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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The season of sly turkeys and frantic brides.

It doesn’t look like wild turkey will be on the Sunday dinner menu anytime soon. The Farmer and his hunting party gathered at the farm before dawn on opening day of the season. They sat quietly in their blinds for hours. The sun rose, some of them drifted off to sleep; none of them saw a turkey. They went back to the house to make a hearty breakfast.
Minutes later, when they were gathering on the back porch to enjoy their coffee in the early morning mist, they could make out the forms of three fat turkeys cutting a beeline across the pasture to the cornfield on the other side. It was as if the sly creatures waited until they could smell bacon frying before emerging from their hiding places. The men shook their heads, exasperated.
Just last week, the Farmer and one of his hunting buddies headed out to the field before sunrise. They perched themselves in blinds along the proven path of the turkey trot - and saw nothing. The Farmer gave up early, swearing to stick to dusk hunts in the future. It just wasn’t worth getting up early. His comrade-in-arms, Paul, decided to stick it out a bit longer. About 30 minutes after returning to the house, the Farmer grabbed his binoculars and trained them on the back field.
“I don’t friggin’ believe it,” he sputtered. “The turkeys are right behind Paul!”
Sure enough, a small convoy was making its way across the field, directly behind our friend. If only we could send a silent text message: “turn around Paul, slowly...”
The spring turkey season isn’t officially over yet, but the hunting party at the Fisher farm seems resigned to the fact that they have been outsmarted this year. Most of the brood have gone off to lay their eggs by now. The mating dance has come to an end. Game over.
Well, just as hunting season ends, the wedding season begins. Brides are being showered, plans are being made, invitations have been stamped and sent. We have two weddings to attend this summer: one family and one friend.
As I hear the women stressing over bridesmaid dresses and flowers, I am transported back just two short years, to the time when I was planning my own country wedding to the Farmer.
I remember the initial discussion. It went something like this:
Farmer: “Let’s just go somewhere warm and get hitched on a beach.”
Me: “We can’t do that; the kids will kill us.”
We checked out the price of renting various local venues, but none of them seemed “special” enough for the ceremony that would tie our two families together. It was our middle daughter, Anastasia, who one day piped up with, “why don’t you just get married on the farm?”
It really was the perfect idea. What better way to commemorate the occasion than with prayers and the best wishes of family and friends on our own property? Even the photos were taken here, by a close family friend. Every day we look out on the very spot where we said our vows.
If we thought that a simple garden wedding would be easier than decorating a vast banquet hall, however, we were wrong. It took us nearly a week to set up and another two days to tear down after the event. But the extra effort was definitely worth it.
With the farm wedding in mind, and because it was the second wedding for both of us, I thought a simple sundress in a pale colour would be appropriate. But my beloved had a difference of opinion: “you don’t skimp on the kitchen in the house,” he stated.
It took me a moment to realize that I was the kitchen in that statement. How romantic. So, we decided to dress in full bridal regalia, which really was the right decision.
The college catered our event, and I was reminded of wedding receptions that I had attended in Taiwan. There, the traditional wedding gift is a red envelope, or “hong-bao”, containing enough money to cover the cost of your wedding meal and a bit extra (approximately $40 per person).
At the Taiwanese wedding dinner, it is quite normal to see guests filling their pockets and handbags with tiny sandwiches, cookies and dinner rolls. After all, I guess, they paid for it.
I’m happy to say no one pilfered the extra buns at our wedding. We had enough left over for a midnight buffet and lunch the next day, for the many minions who slept on the couches, in the camper, in their parked vehicles and on the floor.
By the way – I still have the belly ring that someone left on the fish tank. If you decide you need it back, come to our next big party and ‘fess up.
To all of this year’s brides, I would like to pass on one of my favourite pieces of wedding advice: “Don’t stress. No matter what happens, at the end of the day you will be married. Just think of it as a great big party with a little bitty wedding in the middle!”

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