Here’s another holiday excerpt from Memoirs of an Ordinary Girl: Fresh-meat Year.
Family of the Bride
Not since National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (still my family’s favorite holiday film) had my family attempted to go see a movie together, and that had been two years ago. This Christmas, however, we were not all going to be together, so my parents wanted to make sure we got in some quality time before we flew Angela off to California to spend the holiday with her soon to be in-laws. So what feel-good, yet funny family film could we see? The Father of the Bride. Of course. After all, Angela was getting married and it was all she had on her mind. There were no Griswold moments, but Steve Martin was a funny guy, too.
Of course, just preparing to go to a movie as a family was an event. We had to stop at a grocery store on the way to purchase affordable candy bars and cans of soda. Winter was the best time of year for a movie because all of these snack items could easily be stashed away in our winter coats. My parents (and Han Solo) taught me the value of smuggling.
The only theater we had around at that time was in Remington, at the mall. My dad’s patience was thin when it came to dealing with the mall, and we were there the last Saturday before Christmas, so we drove up and down every row in search of a parking spot. My dad was pulling into one when we all realized it was already occupied by a motor scooter. I heard some indecipherable mumbling coming from the driver’s seat, and we remained paused halfway in that parking spot for at least thirty seconds or so while I’m pretty sure my dad contemplated running over the scooter. Fortunately for said scooter, someone a few spots down was leaving, so my dad threw it into reverse, almost giving us all whiplash and snagged the spot, much to the chagrin of another circling family in a minivan. A grin of satisfaction spread across my dad’s face.
The content of the movie was too much for an emotional bride, and when we walked out of the theater people were confused as to what we had just seen because Angela was crying uncontrollably, and quite vocally. I cried a little to myself, only because we had been surrounded by people with popcorn, but we had none. Even if we’d popped it at home and found a way to stuff it in our coats, it wouldn’t have been fresh by the time we got there.
The next day was a day of snow flurries and we had to drive through it in order to get Angela to the airport. Nothing was sticking, but people panicked anyway. Passengers were still allowed to have their loved ones escort them all the way to the gate to see them off back then, and Angela cried the entire way through the airport- while walking, riding the moving walkways, checking her suitcase- the whole time. She calmed down a bit when we sat and waited with her.
“I left presents for each of you under the tree. I won’t be there to see you open them, so take pictures, Mom, please,” Angela said.
“Hope you don’t want to see those pictures until next Christmas,” I joked. My mom was notorious for not getting around to dropping off the film for development. Thank goodness for the more recent advent of the digital camera.
“Drew, that isn’t funny,” my mom defended herself in a playful way, knowing I was, in fact, correct.
Angela was laughing a full belly laugh when her boarding announcement was made, and she immediately snapped back into a sobbing mess. “I can’t believe I’m missing Christmas with you. I’ve never missed Christmas with you.”
“Honey, sometimes you have to compromise when you get married,” Mom said.
“I don’t even like Ryan’s family!” and she sobbed harder. “What if this whole thing is a mistake? I don’t really want to be related to them for the rest of my life.”
“Now is not the time for this, Angela. Your plane is boarding,” my dad said, and she sobbed even harder, then she threw herself onto my dad and wept into his chest. My dad was a loving man, but he never really knew how to handle emotional, girlie moments, so he just stood, eyes large, deer in headlight look on his face, and patted her back for a few seconds, his arm bent stiffly. My mom saw his need for help and gently stepped in, slipping her arm around Angela and scooping her away toward the gate.
“I love you guys, even you, Drew,” Angela called back as she moped down the gate hallway to the plane, glancing over her shoulder several times before she went around a curve and we lost view. Soon after, the doors closed.
“Can we stay to watch her plane take off?” I asked. I always loved watching the planes when we went to the airport.
“I think we’d probably better, just to make sure she doesn’t come back,” my dad said, and we watched until the plane taxied away and then rose into the sky a distance away. It was going to be strange having Christmas with just Mom and Dad. We all sighed simultaneously, and then Dad said, “Well, we better get going. It looks like the snow might start sticking and we don’t want to be stuck driving in that mess.”
Copyright 2014 All rights reserved