Charity should begin at home, but should not stay there. ~ Philip Brooks
You have not lived until you have done something for someone who can never repay you. ~ Anonymous
A good laugh is sunshine in the house. ~ William Makepeace Thackeray
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I’m feeling a little older this week, folks. No, I don’t have a milestone birthday coming up. No, I don’t have any aches or pains that I didn’t have a week ago. What I do have, is an event this weekend that has forced me to look in the mirror and realize just how quickly the years have gone by.
This Saturday, my baby boy is getting married. It seems like over twenty-six years ago, holding him in my arms, was merely a few days ago. No, I’m not saddened by the passing of that time. I’ve enjoyed watching him become the man he is today. Although his mom is probably more responsible for the fine adult he has become, I like to take a little credit for his values and moral base as well. I’m excited to be welcoming a new daughter to the family and perhaps, no pressure, the possibility of being blessed with grandbabies someday.
As I hear little tidbits of what is in store for guests at his wedding, I’ve noticed that a lot of things have changed over the years. Some things are no longer done, as new traditions replace old ones. I reminisce as I reflect on his mother and I getting married so many years ago, and I smile at some of the shenanigans we used to do to our friends when they got married. I was reminded, while chatting with a friend the other day, of one of those little adventures that didn’t end as we planned.
Back in the late eighties and early nineties, it was common for friends to try and prank the bride and groom. So much so, that the bride and groom would keep the location of where they were staying on their wedding night a secret, so as to try and avoid some of these pranks. Everything from ordering a wake-up call at 5am the next morning at the hotel they stayed at, to putting confetti in the air vents of their getaway car so that when they turned on the heat or air-conditioning, there would be confetti everywhere. Of course, it was a goal to come up with a prank that would be so legendary, that it would be the highlight story told at the next day’s gift opening and every anniversary celebration for the rest of their lives.
I believe it was 1990, and friends of ours, Gary and Debbie, were getting married. A couple of buddies and I were going to top all previous pranks pulled at weddings with the ultimate prank of all time. We were going to actually booby-trap their wedding suite.
We got to work, phoning hotel after hotel and asking if they had a Mr. and Mrs. Niessen staying at their hotel that night. After about the twentieth phone call, we got ourselves a bingo. We drove to the Sheraton hotel and went to the floor of their room. Looking up and down the hall, we got our second bingo. There was a chambermaid’s cart outside one of the rooms. I boldly knocked on the door of the room she was cleaning and when she appeared, I told her I had locked myself out of my room. She asked my name and I said, “Niessen.” She looked at her clipboard and, satisfied, she came and opened the door for us. I gave her a twenty dollar tip. She probably thought I was being over generous but, in reality, it was more to ease my conscience as I knew it would probably be her that would eventually have to deal with the aftermath with what we were about to do.
Once inside, we got to work. Using the old ‘confetti in the car vents’ as inspiration, we cranked the heat and turned off the air conditioner. We then filled the vents of the air conditioner with confetti. Next, we stripped the bed down to the mattress. We had brought along a big box of sea-shell dry pasta. We spread it over the mattress and then remade the bed. It seemed to take forever to get that bed made because we kept laughing at how uncomfortable that was going to be when they got into bed. There were other things we did as well, but those are the two we were most proud of. We then made our way to the wedding and reception.
The wedding was great and the reception was every bit the party we all hoped it would be. It was actually kinda rough getting out of bed the next morning, but there was no way I was going to miss them telling everyone how their wedding night was during the gift opening. I walked in and listened as everyone chatted about the wedding. Eventually, I got the nerve to ask, “So, everyone got a good night’s sleep?” Gary replied, “Yeah… we stayed at the Palliser and the room was fantastic!” I looked at my buddies. They were as shocked as I was. “We thought you were staying at the Sheraton!” Gary smiled, “We thought about that one. I’m glad we decided against it. My uncle says it was the worst nightmare he’s ever experienced at any hotel in his life.”
Congratulations, Stephen and Izzy. (I promise, no pranks from Dad)