My extended family on my mothers side really came to enjoy weddings a lot. They believed in celebrating weddings in a big way. This back in the day before the glamor weddings. A wedding did not include dancing and a live band or DJ. There was not a sit down dinner to be catered. Most weddings back in the seventies were simple affairs. The wedding party would dress up in significant fashion, much as they do today. The groom and groomsmen would wear rented tuxedos and the bridal party would have those special dresses that would never be worn again. That is where the similarities to today's weddings ended.
After the wedding there would be a simple reception. All members of the wedding party would stand in line while guests came through and shook hands or hugged or whatever was deemed proper. The guests would then go over to a table where they would receive a slice of wedding cake, some punch and maybe some mixed nuts and mints. After everyone had been greeted and had their cake, the guests would wait for the bride and groom to drive off to start their new life together, throwing rice at the new couple as they raced to their car to drive off.
I am inclined to think that it is very possible that the evolution into today's pricey rich weddings costing thousands of dollars was a result of saving cars. Without the dancing and eating, family members would have to find a different outlet to celebrate a wedding properly. That is the way it was in my family anyway. My mothers side of the family took particular joy in car decorating. It was so bad that a lot of the members of my generation went so far as to try to hide their cars to keep my uncles and cousins from getting to them.
After being a member of some of these car hunts and decorating parties before my wedding, I decided to hide Barb's Nova SS and to sacrifice Old Blue to the wild animals that I called family. It would give them something to let their celebratory genes loose on while saving the beautiful brown metallic paint job on Barb's car.
It wasn't only the cars that got the treatment. You dare not leave a suitcase where it could be found and you certainly did not ever leave a suitcase unlocked. Nothing was sacred to this group of fun loving family members who celebrated in this wild fashion to show how much they loved you.
I think they hit their peak in decorating cars when it came to Barb and my wedding. After a lovely wedding service and some good visiting with friends and family in the reception, we spent some time taking pictures of the two of us on that special night. Meanwhile the real celebration was taking place in the parking lot outside.
Barb and I were married on a frigid November night. I must give kudos to cousins and uncles for braving the could to decorate Old Blue in the manner that they did. They did a lot of thinking and had all of the supplies necessary to do a bang up job.
When Barb and I came out of the church I found Old Blue sitting there pretty much as expected. There were cans tied to the bumper of the car. There was a square inch of surface left on Old Blue that wasn't covered with white shoe polish wishing us all the happiness and well being for our future. Still in her wedding dress and me in my tuxedo, we approached the car.
When we opened the door was our first hint of what we were in for. Feathers adorned the inside of Old Blue. The feathers were so dense you could not see the seats, let alone the floor board. We both knew that this wasn't as bad as it could be ans so we waved goodbye, rolled up the car windows and headed for our honeymoon destination which was a hotel down by Union Station in Kansas City.
I turned on Old Blues heater to warm us from the cold as we made our way downtown. It wasn't long before we started to detect a strange odor. We figured they had put something under the feathers in the car and Barb began looking around a little bit to see if she could find something. While she was looking I discovered the smell coming from the heater vents in the car. The smell was coming from the engine. Both of us were beginning to get sick from the odor and we decided to turn off the heater to see if that would help. It didn't. Just because the fan wasn't forcing the odor into the car, it was still seeping into the car from natural air flow.
We had but one choice and that was to roll down the windows. The windows went down and frigid cold air came pouring into the car blowing feathers all over the place. We were cold, but at least we could breathe now. As we made our way downtown we left a trail of feathers that Hansel and Gretal could have followed.
We arrived at the hotel and pulled up to the valet parking. The gentleman came out to take the car as Barb and I exited covered in feathers. After seeing us and taking a peek inside the car he retreated to get some newspapers to for him to sit on while he took the car.
"Who did this?" he asked and when I responded "my family" he expressed relief that he didn't have a family that cared so much about weddings.
We entered the hotel and Barb was lovely as she marched into the grand lobby covered in feathers. As she entered a group of businessmen were sitting in some chairs and they gave us a standing ovation. It was a little embarrassing but at the same time I was very proud of my new bride.
Barb had a little bit of a cold before the wedding but the drive over in the frigid wind had made her cold worse. She was not feeling very well by morning. Meanwhile in my attempt to protect myself had locked my suitcase and left the key to said suitcase on my keyring, which was in the garage twenty floors down. We were both tired and cold after a long stressful day.
The next morning Barb opened up the balcony and shook out her veil that was covered in feathers. There was a jogger on the running track a few stories below our room and I still wonder what went through his mind as he was jogging among a snowstorm of feathers falling around him all of a sudden.
The source of the smell was discovered when I took the car to the car wash to try to get some of the shoe polish off. I opened the engine compartment and found sardines that had been cooked on the engine block as we drove through town. The smell of the sardines would stay in the car for several months before it finally dissipated. It would take a few more washings before the shoe polish would fade away as well.
We later found out that Barb's Nova had been found but they had taken it easy on her car. They had just written a few things on the side in shoe polish and let it go at that. They had somehow gotten a key to our apartment and did a number on it that I will describe in a later piece perhaps. It is a story all of its own.
We survived the family celebration of our wedding and Old Blue had taken the brunt of it. I think I apologized to that car everyday for at least a year for putting it through what I did. It was a trooper though and from that day forward I knew I could depend on that car to get me through about anything, and it did until the day I sold it.
Thank you Old Blue for taking one for the family, my little family of barb and myself as well as the extended family. Things calmed down on the celebrations after our wedding. I never saw another car take the intimidation or embarrassment that Old Blue had to endure. Old Blue proved proved once again that he was woirth every penny that I had spent on him.