Remembering a long ago day in May

COLUMN: Speaking to the long weekend and all its goodness.

Take a handful of green, soft and smelling like summer, stir in a handful of laughter, add a sprinkle of sparkling conversation and slowly fold in the glowing embers of a fire burning bright long into the night and what do you have?

An awesome long weekend.

Every year the long weekend in May rolls around and for some time prior, people start to talk about it.

“So what are you going to do for the long weekend?” is the big question asked around water coolers and on coffee breaks and at lunchtime. Couples, after the supper dishes are done and the kids tucked into bed, will look at each other and ask the same question, “So what are we going to do on the long weekend?”

Of course, camping is a popular pastime for us eternally optimistic and hardy Albertans.

We think nothing of heading out to somewhere, preferably west, it seems, after we have shaken off the cobwebs of whatever camping accommodations we may possess even if rain, or heaven forbid, snow is in the forecast.

And then there is golfing!

Who can resist the lure of the golf courses, fairways stretching on to forever, greens all well, just green and lush and full of promise.

And then there are weddings.

Some people actually get married on the long weekend.

Seems kind of weird, doesn’t it.

But that’s what I did.

It was long ago and we were young, as young as spring itself.

My husband-to-be had just finished final exams for his first year of NAIT.

The long weekend probably wasn’t the best time to hold a rather impromptu wedding. After all, people already had plans. They were going camping or golfing or maybe just planting their garden.

But, not us. No, siree. We were going to tie the knot. The matrimonial knot.

Looking back, it seems I can hardly recall that young girl who was me.

But, this year as I sat around a back yard fire with family and friends to celebrate the occasion I did have a few flashbacks of that long ago day in May.

As I recall the groom was very nervous, probably wishing he had opted for hanging out with his friends on the long weekend instead of standing in a church waiting for his bride to be to walk down the aisle.

And then there was me. The bride.

I was woefully inexperienced at pretty much everything. I did, however, possess the optimism and innocence of youth and I had no doubt I could pull of this wedding armed with not much more than a shoestring budget and a bountiful imagination.

And so I did.

My colours were blue and silver.

I remembered that as I spread the plastic blue tablecloth on the picnic table in the back yard and set out silver candles purchased from the dollar store.

And, as the darkness of night descended quietly and the air smelled delicious like summer and the flickering orange and red flames crackled, I thought fleetingly about how life could have turned out differently since that long ago summer.

We could have ended up rich.

I imagined fine dining and elegance and traveling to exotic places. I thought about caterers and crystal wine glasses and fine linen.

And then I came back to the present. I looked around at the dear faces illuminated by the crackling fire. And I thought of the children and the grandchildren and the nieces and the nephews and the siblings and the cousins and the aunts and uncles, and the friends who made up the threads that had, over the years, weaved the tapestry of our lives.

And, as these thought flitted through my mind, one thing I knew for sure.

We had achieved richness.

Richness beyond compare.

Treena Mielke is the editor for the Rimbey Review.