A Flock of Mortimer Snerds

Connotation Press 2019

   My family started with the giggles as soon as they sat down. The goofball cousins tried to take the first row but were ushered out and they moved behind us to the third row. I didn’t want those freaks sitting behind me. 

      They Aunts and Uncles came in— the Aunts all lipsticked and rouged up wearing new hats they thought made up for their old dresses for this special occasion. They were actually smiling, the Aunts were, something not seen all that often whereas the Uncles always had a goofy look that made them appear to be smiling. I don’t know how the hell all six sisters ended up with a flock of Mortimer Snerds. Some might say they were lucky to end up with anyone being the toughsters they were.

      Other people walked in solemnly and dressed in new suits and hats both the men and the women and the kids in white starched shirts and bow ties. One of the women took over and pointed at rows for people to sit in and she didn’t have to holler or hit anyone they went where they were pointed. You couldn’t find a smile in the lot of them. The looked straight ahead and sat upright and no one fidgeted or gave an Indian rope burn to a cousin not like what was going on in our side of the church.

      My family was so happy with this upcoming wedding and theirs was equally unhappy, maybe more so. We acted like we were the one marrying into money not just Bernie who could’ve cared less about the Potters and their money. The Potters were unhappy about marrying beneath their status and a Jew to boot. My family didn’t know squat about Episcopalians except that soon there was going to be a mess of them in the family. 

      The wedding was scheduled for noon and it was ten after and people were still straggling in which didn’t make my uncles very happy. They ate by the clock and right now the clock was telling them they were hungry. They wanted the ceremony to be over and to be in the Elks Club for the bounty that Mr. Potter was sure to have.

      The Rabbi and the Minister came out from behind the curtain and neither looked happy and wouldn’t until the ceremony was over and they were given their envelopes. The organ player played a song and we looked around for the monkey since none of us ever saw a organ player without one. Mom and Bernie walked up the aisle first and stood in front of the clergy guys and Mom stepped back two steps and waited.

      Next a little girl carrying a basket walked up the aisle and tossed out rose petals as she went and when her basket was empty she stood still and the organ grinder played Here Comes the Bride. Teens in tuxedos escorted girls in gowns up the aisle and then Mr. Potter and Missy walked up stopping every other step. She was really beautiful. Bernie turned to greet them, shook Mr. Potter’s hand, and then took Missy’s hand and they stood facing the clergy guys.

      Mr. Potter took two steps back and then, since his legs were longer than Moms, took a half step forward and they stood side by side not looking at each other. The Rabbi said mumble mumble mumble and then the Minister said his mumbles and then the Rabbi put a 30 watt light bulb in a napkin and Bernie stomped on it and Mom almost jumped into Mr. Potter’s arms. Then Bernie kissed Missy and Mr. Potter shook Mom’s hand and our side piled out while the other side stayed in their seats until the pointer lady pointed at them to go. 

      Bernie and Missy held hands as they walked to the Elk’s Club and we all followed them. Inside the Rabbi mumbled over the loaf of bread and the Minister mumbled over the wine and then the band started playing while waitresses passed around food from large platters and then the hushes broke out as Bernie and Missy danced while everyone stood around the dance floor and watched. After a bit Bernie took Mom’s hand and danced with her and Missy danced with Mr. Potter and then Bernie and Missy went back to dancing and Mom walked over to Mr. Potter and put her arms out and he danced with her. I have to tell you that they were way better at this dancing thing than Bernie and Missy.

      Someone announced that the bar was open and people lined up to get their free drinks. The band stopped playing and Mr. Potter made a short speech welcoming Bernie into his family and Mom followed him and said, “Welcome, Missy. We love you.” Then Mr. Potter took the mic and said, “The open bar will close in a half hour and dinner will be served.”

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