The Wedding Day – Christmas, at Emerald Wells Café 27
Emerald Wells Café – The Wedding Day – Christmas
At five a.m. Em sat in Emerald Wells Café, at the counter, waiting for Harold to pick her up. Everyone was so busy this morning. Rose had already made one trip to the ranch. Rose delivered the cake, made the baked goods for the meal and is also in the wedding. Carl’s shop is locked as it has been for weeks. He has been so busy with Tomlin Trucking that he has not been to the Café for breakfast.
The sign hanging from the front doors knob of the Emerald Wells Café said Closed. Em wore blue jeans, shirt, cowboy boots, hat and a thick coat Harold picked up for her on a trip to Houston. Harold’s pick-up pulled to the curb, Em opened the door and went outside, Harold stepped out of his truck and gazed at the café with its lights out. He came around and helped Em in and closed her door. Then with one last glance over his shoulder he climbed in the truck and made a u-turn to head toward highway 27, passed the Trading Post on their way back to the ranch.
Both Rose and Earl were at the ranch. Earl was making sure the Prime Rib was ready for the guests after the ceremony. The weather was cold, the air was crisp. The menu was simple. The servers where high school seniors that Harold and Earl recruited. The front line of the varsity football team would park cars and keep the fire pits fueled.
Guests from the hotel arrived at the café and peered into the window looking inside, the lights were out. They had come a long way to sit at the counter. They wanted to look into the glassed domed serving tray made famous by Rose. They wanted to say ‘hey’ to Earl. They wanted to sit and drink wine from tea cups and listen to and read poetry. Becky tried that knob and found it open. She reached for the lights; she knew exactly where they were.
The girls sat at the counter, Sunny and Rosemary found cups and poured coffee. The café was quiet; they each had spent so much time here they felt they knew the place. Rose who was wise had left a box of pastry on the counter, the girls helped themselves. They each had come a long way to try Rose’s famous pastry.
They waited and chatted, then wandered back to the hotel to change. Kathy from the hotel would gather them soon enough and get them to the ranch per Em’s instruction. Becky toyed with the idea of making a country breakfast, but no one would want to clean up after. Sunny found a candle in the back and the girls sang Happy Birthday to Brenda.
Tom from the Trading Post arrived at the hotel at 9:45 a.m. in a station wagon. The back was filled with Navaho blankets from his Trading Post. The guests may need them he thought. Six of the guest piled into the wagon. They rest climbed into Kate’s Hotel station wagon. In no time they would arrive at the ranch.
Dale and Carl greeted them. The large living room had tables arranged around a temporary dance floor. The settings were done in an artistic elegance; Breen wearing a stunning hat, thought she saw Rose’s hand in this as well.
Terracotta fire pits vented to windows, were in corners of the room and a fire blazed in the fireplace. There were fire pits arranged around the new decking as well. Snow had fallen the evening before and had blanketed the landscape.
Em and Harold worried that it may be too cold, but the ceremony itself would be short and the guest would be able to return indoors.
A commotion outside brought the guests to the front of the house. A vintage Yellow Rolls Royce arrived. Two well dressed gentlemen and an elegant woman in a fuchsia dress stepped out, invitations in hand.
“TL, oh Ian, is that you?” it was Sunnie. TL received the nicest hug he could remember. She pat him on the arm. “I’ll catch up with you soon.”
“Svetlana, welcome’ Harold greeted her, “I have heard so much about you.”
“Epi”, the word was screamed. Maggie rushed over and outdid by double the hug that TL received, one foot off the ground. Epi straightened his collar. She grabbed his hand and they walked off chattering like old school friends.
Ruby watched from near a dessert table and tried amaretto fudge. MM stood with a camera, moving a little here and a little there. She had found the light and waited for the guests to come into the camera’s view to take a photo. Nellienna wrote something in her journal. MM glanced at it and smiled.
“Oh” said Em, “the something borrowed. These are just lovely. Sunnie can you fasten the pearls for me? And Becky the brooch is too much, but the bracelet with Sapphire's set in filigree silver is perfect for something blue.” Em stood in her dress and hugged both Sunnie and Becky. “You are such good friends. Are the people arriving? This is all so much. Sunnie please check on Carl for me. He has been very quiet lately, I’m worried about him. And Sunnie, I know there is not assigned seating, but you promised Dusty you would sit with him. Did you notice he trimmed his beard?”
Em asked Brenda and Rosemary if they would mind beginning to get the guests seated. The terracotta fire pits kept the veranda warm, though some of the guests pulled Navaho blankets around their legs for additional warmth.
“Ok, how are we doing on time?” Em asked.
“Nobody has seen Mck”, Sunnie told her.
“Where is that guy?” He said he’d officiate.
