By Special Correspondent Rachel Peine
If you know Ronnie , by now you’re aware that the first Saturday in May is ALWAYS Free Comic Book Day. Every year Ronnie reminds his friends that they dare not mess with his time-honored tradition of scouring the city in search of free comics. Unfortunately, the first Saturday in May also happens to be the pick day for weddings. Being the world’s worst friend, I chose to get married on the first Saturday in May just two years ago. Believe me, I heard about it.
So when Melissa Blain, Ronnie’s best friend in the whole world, AND his niece decided to get married on the first Saturday in May, this was A BIG PROBLEM. Not only would he have to forgo Free Comic Book Day, but he’d have to choose between attending a friend’s wedding in Missouri or a family’s wedding in Oklahoma. Ronnie made the right decision, which meant the EC would be without their fearless leader at Melissa’s wedding.
My husband Jeff and I decided to stay the weekend at the lovely Tievoli Resort in Clarksville, Missouri, where the wedding would take place. Melfy, Greg and Stevie decided this would be a good idea as well and we could stay in one condo together. Yay, Party Condo!
When the day arrived for Melissa’s wedding, Melfy, Greg, Stevie, Jeff and I loaded up the “Party Van” at around 2 p.m. and were headed to Clarksville. Jeff was battling a bad sinus infection, so we made sure he had plenty of kleenex in the car. We banished Stevie to the back seat like a child, but she didn’t seem to mind. She had brought her iPod Nano, which we piped through the van speakers, and rocked out to tunes, such as “Pump Up the Jam” and “Whoomp, There It Is,” on the drive up, which seemed to pass quickly.
When we pulled into the gated compound, there was a guard who made us all sign in and pick up our room key to the Party Condo. We only got one key, which we thought was strange, but proceeded to our condo, scenically located next to a small pond. Stevie wanted to go swimming, but we told her to wait until the wedding was over. When we opened the door to our condo, there was one room, with one king bed. Hmmm…this would be a problem. We had booked two rooms. Melfy called the nice guard and told him about our situation, and he said he would have to call his manager and “figure things out.”
In the meantime, Jeff busted out a secret stash of marshmallows rolled in toasted coconut, and everyone enjoyed this unique creation while sipping shots of cherry vodka from Stevie’s pink flask. Finally, Jim-Bob arrived with the key to let us in to the other side of the condo, which was HUGE! It was a Party Palace! Once again, Stevie was banished upstairs to the kids room. We had planned to eat after we arrived to the condo, but because we had to wait for Jim-Bob to bring us our key, we ran out of time. By this time, we needed to get ready to attend the wedding.
After a slight shoe dilemma, we headed off to the ceremony. The walk up the gravel hill was interesting. The wedding took place at the top of a hillside under a large tree with an old barn/shed in the background. It was quite peaceful. Seats were filled and there was even standing room only! Melissa is a popular lady, what can I say? After much adieu, Melissa finally arrived in a stunning satin gown with flowers in her hair. The wedding was short and sweet – less than 10 minutes! The bride and groom had a receiving line and then boarded their horse-drawn carriage, a surprise Melissa’s new hubby Pete had arranged. The walk down the hill went a lot faster without shoes.
By this time, all of us were hungry, so we went straight to the reception at the Port House just down the hill. When we got there we quickly secured a table and gathered our wine glasses. Yellow, Tim, Carrie, Paul, Cindy, the Great Dana, Stana and other current or former Journalites joined us.
Jeff then proceeded to duke it out with the wine server, who we affectionately called Bertha, who would only pour us a shot sized amount of wine at a time. We decided that we would switch to beer because she couldn’t control that amount.
Just after we all got past the tipsy point due to a lack of food, the bride and groom arrived and so did the food. Of course we were first in the food line. Since we were hungry, we took a full plate of finger foods. Well apparently everyone else did the same because the food ran out! Eeek! Luckily they refilled the platters after about 20 minutes, so everyone was happy again.
We danced the night away with Melissa and everyone had a blast. Melfy, Chibbs and Stevie did the Electric Slide. I spewed my beer across the table in everyone’s face because Jeff told a funny joke about someone that will remain nameless who was at the wedding. Melissa kissed me on the cheek. Paul kissed Stephanie on the cheek. Good times were had by all.
At about 10:30 everyone was pretty intoxicated, and Stevie and Greg wanted pizza, so Yellow, the only sober one because she’s expecting, drove us in the Party Van to Lousiana, Missouri, the closest town with a Pizza Hut. Stevie wanted us to get more beer and Baby Yellow was hungry for snacks, so we stopped at a gas station before heading back to the resort.
By the time we got back, the wedding reception had mainly moved out to the lawn and a bonfire was getting underway. Carrie, Paul, Greg, Melissa, Stevie, Jeff and I decided to take our pizza back to the Party Palace where we ended the fun day of festivities.
On the ride home, Jeff and Stevie ate cold pizza in the Party Van.
Stephanie Eichmeyer also contributed to this report