LAURIE: One of my most vivid and empathetically embarassing memories of my sister’s wedding reception is when Great-Aunt Rodie got trashed on white wine and, between the distribution of the cake and the distribution of the petit fours, started commandeering the attention of the black and Latino waiters, to tell them how much she loved them. How she felt more at home with them than with the white people (a.k.a, everyone) in her family. Rodie died recently after one of those brief, dramatic downhills that the elderly tend to take. She was a dear, sweet person, a former Catholic nun and lifelong servant of charity, so it was sad for the world to lose her, but it was clearly, to call on a cliché, “her time.”
Nuns with guns.
After her funeral, an hourlong Mass on the afternoon of St. Patrick’s Day, there was a brief, sober reception in the sunny social room of the church, featuring red Jell-O salad, a pile of wan cold cut sandwiches, coffee and soda. After that, there was the cocktail [six] hour[s] at my parents’ house, during which I had a chance to grill the third cousin who got married at the same venue that Josh and I have chosen. She spoke reassuringly of juicy barbecued chicken and ribs that had impressed her husband’s Texan family, of bonfires, of the freedom to make as much noise as we pleased, and of low, low prices, with discounts for children.