commentary appears regularly in the Inside Texas magazine and at InsideTexas.com.


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