John Mc

This is a collection of my thoughts. Some of the thoughts that I once had, I no longer do. Some thoughts I have now I have never had. Yet none shal be discounted. This blog is soley for the enjoyment of the author and the readers. On occasion the views expressed are overly exagerated in order to prove a point. Also there may be a dirty word or thought in some of the posts. Grow up and take this for what it's worth - a blog that barely anyone will ever see.


Tying The Knot In Effingham

Effingham. How I miss thee.
Effingham always provided for me a slower, quieter and calmer look at life. This perspective really allows one to observe and appreciate life in general. The short amount of time that I got to spend down in Effingham will be a point in my life that I will always cherish. The strangers who became friends very quickly became my family away from home.
One member of my family got married on September 21st. His name is Josh.
A little back-story on Josh:
When I first interviewed at WCRC, Effingham, Josh was currently filling in on the show that I would be taking over. While he will never admit it, most everyone knew that he wanted to keep the program. He claims that he always wanted to be behind-the-scenes doing electrical work, which is what he eventually ended up doing. He is currently an engineer in Iowa for several radio stations and is soon going to be moving to field worker for a radio computer company.
However, our relationship was strained in the beginning. He mentioned that he would show me around "his town" during my first week. I thought that would be enjoyable, not realizing that he was quoting "My Town" by Montgomery Gentry when he said this.
After a few months of Miller Lights on the deck and late nights discussing the relay systems for the satellite programming, I knew that I had a friend in Effingham. He was also very proud to call himself a "redneck" and owned many Jeff Foxworthy albums to back up his claims.
While I was down in Effingham, he met a girl named Sherry. They dated and eventually started living together while she went to school in Carbondale, IL. This was the longest that I had seen Josh date anyone and we all were wondering when they were going to take the next step.
I was thrilled to get a phone call from Josh letting me know that he had asked her and, by some miracle, she said "yes!" They let me know the date was September 21st and I let them know that I wouldn't miss this for the world!
Not only would I get to see my two friends get married, but I would have an excuse to head back to Effingham after several years of being 3 hours north in Chicagoland.
I packed up the Scion early that morning (Well, early for me - 9am) and headed south to Effingham. I had forgotten how long that trip was. I passed the familiar scenery that I had come to know after many weekend round-trips while I worked in Effingham during the week and Chicago on the weekends.
While on my trip down, I contacted the folks that I had come to know while I was down there to set up times to see them. One person I talked to was Heather. She had the air shift right before me. She let me know that she was going to the wedding as well. Plus, her husband and daughter were not going to be there, so she would be my date that evening. I asked her to be my designated driver in return.
As I pulled into town, I quickly made my way to the United Church of Hope (or something like that) for the ceremony. I knew that this wouldn't be the regular wedding that I was used to. I was expecting things to be slightly off.
They were.
The church reminded me of the theater for Second City. It had a black ceiling and movable chairs with a raised stage that had white background and a sound booth behind the "audience." I was given a program and found a seat next to Heather. As I entered I didn't hear the standard string quartet that I was used to, but instead a guy on saxophone and another on guitar played blues rifs. I recalled Josh's love of "The Blues Brothers" and pretty much anything blues and this really made sense. I found it a great touch and a way to make your wedding ceremony unique and your own.
I agreed with the design until I saw the groomsmen enter the room and then read how the bride would be welcomed down the aisle. The groomsmen all wore the sunglasses and hats of Jake and Elwood as they walked in. (Despite us being a little further than 106 miles from Chicago.) "Here Comes The Bride" would be played by Josh... on harmonica.
I recalled that when I met Josh that he had just received a harmonica. He would attempt (key word) to play me a song on harmonica. Instead it sounded nothing like the song he was aiming for and bordered on noise more than music. I was fearful for his performance.
However, apparently there had been months of practice on this song and it came out alright. The ceremony had the unity candle and the pouring of the sand and all the rest of the standard stuff. That is until we went out to welcome them to their car.
No one was given rice or bells or bubbles. Instead, everyone got a mini harmonica to play as they left the church. Cute. Way to keep the theme going. I dug it and expected nothing less from Josh.
We had some time between the ceremony and the reception. So, we went to a former hang-out of mine called "Sneaky Pete's." (The locals creatively nick-named this "Stinky Pete's") After a Jack and Coke and a Long Island, I was doing ok.
Heather and I ventured off to the American Legion where this was being held. I knew of two in Effingham, but it was at a mystery third that I never knew existed. (And I thought I had been everywhere in Effingham. Apparently not!)
We step out of the car onto the gravel parking lot and head for the doors. Inside, long tables with white plastic table cloths await us. Each has a center piece with balloons and mutli-colored sprinkles on it. We sat right near the buffet table. (Wise move, if you ask me.)
