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January 17, 2014: A Warm Reception

Today Pete and I went to a wedding reception. I can count the number of times in my life in which I’ve done this. Three times. This is all I can remember. When I was in my late teens a good friend, the Yogurt Queen of Quam married her Prince Charming. I was the Maid of Honor at her wedding. The reception was held at the Crescent Beach Hotel at Hamlin Beach State Park. It was a very orchestrated affair with the person in charge saying “now do this, and now do that.”

The second and third receptions were the polar opposite of the one described above. Both were very laid back affairs –

The view from Pat's Deck

there was music and off-key singing at both.

Today’s reception was pretty informal. There was no alcohol and consequently no singing. Too bad because bad singing is good.

Our friends Mark and Jay tied the knot a few days ago at the courthouse. Mark’s family hosted the reception. It was held at his dad Pat Carney’s place on Bald Mountain. You have to go up a steep three mile driveway to get to his place – once at the top, the view is spectacular. Pat’s built a huge house on the hill – easily fifty people showed up, and the two front rooms were not crowded. Once again, I felt house lust. I would really like to spend some time there.

The Carneys are Irish-Catholics – and there are a lot of them. Jay is German, and a recent immigrant. Pete and I were duty bound to attend this reception because we introduced the two at last summer’s Bald Mountain Butt Buster Competitive Trail Ride. Pete and I knew Mark from way back. He at one time was married to my good friend Brandi. Brandi eventually left Mark and sold her horse Hunar to Vickie.

I remember once, when I was president of the Alaska Icelandic Horse Association. I organized a local Icelandic horse tour that took us to several horse owner’s farms. This included Brandi and Mark’s place. Mark was kind enough to make us all lunch. Dick Stoffel showed up late. All Mark had on hand to feed him was a steak, potatoes, and a salad. Dick later said that this was the perfect meal.

We met Jay this past summer. She’s Claudia Sihler’s friend. She accompanied us on many trail rides, most of the time walking.

Pete and I had not seen much of Mark or his three kids, Millie, 17, Fiona 15, or Waylen, 11, in recent years, that is until the CTR. The kids are (at least in my estimation) fine individuals. And today was no exception. Fiona was the designated wedding photographer. Then later she stuffed her hoody full of soda cans, which she said she intended to sneak into school. At last count, she was carrying nine cans around. Millie spent considerable time socializing, and talking with me about horse stuff. How long she’ll maintain this interest is anyone’s guess. She also kept a close eye on two young second cousins, who were flirting with one another. We agreed that the relationship ought not be allowed to continue. . . And Waylen, who used to be known as Bubba, hung out and played with his innumerable cousins.

There was a really nice two-tier wedding cake, made especially for this event. It had a small Alaskan and a small German flag on the top. Apparently, it was quite the feat getting it up the road in the car, on the icy road. And there was a toast. Mark, for the first time in all the years that I’ve known him, was speechless. Jay took up the slack and thanked everyone. Then the Carney father and Carney brothers proposed individual toasts.

Jeff Carney, who is a lawyer, proposed a toast and talked about the importance of marriage vows. Someone remarked that this was pretty ironic, given that he has been married three times previously.

I’m not a big one for events with crowds. More than three people, and I get decidedly uneasy. In fact, I’ll avoid such things whatever way I can. I had an okay time at this event because there were a good number of horse people present. It’s odd, my obsession came in hand – it’s usually detrimental. This is because this time it served as a commonality with others. In fact, this time I didn’t have any anxiety attacks – I usually have to excuse myself and go for a walk.

Later, a handful of us gathered at Mark’s place. It was a small gathering of a half-dozen people, mostly Germans. I later told Pete that our being invited to this gathering meant that we were (at least in this particular instance) Carney inner circle.

Brandi had been a good friend of mine, so for me the gathering was a bit sad. But at the same time, her and Mark’s splitting up was then, and the new marriage is now. Then has nothing to do with now. And I’ll bet the kids feel that life now is just easier than it was previously.

We’ll see how it goes for Mark and Jay. I hope that she’s able to handle his eccentricities, one of which is that he hoards stuff. Their getting together though, is proof positive that there is someone out there for everyone. You just need to go to a competitive trail riding clinic in order to find them.

Next: 18. 1/18/15: Planning Ahead

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