“He’ll be here” Rosemary assured Em.
“Let’s find Earl, remind him to take off his apron before he walks me down the aisle.” Em told them.
Mck arrived, went to the flowered archway where the couple will stand, carrying a book in his hand. He looks down, and realizes he is carrying the wrong book. He steps away, “can someone tell me where Brenda is?”
“Nice to meet you face to face” Mck tells Brenda. “There is a slight dilemma I grabbed the wrong book. Do you have your Bible?”
“I carry a Missal” she replied.
“Hum. That will do. Can I borrow it? Promise to return it.”
Mck returns to the flowered archway, grateful for Brenda and waits.
Brenda and Rosemary have everyone seated. Mck is ready. Harold is ready. Sunnie, Becky and Em are still chatting in the back. It’s almost 11:11. You can hear the rustling of Em’s dress. Em takes Earl’s arm while Sunnie and Brenda take seats.
“We are gathered here”, begins Mck “among friends, to witness the joining of Harold Tomlin and Emerald Wells in Holy matrimony. The couple have decided that they will use their own vows. Harold”
Harold clears his throat.
You are my Emerald that sparkles so bright
As we stand here together wishing upon our star
Darl’n I will be that star, just wish upon me
I am your dusk and you are my dawn
Someone is going to write our love
story, darl’n you’ll see it won’t be long
My promise to you is that my heart
will cause you no pain
The river of joy flowing from your heart
is more than I could have ever dreamed
From now until our story ends I will
love and care for you
This is just the beginning of our dance
Mck turns to Em "EM"
You built us a house
Now, I’ll make us a home
I’m hoping there is time
For the two of us to roam
I looked into your heart
And found it so pure
Your love moves me so deeply
I hope there’s no cure
All my fears vanished
When I gazed in your eyes
We have a home in the pines
Under Texas blue skies
This is such a big move
There is so much at stake
A place for us together is what
We will make
“Harold ready to exchange rings?” asked Mck. “Do you take this woman to be your lawful wedded wife.”
Harold is handed the ring, Em puts out her hand and the band slides effortlessly in place.
“I do.” Harold said smiling.
“Em ready to exchange rings?” asked Mck. “Do you take this man to be your lawful wedded husband?”
“I do.” Em smiles.
Em is handed her ring and slips it on Harold’s finger.
“I now pronounce you husband and wife.” Mck closes the Missal and slips it into his pocket.
"Oh, you may kiss the bride." Mck shakes his head ever so slightly.
Harold and Em embrace, Harold being mindful of Em’s dress, and indulge in a lingering kiss. A collective deep breath is taken. They turn and face their friends.
“I would like to introduce Mr. and Mrs. Tomlin.” Earl told the gathering.
Mck, cued the music as the couple walk back to toward the house.
The guests stand, some clutch their hands, some hold their heart. Here and there is a sob or a tear.
Mck cues Richard
As the guests mingle some standing near the fireplace to warm themselves, there is a general chatter, while they continue to introduce themselves and give warm greetings to those they have not had the chance to talk with. The room has become loud.
“We will get you all fed in a few minutes. Please gather round for Harold and Em’s first dance as husband and wife” announced Carl.
The couple takes to the center of the room. Mck cues the music.
TL guides Svetlana to a table, he missed breakfast and is hungry, Svetlana wants to talk about Tango, but TL is interested in salsa. Carl steps over and introduces them, to Charlotte Geary, the photographer who graciously allowed us to use her photograph at the top. Breen and Flora, stepped up and Carl introduced them also, “I sense you have a lot in common.” Then before continuing on to help other guests, ”Ladies those are charming hats.”
Sunnie, Dusty, Maggie May and Epi sat at a table with Becky and Hyphenbird. The room became noisy again, all of these people had so much in common.
Rose and Earl watch as an odd game of musical chairs plays out as Movie Master, Gail, Marcoujor, Nellienna, Truckstop Sally, Always Exploring, all waited-watching where A.A. would sit down.
The guests eat and talk and eat some more. Everyone is smiling and sharing their thoughts. Carl stands, asks for everyone’s attention while tapping a glass with a butter knife.
I introduced Em and Harold. I said Harold stop by the café, it’s a great place with friendly people. Harold, I meant only once, not every few days for six months. You were welcomed into our family and became part of us. Today you have made it official you and Em have become my best chance to become an Uncle. I toast to you both, many years of happiness but if either one of you find you need a place to sleep for a night, I am right across the road.
Ladies and gentlemen please lift your glasses to the bride and groom.