Heather, being the great date that she was that evening, got a drink for herself and me while I met the folks at the table. They claim to have known me from when I was down there before. I let them know that I have no idea who they are. (I'm working on being more honest.) They talked about how they listened to me all the time and have even hung out with me on occasion. Still didn't ring a bell.
The servers gathered up a portion of each item from the buffet table in big clear plastic bowls and brought it up to the head table so they didn't have to wait in line at the buffet. The rest of us shuffled through the line to get our meal. Fried chicken, mashed potatoes and other amenities were available for us. Just don't forget your napkins and plastic silverware at the end, otherwise you have to go through the line again or cut in briefly to retrieve them.
I got just what I needed for round one of my meal. I figured this would be all that I needed, but left room for more of what tasted good for my next time through the line. That is until Heather pointed out that the waiters had taken what was picked over from the head table and were placing it back in the food's respective containers on the buffet table.
I didn't get a second round.
Heather then pointed out the gun rack on one of the walls in the room. I must say that it was the widest variety of rifles that I had seen in a wedding hall in quite a long while.
The bar was on the side of the dance floor. There you could order anything you wanted. As long as it was Bud, Bud Light, Miller Lite or Miller High Life. All in cans. At one point I went up to place my order of Miller Lite, and the bartender paused.
"Do I know you?" She asked.
"No. I'm not from around here." I quickly responded. I knew where this was going.
"Sure I do. Are you on the radio?"
"No. I used to be, but I'm not anymore."
"SURE! You're John! You're from Gayle and John in the Morning! Where's Gayle?"
"Yeah, I am. Not sure where Gayle is."
"Well, I used to listen to you guys all the time. You were great. Tell Gayle I said 'Hi' the next time you see her."
The bar, itself, remained open during the reception. The denim-clad patrons would walk through the dance floor to the bar and watch the festivities. This wasn't a problem, for most of the patrons were also in jeans. even the bride wanted to slip into something more comfortable than her high-heals and donned her cowgirl boots.
When I heard that the DJ was a cousin of Josh, I had my doubts, but she did a great job. Everyone really enjoyed the festivities.
Meanwhile, up in Chicagoland, one of my second-cousins was getting married. My folks were invited and told me of the $1000 centerpieces that were on each table. How the meal was filet and lobster tail. The floors were marble and the chandeliers were plentiful.
I thought about this and realized that I was glad that I was where I was. I guarantee that I had MUCH more fun with fried chicken and cans of Miller Lite than I ever would have had at my second-cousin's wedding.
The reason? Josh's wedding was a celebration. It was friends and family gathering to spread the joy of their union. My second-cousin's may have had that. However, people didn't talk about that. Instead they discussed how expensive and lavish everything was. The pomp and circumstance seems to have clouded the real reason that we celebrate a momentous occasion like this.
I had a blast. And it wasn't over yet!
There was an after-party at Josh's folks house. Did Josh and Sherry retire to their honeymoon suite after their reception? Hell no! They were at the after party as well! A keg of Miller Lite (What else?) was in the backyard. Small bottles of Jack and Baccardi were on the picnic tables for shooting. (One lady had to really twist my arm to get me to do a shot of Jack with her. Then it hit. I let her know it would be a few minutes before I did another one.)
After my first beer, a 13 year-old came up to me and asked "Would you care for another, sir?" I asked him if he knew how to pour it properly. He looked at me as if I had asked him if he knew how to walk. "Yes, sir. My grandpa has taught me well."
Sure enough, 99% beer and 1% head was in my solo cup in no time. I turned to Josh shortly after and said "That kid really knows how to pour a beer."
Josh pointed behind me and said "He knows how to drink it as well." I turned behind me and several adults huddled around this kid encouraging him to "Chug, chug, chug!"
"I love this place," was all I could think.
It was at this point that I was glad that Heather had drove. She remained responsible and took me back to my hotel where I called it a night.
The next day, I woke up early to go to church with my good friends William and his wife, Nancy. We met up with Chad to have lunch at William's parents' house. This isn't a standard lunch. This is an Effingham Sunday lunch. His dad was on the grill with the hot dogs and hamburgers. I assumed this was it. Not a chance. His mom brought out pasta, steamed vegetables and 106 other dishes. Not to mention desert afterwards.
It was after an afternoon of catching up with old friends that I once again said good-bye to Effingham. I miss it every time that I leave. But, I knew it wouldn't be the last time that I would be down there.
Sure enough, I have yet another wedding down there on the 31st of this month.
It is a different world and I'm thankful for every minute that I have the opportunity to spend there. I'm even more thankful for the friendships that have endured long after the distance between us has grown.
More on Effingham soon!!!

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  • At 4:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I have three words..I am scared.

  • At 9:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    R.I.P. Sneaky Pete' closed this last weekend to be remodeled into an Italian restaurant.

  • At 9:37 PM, Blogger Looney73 said…

    I have been to some "small town" weddings as well and enjoyed them a lot! There is something that is different and I think is can be summed-up in one word: simple! I have to say I found it amusing that you told us this story now in January when you went to this wedding back in September.


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