Terri Kaiser

I'm reviewing the past year and thinking of all the things I am thankful for. I think it's good to take stock before the craziness of that other holiday kicks in. The most precious gifts have been those times with family and friends. And there have been so many of those times, but one stands out. Hannah's wedding.

In September, my sister Sandi's daughter, Hannah, married her Erick. It was a time of family and friends, of laughter and dancing, of good food and well-wishes for the happy couple. And happy they were! We all were. We saw people we hadn't seen in a coon’s age and happy surprises of others we hadn't expected to see.

My sisters, mother and I gathered like a bunch of hens to decorate the hall with great abandon, letting our creative spirits soar. Sandi provided us with buckets of flowers and greenery and free license to go to town on the lodge at Ojiketa Park. We decorated every available surface in the place. It was a spectacle to behold!

At night, some of us bunked together in a cabin at the park. Late into the night we laughed and shared a brew or two amid lots of goofy jokes and stories. The next day we were up at the crack of dawn to see what more needed to be done.

Hannah was beyond gorgeous as a bride. We watched as this poised young woman that we all watched grow, especially through her phase of wanting to be a dog (but we won't go there), walk down the aisle as an adult. How did that happen? Where did those years go? My heart couldn't have been any prouder.

And then there is her younger brother, our godson. Watching Will dance with his new brother-in-law during the dollar dance was hilarious. Kind of like watching an orangutan dance around a pile of bananas. He was being funny and doing a great job of it.

I will say there was one life lesson for me to be learned at this wedding, and I can sum it up in one word. Spanx. Ladies, you know what I'm talking about. Those stretchy girdle-like contraptions to hold in the muffin top. I bought a pair just for this occasion. Talk about uncomfortable! Maybe my muffin was a bit much for the abilities of the pair in question, but by later in the evening, I couldn't take it anymore. With a quick duck away from the dance floor to the bathroom, I kicked them off and returned to jiggle the night away.

Later on, as several of us ladies gathered around a table to visit and rest our tired feet, my sister Sandi said, “Get this, there is a pair of Spanx lying in a corner in the bathroom. Must belong to one of the bridesmaids.” A collective 'ew' was heard (including from me). Uh, oh. I quietly took my leave from the table, slipped back into the bathroom, balled them up and shoved them into the depths of my purse. Yes, Sandi, it was me.

The last to leave the dance floor that night were we old-timers. The young people all drifted off, but we held on until the bitter end. It's been a long time since I could say that.

So, while I'm awfully thankful for so many things this year, I am thankful for the love I witnessed between Hannah and Erick that day, the forever memories made, and the pictures of so many happy faces (and all those little lessons life throws our way).

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