Monday, March 26, 2007


As frequently happens, I think about someone, aware that I ought to be in better touch, and of course I hear from that person. Today I received an email from Lacey*, whom I refer to as my foster daughter, though there was no involvement from any official parties. She thinks of me as one of her mothers, I think of her as my daughter - it's all good.

The first thing I did before actually reading the email was scan the document, praying that the word "pregnant" would not be there. Only after I determined that a grandchild was not in the immediate future did I actually read it. For better or worse, the main content of the letter was to tell me that she is getting divorced. Now this is not the most terrible thing I can think of at all.

Yes, it's true I know nothing about the man she married other than the assumptions I could make based on what I saw at their wedding. It was not pretty, not at all. TGF who hails from the south (when we were dating long distance she used to sign her emails YSB - Your Southern Babe) said she was hearing the theme music of Deliverance as we wound our way through the boonies of western Massachusetts on dirt roads to get first house where the wedding was, and then more dirt roads to another family property for the reception.

We drove up to a posse of young men standing in the road smoking cigarettes, wearing black Carhardt jeans and black Stetsons, to ask where we should park. After passing them we glanced at each other, eyebrows raised up to heaven. Later we determined that the groom was the one with the John Deere belt buckle.

As we waited, as patiently as possible for the late bride, we watched the laundry waving in the gentle breeze no more than 15 feet behind where the couple would soon be exchanging vows. Fighting nausea I tried to amuse myself and TGF by dissing the inappropriate costuming that passed for wedding attendance attire. Finally we heard a chugging and grinding sound that heralded Lacey's arrival in, wait for it, a hay cart pulled by a tractor.

She looked absolutely lovely, and the dress was quite nice but, OMG, she wore flip flops with sequins! Obviously I had not schooled her well in this area. Seriously barefoot would have been perfectly acceptable, sweet even but those things were inexcusable.

In the end I cried a bit but rallied by the time I was on the receiving line.
We exchanged a long hug and each shed some tears. This was the first time I had seen her in, hm, two years? Whenever it was it was a whole other phase of her development. She came up from the San Diego area up to the Bay Area with her girlfriend (her first, and as far as I know only one) to attend SF Pride. Yes it had been a long time in a short span of calendar years. In the time in between she had decided to leave the west coast (again), leaving her first sapphic love to give western Massachusetts and her relationship with her mother another try. Somehow she managed to fall in love with a local good ol' boy and was now getting married. I digress, back to the wedding day.

Soon enough TGF and I were back on the dirt roads, or as my friend Mush likes to say, BFE. We got a little lost because the maps that Lacey had dutifully printed out were pieced together - backwards. Between the bad map, jet lag, and mama worry I had completely lost my memory of which towns sat next to which. We knew we were in the right place when the lone dusty opening off the road was marked by a "John Deere Lane" sign. Apparently devotional idolatry to farm equipment runs in the family as this was the groom's grandfather's place.

The main course was to be prepared in the enormous wooden, wall-less structure with enough grill space, refrigerating units and electricity running to it to serve about five army platoons. A few feet from there was the largest, most luxurious outhouse I have ever seen - plumbed toilet, sink and shower. It also served as storage for dessert - trays of cookies were laid on the linoleum flooring. Yum. Country music, the melody of which makes TGF's ears bleed, or so she says, bleared from speakers attached to the enormous structure. I was stunned. The last musical taste of Lacey's, that I was aware of, consisted of hip hop, Korn, and standard top 40 pop.

While waiting for the main course of hamburgers, franks, and baked beans there was a delightful spread of appetizers: cheetos, a poor excuse for nachos, crackers with sprayed cheese, among other culinary high points. Now TGF and I love cheetos, don't get me wrong and if we were to serve them at our wedding reception it would about camp, or iconoclastic you know? Here, it was youth and budgetary concerns.

At some point Lacey came over and proceeded to gush about my presence, about various friends, and well just did that gushy "OMG I'm a bride" thing. One of the few descriptions of the various folks she rattled off at me which stood out was the following. She pointed out "Joe", telling me he was a good buddy of her new hubby and that he was the "family taxidermist" because in the "Smith" family one has a family taxidermist. Here I sat, her mostly vegetarian, partially Buddhist, recycling, largely pacifist mama trying to find a good response to the idea that my son-in-law was a hunter.

After she flitted off to the next set of guests, TGF and I went back to our empty table (there were way more seats at the wedding than guests and the same abundance of derrière options were at the reception. Jet lag and the next day flight's looming, we left for more relaxing accommodations. We returned to our friends' Adrienne and Don's chaotic home to regale them with observations of the day. Suddenly their offerings of ganja were looking awfully appealing.

Here it is less than two years later, her divorce is almost final. She has so much growing and potential to take advantage of in the years to come. I only hope she knows that.

*Not her real name.


heather said...

i know the situation is difficult for lacey - a divorce is never easy - but what a great story, thanks for sharing. very vivid.

Jennie said...

What a nightmare. Ugh. I'm sure she doesn't see this as salvation...

Jbeeky said...

Thank heavens for happy endings. Jaysus God, the cookies on the outhouse floor alone had me running for anti bacterial gel. Tell me they were still in the Little Debbie packaging.

goblinbox said...

Sounds a lot like my wedding. I had a load of laundry on the line myself when I took my vows. There were more trucks than cars parked in the yard. There were Cheetos.

There was no country music, though, and I managed five years before splitting. ;-)