Say cheese!

By David Lindeman

Contributing Columnist

Life usually is pretty uncomplicated when you’re 10 years old. You go to school, play with your friends, try to avoid cleaning your room and generally subsist from day to day.

I find this is not all that different than my life now that I am 66. I go to work, talk to my friends about all our ailments, try to avoid mowing the grass and generally subsist from day to day.

But occasionally there are complications – like when a relative gets married. This can cause all kinds of disruptions in an otherwise serene schedule.

Recently, one of our nieces got married. My wife and I were invited to attend. So were my two grandchildren, ages 8 and 10, who flew to Troy from Denver with their mother for the big event. This was not a problem for my wife or my daughter or, for that matter, my 8-year-old granddaughter, who thinks weddings are just about the greatest thing in the universe. However, it is a different story for my 10-year-old grandson and me.

Don’t get me wrong, I was really happy for our niece and for her new husband. Plus, it’s not that I actually dislike going to weddings, there are just other things in my busy schedule that are calling – well, OK, not so busy. Mowing the grass is not really that big of a thing. I guess I’m just not a big ceremony guy.

Neither is my 10-year-old grandson. But there we were last Saturday in the car headed to Dayton for the wedding.

The first problem was that my grandson just flew in from Denver. In Denver this time of year, and most times of the year, there just isn’t much growing. The air is dry and you can walk for a long time without encountering any significant pollen or other allergens.

In Ohio this time of year, everything is blooming and it’s like living in a greenhouse on steroids. As soon as he stepped off the plane, my grandson started a mostly losing battle against allergies.

You can see him fighting against the sneezes during the ceremony. It is an epic struggle – he doesn’t want to lose control when one of them is saying “I do,” or, even worse, when the groom kisses the bride (and vice versa)!

And, through a great deal of willpower, he succeeds! But then … anyone who is remotely related to the couple has to hang around for pictures. This is not exactly what young (or old) men like to do.

After that ordeal, we get in line for snacks. By the time we arrive at the table, most of the cheese, which is what my grandson wants, is gone. He looks mournfully at the remains. There is one big hunk of cheese on the corner of the table, clearly there for decoration, but apparently edible. I look at my grandson. He looks at me. I grab the cheese, rip it in half and put one half on his plate and one half on mine. Yes! Great minds think alike.

Then there’s dinner. Weddings take a really long time. At every place there is a little bag with two gigantic cookies inside. The cookies are right there. The buffet line could be a long time off. Luckily for my grandchildren, they are sitting next to one of their uncles who does not comply with normal societal eating taboos such as children eating their meals before they get dessert.

“Go ahead,” he says, “eat your cookies.”

This makes it all worth it! They can each eat two giant cookies before supper. Of course, there’s not much room left for prime rib or salmon or chicken, but who wants to eat that stuff, anyway?

It’s all downhill from there. There’s cake, of course, which is another highlight, and my granddaughter gets to dance a little bit before we pack up the car and head home. My granddaughter is happy to announce that she has now been to three weddings and is ready for more.

My grandson and I? Well, we have survived and as far as we know, there are no more weddings on the near horizon. We can return to our daily, uncomplicated existence.

David Lindeman is a Troy resident and former editor at the Troy Daily News. He can be reached at [email protected]