I have weddings on the brain. As you may recall, Little Sister and I recently attended my cousin’s wedding in Colorado, and the Young Love and I are scheduled to attend my aunt’s wedding to her longtime girlfriend in Colorado next month. Apparently, all these weddings have spilled over into my subconscious, and I’m happy to say that Richard Armitage finally revisited my dreamscape.
For a little background, I should tell you just a bit about the wedding I recently attended. It turns out that my cousin’s new father-in-law, who we’ll call “Dennis”, is one of those people you might say is a Serious Control Freak. According to my cousin, there were times during the wedding planning when his fiancé was reduced to tears because Dennis the Menace was continually taking charge and refusing to listen to her wishes regarding the wedding service, the decorations, the reception, or any of it. So forceful was Dennis’ personality, in fact, that the couple actually planned their honeymoon in secret, not telling any family member where they were going, because having caved to Dennis on numerous other issues, they didn’t want any interference from him on their honeymoon!
So “our” side of the family, being rather more laid back, derived a great deal of
snarky amusement watching Dennis direct activities like a military general at the wedding reception. I do have to hand it to Dennis… everything went off very smoothly, if in a slightly regimented fashion! And although I was too intimidated by Dennis to approach him, I did later wish I’d gone over to the brides’ family table to talk to them about their Norwegian roots. Some of her family came all the way from Norway for the wedding, and I was charmed by their willingness to come so far.
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I am in a state of agitation, completely flustered, because I have missed Richard Armitage’s wedding ceremony. (I can’t explain how I came to be invited, nor do I know the identity of his new spouse. It seems that this fortuitous individual’s name has been kept undisclosed, but I expected to learn the secret at the wedding!) I have my four-year old daughter in tow, and she’s dressed to the nines in her rainbow dress. I am also wearing a dress, and part of my agitation is due to the fact that I did not have time to shower before the ceremony, or to fix my hair or apply new makeup. In fact, I’m feeling really hot and sweaty, in part due to my anxiety over having missed the ceremony, and in part because I have been wielding my lefse stick over several hot griddles in the kitchen all afternoon, feverishly preparing a tall stack of lefse with my family.
Let’s take a moment here, because not everyone may be familiar with lefse.
And that is a shame. Lefse, in my humble opinion, is just about the most delicious stuff in the world. It’s an ultra-thin (think crepe) potato- based Norwegian flatbread that is heavenly when eaten warm off the griddle, dripping with butter. Now, some people enjoy lefse with cinnamon-sugar sprinkled on, but in my family, we prefer straight-up hot buttered lefse, and we will use any excuse for a family gathering to get a crew together and make an enormous batch. This labor of love involves about 10-lb of potatoes boiled, peeled and riced, which are then mixed into a dough with heavy cream, flour and lard the day before the lefse party. The lefse assembly process involves specialized equipment, a great quantity of flour, the consumption of alcoholic beverages, and plenty of lefse smack-talk. Ideally we need one person to form dough balls, a couple more to roll out the dough, one or two to man the griddles, and someone to stack and steam and carefully count the lefse.
Although I’ve missed the exchange of vows, I am still in time to make it to Richard Armitage’s wedding reception. While I may not have fresh hair and makeup, I do come prepared in one respect. I have an insulated bag full of lovingly prepared lefse, which I was instructed by Dennis to provide for the wedding reception. (In fact, knowing my family and the way we obsessive-compulsively count and divvy up the lefse, all participants watching like hawks to ensure a fair portion of lefse is allotted for personal consumption, I was probably late due to negotiating the number of lefse that would be relinquished for Richard Armitage versus the number of lefse that the family would keep!) Although Richard’s new spouse is shrouded in mystery, Dennis has indicated that there will be a large Norwegian contingent in attendance, and I am speculating that Richard may have married some long-legged Scandinavian supermodel.
