Thursday, July 13, 2006

It happened in Old Monterey.......

Back in the day, The Blog was like Dear Diary: no one would read it, so anything went…..No audience, so no “auteur” syndrome.

I can remember trying to write the Great American Novel and getting completely stuck on the whole issue of “Who is The Reader?”

The engineer in me, probably: the Heisinger Uncertainty Principle, just turned inside out: the act of observation changes that which is being observed.

So, now I want to write about a bride, and I know she will read it……

We love her, but how will she see her own wedding laid out here? Jeez, we don’t even have a deposit……

Oh, well, here goes. It is important to relate because it shows that true love conquers all…..and that there really is a God, and She has a sense of humor.

Let’s call my bride Debra.

First of all, she came out to The Store on a Sunday to do A Tasting. This was a day when I lost track of the brides who might or might not come out….and had three show up, plus the crackheads and the normal grease-stained bachelors nursing awesome hangovers that we see every Sunday.

She liked us anyway!

And she hired us!

Debra also had the best wedding favors in the last five years of weddings: handmade lemongrass soap bars in beautiful handmade wrappers……showing skill, thoughtfulness, individual attention to her guests…….I swiped one, and we have it in our Debra Shrine…..


Two weeks ago Sunday was Debra’s wedding: at the Memory Gardens in downtown Monterey. A “Renewal” Jewish ceremony. If you are not keeping track, there are Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist, and Renewal traditions of Jewish worship….going from right to left. My Irish Catholic brother is on the board of a Reconstruction Temple in Philadelphia......Steve is a Teachers Union organizer and crypto-Trotskyite. Bar Mitzvahs at his temple can feature kippahs with names like Rachel O’Donnelly/Osanjeh, where both parents are female social workers.

Renewal Jews are further to the left than even Reconstructionists. Tribal almost… friend Rabbi Leah is Renewal. When we work for her she pulls out 10,000 year old traditions that involve each guest getting rosemary sprigs, or organic grapes in piles, or quail eggs, or speical aromatherapy candles....and always organic, kosher wines: and that is during the ceremony, not the food!

When I convert, I am going Renewal, for sure.

The Memory Gardens are a hidden, beautiful and historic spot....just behind the Custom House in Old Monterey, a hundred feet from Wharf One. It is public space, maintained by the Parks Department. On this particular day, there was a blues festival going on just 50 yards away. The sweet little cantor chick, and the rabbi herself were fighting a battle just to be heard explaining things to me. “Can you get them to stop playing for a few minutes?” “Uh……sorry, babe. No one has more right to sing the blues than the Jews…..You just have to deal with it.”

All was good otherwise. The setup went well. Debra gave us no instructions as to menu (beyond the obvious), so we could do our best with the best stuff we could find. The ceremony was right there, so we set up the chairs and the aisle, and the tables around the fountain in the plaza. The aisle runner had been stolen in the 30 minutes between the rental company drop-off and our arrival…..but, hey!

The only other glitch was the cake. The less than robustly heterosexual flower guy kept bugging me during the setup: “Where ith the cake? I need to DECORATE! When ith it COMING?”

Finally, at 4 o’clock….as Debra was standing at the back, bouquet in hand, ready to march down the runnerless aisle (we laid out Missing Linen tablecloths)……I sidled up to her: “Deb, who is the baker? The florist is going to stroke out…when is the cake coming? Who can we call?”

Debra: “You don’t do cakes?”

Oh, shit.

Cell phone: 333-1600………Beep…..Beep. “ Whole Foods Market….”

“Bakery Department, please”

“Bakery, how may I help you?”

“How many cakes do you have for sale?”

“Uh……maybe twenty?”

“Box ‘em all up, baby…..I’ll be right over”

I sidled over to Mom Judy: “Uh….our cake service will be a little less traditional. We are going with a dessert buffet!”

(Side note: Buying 20 retail organic cakes from Whole Foods at the last minute was still HALF the cost of a crappy traditional wedding cake……Our bakers are great and their cakes are gorgeous and delicious….but Debra’s guests got to choose between fruit, and chocolate and cheesy, and lemon, and death by chocolate, and……… was half price!)

Meanwhile, just as we started setting up the buffet, with the blues concert blasting away in the background, we put out the plates and the big green salad first. A couple raced over, grabbed plates and started serving themselves. Nothing else on the line…..nothing.

Gilda hit them like Lawrence Taylor hit Joe Thiesmann: “EXCUSE me……dinner is not yet served, back off!” We looked at the couple a little closer, and there was a stir as I stopped Gilda from ripping their lungs out. Nice clothes, but not quite nice enough. The best man came over: “Who are you people?”


We booted them. Minutes later, one of the bridesmaids came up missing her purse. We called in the Five-Oh and forgot about it.

The buffet went fine. All was good.

Come cake-cutting time everyone fot up to the mike and made toasts as the guests prepared to dive into my Dessert Buffet. Just as we were about to start serving, the Dad of the Groom got the mike. Turns out he is a serious Christian kind of a fellow, and was feeling perhaps a little neglected in all the cantor singing, hoopa wielding, glass crushing, Hebrew singing and clapping, etc.

I was distracted a bit, but I thought I heard: “I just wanted to say that I prayed to My Lord and Personal Saviour Jesus Christ, and He came into my heart……and He reassured me that it was fine that my beautiful blonde haired, blue-eyed baby Christian boy was marrying this Jew……..”

“Aaaaaaaaaaah!!!! No!!!! No!!!!!! Aaaaaaaaaaah! No!!!!!” Screams came from behind the wall of the Memory Gardens.

Fuck! I ran out the gate to investigate, and right there in front of the Indian Summer Restaurant were the Wedding Crashers….getting hooked up by the Monterey Bike Patrol, two chicks in blue. They had caught the lady crasher with the missing purse and were struggling with her while she screamed and thrashed.

I ran up…..Irish peacemaker, me: “Please! Please! There is a wedding going on right here. Please keep it down!”


The cops: “Please, sir. You are not helping……”

No, duh........

Nothing like a Garden Wedding in Old Monterey, huh?

Debra....we love you.


Blogger Unknown said...

Hi there I am the less than robustly heterosexual flower guy in your story. I just wanted to take a moment and invite you to go fuck yourself, asshole!

12:53 PM  

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