Once upon a time in the Catskills…
Once upon a time (this past weekend), a big group of friends and I hopped in our Hondas and Subarus and drove far, far away (’bout 2 hours) into the wilderness (the Catskills).
We heard that something special (an amazing wedding) was happening there, and we needed to see it for ourselves.
So we rented a cabin (Kate’s Lazy Meadow), deep in the woods, co-owned by a woman with flaming red hair and a former life as a singer in a popular ’90s group (The B52′s). That’s right. We spent our weekend at the lo-o-o-ve shack.
And that’s when strange things started happening.
First of all, there was no glitter on the mattress. Or the front porch, for that matter. And the roof? NOT TIN.
The place was like a shrine to Santa Fe, filled with southwestern rugs, Indian paintings and Navajo symbols painted on the walls and ceilings. I loved it. It reminded me of the bolo ties my dad wore everyday for three years straight because he insisted they were cool (they weren’t).
Anyway, we picked our rooms, dropped our bags, and headed out to a local hotel bar for the wedding pre-party.
The place was rustic and cozy and looked like it’d been whittled by hand out of very old wood. It would have been paradise if the first thing out of everyone’s mouths wasn’t:
“DID YOU SEE THE DEAD BEAR IN THE PARKING LOT?”
You see? This is why we don’t leave the city.
Anyway, we drink our draft beers and try to erase the grisly image of a big dead bear from the corner of our minds. We chit-chat with friends old and new, and through the course of the evening, discover that three of us have made the unfortunate mistake of forgetting our pants for the weekend. I forgot to pack my pajama pants, the best man has forgotten his dress pants, and Vin neglected to bring any underpants. This is a bonding moment for us. The fraternal order of the forgotten pants.
After last call, we drive back down the pitchest-blackest road in the whole wide world until we get to the dark, scary, narrow road where our little navajo cabin is set way in the back of some super dark and totally creepy woods.
Have I painted the scene yet?
Around 2 a.m., one of the guests in our house (the one in her 7th month of pregnancy) feels her throat close up real, real tight. She is unable to breathe and believes she is reacting to some type of allergen in the house. She’s in such misery that she and her husband take their pillows and blankets and attempt to SLEEP IN THEIR CAR in the middle of the really creepy woods in the dark, scary night. When I heard about it the next morning I felt like they’d just described the opening scene of a terrible low-budget horror movie.
Would you sleep next to this murder waystation without an axe by your side? I would not. This thing was built for stacking bodies.
The next day, we all found ways to keep ourselves entertained before the wedding. I was so hungry I could have eaten a horse (or a bear–awww, sad face), so my husband Vin, our friend Mike and I drove into the closest town for a late brunch. That town was Woodstock.
Yes, that one.
Let me preface this next interlude with a bit of history. Not American history–you guys already know about the big concert with too many hallucinogenics and muddy dancing and trippy music. I’m speaking of my own personal history with Woodstock. It’s not long–I promise. I visited this little tie-died oasis for the first time last summer, and to put it graciously, had a difficult time finding common ground with some of its residents.
I’m not going to say a thing. Not a thing.
Anyway…we’re in town not three seconds, and we piss off one of the locals. (It wasn’t either of these people. I think the Grateful Dead would have to run them over with their tour bus to piss them off.)
So we arrive in Woodstock: we step out of the car, and onto the sidewalk. Vin and Mike were both holding cell phones, as people of this generation are wont to do. An older guy appears on the sidewalk and announces, “Pedestrian coming up behind you.”
Vin and Mike step aside. They pardon themselves (like gentlemen).
The man replies: “You’d think with all that technology you’d both have eyes in the back of your heads.” (like an a-hole).
Mike sing-songs: “Haaaaaave a niiiiice dayyyyyyyy!” (like a smart-ass).
The man yells: “YOU KNOW, YOU CAN GET ARRESTED FOR FUCKING WITH THE LOCALS LIKE THAT.” (like someone who just escaped from the bitter barn and needs to crawl right back in).
Dude, lighten up. And while you’re at it, give peace a chance. That’s all we are saying. That, and you better check yourself before you wreck yourself.
After all, if it weren’t for us tourists, who would buy all your groovy tie-dies?
Would your weeds even have a yard to grow in?
After plenty of hand-wringing over our unsavory altercation over tasty brunch, we spent the rest of our time in Woodstock searching for underpants for my husband. It took a while to find something appropriate, but eventually he came running out of a variety shop with a tiny brown lunch bag with underpants inside, shouting “Victory is mine!”. And so it was time to retreat to the cabin to get ready for this wedding. You know, the whole reason we were out here in the first place.
And that’s when wonderful things started happening.
Someone beautiful walked out of those woods.
The trees stopped looking creepy, and started looking majestic.
The love and peace I had hoped to witness earlier in the day spread over me like brushfire.
And the pure bliss on their sweet faces filled an entire room with joy.
We began to feel more at ease. At one with our surroundings. We understood why we had been brought out of the city and into this wild place. This was our Woodstock.
So we began to get our drink on.
Followed by a round of finger foods.
After a while, we all discovered that we quite liked the mountain air. Knocks the frizz right out.
And eventually we admitted that none of us really wanted to leave.
So we didn’t. Vin and I live in the mountains now. We’re still wearing these outfits three days later.
And we’re still reflecting on how magical this weekend was, and how happy it made us to see Aubrey and Mitch so blissfully in love. They had one of the most beautiful weddings we’ve ever attended, surrounded by tall trees, green mountains and a room full of adoring family and friends. We danced until our feet hurt and ended the evening by roasting marshmallows over an open fire. Their wedding was perfect.
And they lived happily ever after.
The end. (Well, actually…the beginning.)