With my precious lefse bag in one hand and my daughter’s hand in the other, I enter the ballroom. I notice that many of the guests are already seated, and many of them are wearing beautiful Norwegian sweaters. I look up toward the dais where the wedding party is seated above the rest, and I immediately spot Richard Armitage in the center. (Apparently I’m flustered enough that I forget to see who the best man is or to really look at any of the wedding party other than Richard.) I see that the chair adjacent to Richard is empty. Glancing around, I spot Dennis, who is checking his watch rather impatiently. Where is the Scandinavian supermodel, or whoever it is Richard has married?
I quickly make my way over to the buffet table and talk for a moment with the caterers about a covered dish to keep the lefse moist and warm, and ask for butter to be placed nearby. Then I take my seat. I study Richard, who is looking gorgeous in a black tuxedo, but has furrowed brows. I presume he’s wondering where his spouse might be. (Though maybe he’s uncomfortable because he knows that Nobody screws with Dennis’ time table at wedding receptions!) As we wait for something to happen, Little Sister starts asking when they will be cutting the cake, and when the dancing will begin. (So many boys, so little time!)
Pretty soon Dennis approaches the dais and speaks to Richard, who shakes his head and indicates he doesn’t know. Dennis begins to gesticulate and point to his watch, and Richard, harried, scans the room hopefully. Still no spouse. Dennis and Richard then exit the room, only to return a few minutes later. Richard takes his seat, and Dennis speaks to the wait staff, who begin to circulate, taking drink orders. More time elapses, and at some point, Little Sister escapes and begins asking boys to dance. Boy after boy shakes his head no. (The other parents evidently have better control over their offspring!)
Little Sister, who is a veteran of a Dennis-controlled wedding reception, then gets a bright idea. She approaches the man himself. (Not Richard. Dennis Runs The Program at these events!) She tugs on Dennis’ pants, and when he bends down to hear her better, I can only assume she either asks Dennis to dance (this did happen at my cousin’s wedding, BTW. To Dennis’ credit, he complied!) or she asks Dennis to get this party started, but in either case, Dennis sets his shoulders, takes her by the hand, and Dennis and Little Sister march back to the dais. After a few stern words with Richard, who finally shrugs and accepts the inevitable, Dennis turns to the attendees and announces that it’s time to eat and dance. Nobody addresses the elephant in the room: Richard’s significant other still has not appeared!
After everyone has filled their plates and taken their seats, Dennis announces that some of the attendees have travelled all the way from Norway, and one of the Norwegians has asked to make a short speech in honor of Richard and his absent spouse. Everyone applauds, and an older gentleman dressed in a Norwegian sweater stands up and goes to stand behind Richard and the empty seat. After a few remarks about his travels in the United States that don’t seem to apply at all to the matter at hand, the elderly Norwegian gentleman says his wife has knitted a trio of Norwegian Lover’s Mittens in honor of the couple. He holds up 3 mittens: a right-hand mitten, a left-hand mitten, and a conjoined mitten for the hand-holding couple to wear together. Dennis, realizing that the special moment is somewhat diminished by the lack of a marital partner to demonstrate the mittens, lifts Little Sister up to the dais, and the elderly Norwegian gentleman helps her to stand on the empty chair. Richard good-naturedly dons his left-handed mitten, Little Sister dons the right-handed mitten, and my heart melts as they work out how to put on the shared mitten, then hold up their joined hands for all to see. (Where does my brain come up with these themes?!)
Never one to miss a golden opportunity, Little Sister then asks the hottest guy in the room to dance. Richard Armitage is either unable to resist her, or unwilling to disappoint her, (or intimidated into capitulation by Dennis!) because he stands up and, still wearing the mittens, carries Little Sister onto the dance floor. He sets her down, and having to stoop to keep hold of her hands, they begin to dance.
Pretty soon, ladies begin to form a line along one wall near the dance floor, each waiting her turn to dance with Richard. Several kids and a few couples join the dancers, and Little Sister soon finds a new partner. It’s beginning to remind me of The Stage Door. (In fact, it’s exactly like that!) Even at his own, bizarre wedding reception, Richard Armitage finds himself confronting a line of expectant ladies, and graciously, he begins to dance for short periods with each of them.