There is applause. The guests continue with their festivities. Fresh bottles of wine are delivered to the tables. The flower arrangements are shifted side to side as they are interferring with the guest hungry for conversation. As the tables are bussed Earl stands rubs his hands together and says, “It’s time to do the garter.” The men gather, for one split second Epi forgets Maggie is there. Harold ceremoniously, revealing too much leg, retrieves the garter and throws it to the anxiously waiting men. Several of the ladies share in blushing along with Em as she pulls her dress back over her leg. Surprisingly agile Epi snatches the garter from Earl’s waiting hand and heads right back triumphant to sit down next to Maggie, who is now wearing a smile.
“Hi Ya’al” says Em. “We’re going to do the bouquet, all you single women gather round. Don’t be shy, Ya’al know who you are.” A crowd of women form. Epi has his fingers crossed. “Everybody ready”, she turns around away from the ladies. “One, two,….. there is a rumbling sound…everyone diverts their eyes looking around. Everyone except Hyphenbird, “three” Em says, and tosses the bouquet. The crowd hears shouting and are in disbelief. Hyphen flies and easily snatches the bouquet out of the air. With the bouquet safely in hand, she looks out the window to see what could have been more important.
Two men, the wildcatters, came racing across the highway from Carl’s property, yelling for Carl, behind them the derrick on Carl’s property has erupted. The younger of the two men, the one in the lead, Artruo Alverez, is yelling the loudest, when he takes a nasty spill in the gravel driveway.
Carl, Harold, and Earl race out and the four men race back across the highway. A few of the guests help the young man inside so he can get cleaned up.
At dusk, Mark a lineman for the local high school started the generator that would light the tree that Harold, Earl and Carl managed to decorate. Between ladders and pine cones and tugging on wires they got it done. And were glad of it, most of the scratches were healed.
The guests both men and women in their Sunday clothes mill about. Rose goes to Em and whispers to her.
“Hey everyone were gonna give the boys some time and play some music so you’al can do a little dancing, we’ll get some updates I’m sure.” Then to Rose, “Come on, help me get out of this thing.”
Music is put on; the guests, who are all in the spirit, begin to dance. Epi takes the floor for a dance with Maggie May. In a moment the dance floor is full. There are more women present than men. The High School football team players who have been feeding the fires and parked cars graciously step up and ask the ladies to dance. When the first song finishes, Epi goes and looks at the selections and stacks them in order.
Rose went and helped Em out of the wedding dress. And she helped get the dress safely tucked away. Em returned wearing a nice pair of blue jeans, cowboy shirt and boots. She was the most comfortably dressed person in the place.
“Play them in this order”, Epi instructs Richard. The guests danced, and enjoyed some wine.
About an hour passed when Rose went over and whispered to Em.
“We are going to serve the wedding cake now.” Em got their attention. She and Rose took the top layer from the cake and set it aside. The young ladies from the High School began serving. Some guests began to go. Epi climbed back into the Yellow Rolls Royce carrying a bottle of wine. TL and Svetlana climbed in after him and they drove off waving.
Kathy from the hotel arrived to pick up a station wagon filled with guest. Em was becoming worn out from the spent hugs. As the room quieted down there were still a few people visiting catching up with each other.
Em walked out on the veranda looked at a beautifully polished spinning wheel sitting near the doorway. She looked at the tag hanging from it. It said Rosemary. She picked up a Navaho blanket that was sitting on a chair and wrapped it around her.
She gazed out across the back lot and thought how beautiful the lighted tree was at the edge of the property. She turned her head and noticed something for the first time. Em walked over the snow, blanket wrapped around her and stood in front of a swing set.
MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE
Special thanks for always being there:
Sunnie Day, Hyphenbird, Rosemary50, Becky Katz, Maggie May, Truckstop Sally, Always Exploring, PegCole17, Marcoujor, Epigramman, 50Caliber, Genna East, Sister That, Amy Becherer, Fay Paxton, Teylina, Twilight Lawns, A.A. Zavala, Will Starr, Eiddwen, Movie Master, Cogerson, Alastar Packer, Annette, Vocal Coach, Nellienna .
Dim Flaxenwick, acaetnna, Breen Begstrome, Erin Lefrey, FloraBreenRobinson, Hello, hello, K. Burns Darling, Majadez, Dexter Yarbough , SeptemberGirl, Snakeslane, Mimi721Wis, Bobbi Rant, Neakin, That Mary Ann, Judowolf .
And for the Podcast
Ok break the set.
Roll the credits:
Em, Earl, Dale, Carl, Gabby, Harold, Molly, Tom, George, The Townsends, Cream-of-Wheat-man, Richard and Rose.
Elvis, Jack Kerouac, Jimmy Stewart, Alfred Hitchcock, Vincent Price.
A big thank you to Truckstop Sally for the use of Kate & Jake from her Kate Winslow series. If you missed it go and read her series.
Writer, Producer, Director, Poet, Dishwasher – Mike Friedman
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