I’ve been waiting for weeks to write about this. Waiting on three women — the ones that were involved in this mess — to tell their friend the whole story. To be fair, there were also three men who were involved that could have fessed up. But, men don’t work that way. We wouldn’t have let this thing fester for weeks. We would have confessed our stupid mistake the very second it happened and would have gone on and had a beer and forgotten about it.
But not women! They’re not wired that way. They’ve got to stew over their mistake and calculate how it will be received by the offended parties. Before they can tell their lifelong friend that they missed her son’s wedding, they’ve got to get her just drunk enough to be able to hear about our horrible social faux pas without getting her feelings hurt. Oh, the phone calls and emails that flew through space carrying tear-filled talks about just how, when and by whom the confession would be proffered. There was even talk about NOT telling our dear friends Paula and Scott Gribbin that all three couples of us had been stupid enough to pack up into three separate cars, drive the 5 and a half hours to Greenville, SC, check into a hotel, scout out the church, make plans about whether we’d drive to the wedding or the reception AND BE LYING IN THE BED READING A BOOK WHEN THE WEDDING STARTED AT 6 P.M.!
Oh yes, you heard me right. We weren’t even showered and dressed when the appointed time of the wedding arrived! Jill and I were stretched out on the fabulous hotel linens on our hotel bed reading when Jill bounced up and went rummaging into her suitcase to satisfy a mental itch. She couldn’t remember the name of the church where Drake and Taylor’s wedding was to be held. She had one of those niggling things on her mind and she just couldn’t let it lie. So she fished out the invitation to check the name of the church and when she looked at it she found out the church’s name, but also that the wedding was to be held at 6 p.m. ET, which was exactly 4 minutes from THAT VERY MOMENT!
“Oh my God, Mike, the wedding is at 6 o’clock,” she screamed. “Get up and get dressed!” Then she was on the phone calling her two friends who were in rooms near us, and also lolling around relaxing with their oblivious husbands in advance of the appointed hour of 7 p.m. when we had decided the wedding would take place. The men are entirely innocent in this situation. Neither of the three of us had even ever seen the invitation. Like good dutiful husbands, we were just along for the ride. When it comes to weddings, “Yes, dear,” is the appropriate response. I would have been ready to roll out, and so would my two men friends, at any time on that Saturday afternoon. We didn’t have anything else to do. We were, after all, hundreds of miles away from home in a strange city and the only thing we had to do was to be at the church at 6 p.m. when the wedding that all six of us had expressly left home to attend was supposed to start. For some reason, we weren’t able to do that. So, that night at the reception at which we thankfully made on time, we walked around like bank robbers, knowing we were all guilty of something that we were bound by threat of death by our women not to divulge.
I would not make a good criminal because I’m not a good liar. But let me tell you, women can lie their asses off! I and my men friends were nervous that night at the reception, because we wanted to pull Scott over and tell him the truth. But these women, not so. They were cool at the motor pool. I’ve personally never seen such smooth liars. There was not a single chink in their collective armor. Jill even had a conversation with the priest, who is also the groom’s uncle and someone Jill has known most of her life, and didn’t let on that she had not heard even a single word of his carefully written homily.
Diane and Paul Voors actually did make the wedding. They bolted out of the hotel, he without showering, she without makeup and got to the church just in time to hear the benediction. Other wedding attendees might be puzzled at the obvious, that Diane, as the groom’s godmother, probably shouldn’t be sitting in the very last pew of the Buncombe United Methodist Church, the church with the longest center aisle in South Carolina. In fact, our little jig was almost up, when groomsman Allen Gribbin, the groom’s brother, made some comment about Diane being late to the wedding. She fretted over that remark for weeks. She thought she, along with the rest of us, had been busted.
This is the path that we (they) chose: Our wives decided that there would be nothing said at the wedding reception about the fact that six intelligent men and women who juggle large jobs and busy lives drove to Greenville, SC and missed the only event they went there to see. I did the best I could to cope with the guilt and shame I carried that night. I drank bourbon for the first time since my cancer surgery in June of last year. Damn, did I have a good time! We danced like maniacs and I got just enough good bourbon in me to assuage my guilt for not telling our friends we had not shown up for the wedding.
Fast forward to last Saturday night. Paula and Scott came down and we all (everyone but Frankie and Charlie Speake, who were out of town) got together for dinner at Diane and Paul’s Eufaula, Ala. home. I had already told Jill that if our missing the wedding wasn’t discussed at that dinner, I intended to make this thing public in my blog the next day. She said that without a doubt, Paula would be told that night. I was beginning to think it wasn’t going to happen. Turns out, Diane and Jill had a powwow in the laundry room, where Diane told Jill that she was waffling and that she didn’t think Paula had “had enough to drink” to hear the news.
The lemon cheese cake was on the table when Jill cleared her throat and told Paula and Scott the whole story. They were gracious and we all had a good laugh. Do I need to be worried about that lying thing?