Sunday, June 27, 2010
Two weeks ago, Wally and Kathy Tesmond printed an add in the Confederacy Times inviting everyone in Cloverdale to attend their 50th wedding anniversary party held last night in the Social Hall of the Saved By Grace Lutheran Church.
The anniversary party started promptly at 5:00 P.M. 5:00 P.M. was thought to be too early by some, but considering many of those that attended were residents of the Nearly There Home for the Aged and Infirmed, a 5:00 P.M. starting time guaranteed a large percentage of the guests would be awake and alert at 7:00 P.M. when the couple planned to re-exchange vows in a wedding renewal ceremony performed by Pastor Lars Sveedeen.
The happy couple greeted everyone as they entered through the double metal fire doors separating the social hall from the chapel. Kathy looked radiant in a pink dress highlighted with small white lace flowers. Her hair was heavily lacquered thanks to a special treatment at Cloverdale’s very own Peter Pan Beauty Salon, where they guarantee to remove years from your appearance using a combination of hair dyes, hair inserts, make up, and clothing from the Mid Life Range consigned from the Woman’s Department of Donaldson’d Department Store.
Wally looked smart in a nicely pressed shirt with bow tie. He was freshly shaved and smelled of Old Spice and Ivory Soap. His grasp was firm even after several years of retirement from their farm.
Wally saw me two people down in the line and perked up. We hadn’t spoken in a couple years and he was always curious about news from The Other World at the end of the railroad tracks leading out of the Confederacy.
“What news from outside our little hamlet?” he asked with a twinkle in his eye and a smile revealing his coffee stained teeth when the slowly moving line deposited me before him.
Before answering I patted his upper arm near the shoulder to demonstrate our friendship.
“A mess Wally, its a real mess out there.” I said in a voice loud enough to be heard over the Clearly Sister’s Trio. The Clearly Sisters provided live music for the party. Eva Clearly played the piano, Margaret Clearly played the Bass and Minerva Clearly sang.
“Economies are nearly bankruptcy, banks are hesitant to lend money and unemployment is still a major factor slowing the recovery world wide,” I said finishing off my summary of world events.
“Oh my,” Wally responded with a look of worry in his eyes for his younger brother and family who lived in the greater Chicago area of the United States.
“Shall we talk later?” I asked, to which Wally nodded and reached out to greet the guest behind me. I left the line and quickly found the refreshment table.
The Saved By Grace Lutheran Church’s Women’s Guild provided the refreshments, served near the kitchen’s open serving window. On the far left of the table was the big industrial coffee pot. Next to the coffee were several trays of Swedish meatballs with toothpick handles. After the meatballs were assorted crackers, buns, cheeses and meats. Desserts consumed the last third of the table. In the center of the room, sitting atop a card table, was an anniversary cake provided by the Piggly Wiggly in store bakery. It was in the shape of the number 50 with butter cream frosting covering a white cake with strawberry filling. The cake was guarded by several of the wheelchair bound residents of the Nearly There Home for the Aged and Infirmed. They held plates in their laps and plastic forks in their hands - ready and waiting for the cake to be served. You see, sweets are discouraged by the Home’s Warden. Many of the residents suffer from diabetes; others suffer from constant infections from bad teeth and poorly fitted dentures.
I made it around the room several times, talking to my friends and neighbors before the ceremony began. The pastor stood near the false waterfall, provided by Ace Hardware’s Outdoors Department. The trickling sound of the water caused Wally to interrupt the re-exchanging of vows to make a quick bathroom stop. The pastor himself was affect by the sounds as were several others, each taking turns excusing themselves from the room. Finally, the pastor stepped firmly down on the small hose recycling the water from the bottom holding tank to the top of the fountain. The trickling sound stopped and everyone was once again able to focus on the service.
Wally and Kathy kissed after the pastor announced they were, once again, husband and wife. Cheering erupted followed by a standing ovation. It was very well planned and executed.
By 8:00 P.M. the event was winding down. The sleeping seniors were wheeled into a waiting van. Everyone else parted one by one, each stopping one last time to wish the couple “Long Life.” I arranged a time to sit down with Wally one on one at the Hairy Lemon Pub to give him the highlights of my last trip into The Other World.
I exited the Social Hall, walked through the church’s foyer and then out through the chapel's large wooden doors into a warm Cloverdale evening. The sun was setting behind the distant mountains. The sky was a painter’s palette of color with bright oranges at the horizon changing to dark blue directly overhead. I walked toward the High Street greeting my fellow citizens along the way.
There is nothing finer than a stroll through the fine village of Cloverdale in the warmth of a summer’s evening. The smell of the Moss Wonderland Bakery dominated the air until my walk brought me close to the Kicking Donkey’s outdoor barbecue. The delicious smell of simmering beef drew me off my chosen path. Perhaps an hour or so with good company and a nice steak cooked medium rare wouldn’t hurt.
I turned toward the Pub, crossed the street and quickened my pace. Off in the distance I heard the whistle of the approaching Coastal Express as it neared the train station.
Life is good in Cloverdale.