Meanwhile, another line is forming, consisting almost exclusively of Norwegians (easily identified by their sweaters, of course!) over at the buffet table, and I realize that the servers have put out the lefse. (Perhaps only those of us of Norwegian descent will appreciate the spot-on nature of this! LOL). I watch the lefse anxiously, knowing that the supply is limited. As the stack of lefse dwindles, I begin to become very concerned that Richard Armitage is not going to get any lefse! (This, ladies, would be an absolute calamity!) I start looking back and forth between the line of Norwegians and the line of ladies, and I realize that there is no way that Richard will have time to dance with all the ladies, and still be in time to get his lefse. I can’t let that happen. If I thought I was sweaty before, it was nothing compared to what I’m feeling now… this wedding reception is already enough of a debacle without Richard missing out on my lefse!
After briefly deliberating whether I should try to notify Dennis about the lefse situation, I decide to take matters into my own hands. I stand up, and move to the front of the line at the dance floor, trying to ignore the sharp looks and the air of resentment from the ladies in line. Richard is spending about 30 seconds dancing with each lady, so it isn’t long before he’s standing in front of me with a polite but vacant smile, holding out his hand to take me onto the dance floor. I have no intention of dancing, not even with Richard Armitage. (Two left feet. Trust me, my four-year old can out-dance me any day of the week!)
“Um, if you want to take a quick break, the lefse is almost gone!”
Richard snaps out of his autopilot and leans in closer. “The left what is almost gone?”
I say it several more times as I lead Richard away from the dance floor, but clearly he has no clue what lefse is. Luckily, he seems willing enough to come along with me, but I’m feeling very awkward because I’ve just pissed off half the non-Norwegian guests and Richard is looking bewildered. (Just what kind of Scandinavian has he married who never bothered to tell him about lefse?) We reach the buffet table and stand at the end of the line. (Apparently, I’ll risk the wrath of cutting into the would-be dance line, but I know better than to cut in front of Norwegians in line for lefse!) As the line moves slowly forward, I point to the Norwegians and try to get across to Richard that what they’re eating is lefse. He’s nodding. Maybe he understands me, maybe he doesn’t. I glance up at him, and he appears to be looking at my hair with a slight smile.
“Flowers in your hair?” For a moment I’m confused, then I pat my head to see if I’ve misplaced a flower there, and a small flurry of white powder puffs out of my hair. With horror, I realize Richard has noticed flour in my hair!
“From the lefse! I made it this afternoon!” Richard smiles kindly. I wish I’d showered. Before I can die of mortification, I suddenly see that the very last piece of lefse is being plated. I gesture helplessly, and Richard witnesses the tragic moment as well.
Although he clearly doesn’t know what he is missing, Richard appears genuinely disappointed. His shoulders slump, but I suspect he’s mostly sympathetic on my behalf. Clearly, serving him my lefse was important to me. Richard asks if there is any more in the kitchen, and I shake my head. Then he must have seen a shifty expression cross my face, because he asks, (with remarkable acuity) whether there is any more lefse at my house. (Crap!) Of course there is, but I don’t really want to share my private stash! Even with Richard Armitage! (I’m ashamed to admit that my generosity unfortunately has its limits, and its limits start with my lefse allotment. LOL)
As I narrow my eyes and wonder if I’m enough of an actress to deceive Richard Armitage about my lefse supply, Richard’s gaze suddenly shoots to something over my shoulder, and his face transforms with delight. Without having to turn around, I know that his wedded love has arrived at last. I give him a congratulatory pat on the shoulder and wave him away, vastly relieved that I don’t have to procure a single piece of lefse from my reserve.
I’m so pleased with this development, that I forget to even notice who the hell it was that Richard Armitage has married.
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