First of all, I need to say that I’m not entirely sure what hangin’ with my homies means, but it just feels right for my title here. If I’m translating correctly, I think it means something like “telling my mom I'm going to Shoney’s with my friends after Sunday night church,” in the jargon of my youth. If I’m wrong, I’ve undoubtedly offended several different groups of people I would never want to offend, and, for that, I apologize.
The other day, I attended the wedding of one of my teacher friends. It was gorgeous, a small affair in a romantic location about an hour north of Atlanta. Although it was colder than expected with a light mist, the weather made the old ruins, which were the setting for the ceremony, seem almost ethereal. I felt like I was in Scotland or Wales instead of north Georgia.
But this story isn’t about a beautiful wedding; it’s about how much fun I can have with people half my age. Two of my other young teacher friends were in attendance also, and because they aren’t old and cheap like me, they decided to get a room in one of the quaint cottages on the grounds so they could enjoy themselves and not have to worry about driving back to Atlanta afterwards. I finally elected to go up early so they could help me decide what to wear since the weather was much colder than I had expected when I bought my new spring dress from the Old Ladies’ Macy’s at North Dekalb Mall. When I arrived, Abby and Katie were having pre-wedding cocktails and, of course, I joined in since I’d brought my bottle of Windsor Canadian (the drink of choice for old ladies everywhere). We talked as they prettied themselves up. I was already pretty.
It’s interesting to note all the things girls have to beautify themselves these days: sprays, straighteners, gels, fat brushes, skinny brushes, pinks, purples, green, and ochre. The only Maybelline on the premises was demurely tucked away in my cosmetic bag. As my friends were spraying and straightening, the CD player one of them had brought was belting out a kind of sound formed from a crazy concoction of syncopated cacophony that made me want to ask, “You call this music?” but I didn’t because I was having too much fun.
As we three got prettier and prettier, one thing led to another, and before we could stop ourselves, we were sitting in the claw-footed tub, taking our own pictures, asking the question people all over the world ask when they are taking photos of themselves fully clothed in a bathtub, that question being, “Where’s my drink?”
Nuptial time was nearing so Katie and Abby began dolling themselves up in tiny dresses and ridiculously tall shoes. I ended up wearing an over-the-top ensemble, replete with a voluminous skirt, that would have made me a good candidate for mother of the bride had the bride not already had a perfectly-good, gorgeously-dressed mother. Still, my friends said that I looked beautiful and I believed them. We finished up by standing in front of the rock fireplace that was the centerpiece to their room, pretending to take prom pictures as we vamped while holding a potted plant. I seem to remember that the plant was in lieu of a wrist corsage.
As we hurried from the cottage, the new millennium version of a horse and carriage awaited to deliver us to the site of the wedding. Of course, it was I who ended up plopping my overly-dressed self into the back seat of the golf cart, the seat usually saved for the beer cooler, so I just pretended that we were in a parade and I was the final float, sort of like Santa Claus.
Erin was just about the prettiest thing I’ve ever seen as she walked down the rose-strewn aisle. But she was still our Erin as she nervously answered “I do” before the question had even been asked. As soon as the ceremony was over, we ran back to our horseless carriage to escape the cold and to partake of yet another beverage, and then the bounteous buffet, in the reception hall.
Again, one thing led to another until the three of us, along with much of the wedding party, were on the floor doing that time-honored and universal reception dance which consists of a lot of unisex and multi-age flailing and shimmying and shaking of one’s booty. I hung in there until my feet, my back, and my courage gave out and it was time for me to remember just how old I am. I felt like Cinderella, only with really cute, nice, and much younger, stepsisters, as I left the party and got in my Corolla to head back home to my real life. So far, Prince Charming hasn’t arrived with the sensible shoe I just might have left behind.
Am I glad I went? Absolutely. It’s good, at my age, to get out of my early-bird-special comfort zone every once in a while and spend some quality time with my peeps. I’m just glad my young friends seem to like me in spite of my age, my often embarrassing wardrobe choices, and now my dance moves. What this experience has helped me to remember is, no matter how old we are, girls just like to have fun. And fun is what we had.