Love Tackles

Posted: August 20th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: College, Daddio, Drink, Friends and Strangers, Husbandry, Little Rhody, Milestones, Miss Kate, Moods, Summer, Travel | 2 Comments »

I don’t know the first thing about football, but in getting to know—and love—Mark’s college friends, I’ve learned a thing or two about tackling.

The night before our wedding, there was a lobster bake in a tent in my dad’s backyard. It was where Mark and I got that first intense wedding-weekend hit of love from so many fine folk coming from far afield to see us get marinated. It was also, it so happens, the same day my father kidnapped our friend Gary. But that’s another story.

So there I was reveling in the love and the people and the chardonnay and the Rhode Island summer heat, chatting with someone or other, when I was suddenly, quite literally, swept off my feet. It was one of those “it happened so fast” kinda moments. I wasn’t sure where it came from or what it was, but I found myself lifted up and then pinned down onto my father’s desk. The perpetrator—whose head was tucked down somewhere in my midsection—was human. But that was all I could tell.

It took longer than my barely-there patience could handle to determine what was happening. But then the perp looked up, and with her huge grin and mop of strawberry blond hair yelled in high-def close range, “We are HERE, girlfriend! Let the games begin!”

It was Becca. Mark’s glorious fabulous college friend, Becca. Whose house I have the great pleasure of being at this very weekend. In what has most-excellently become an annual pilgrimage to Minnesota for lakeside hi-jinx. Because, six years and six children between us later, we are still giddy-tackle happy to see each other. Though blessedly, in recent reunions she has not knocked the wind out of me.

I mean, I really shouldn’t be pointing fingers here. Since another of Mark’s divine college cohorts, the aforementioned kidnapped Gary—or Uncle Gary as he’s now known to the kidlings—is here with us too. And years before Becca ever tackled me on my wedding weekend, I had the social misfortune of tackling him.

I blame it all on the event’s bartender, who clearly over-served me. Or maybe it was the humid Midwestern lakefront air that clouded my judgment. At any rate, we were at another of Mark’s college friend’s matrimonial celebrations. And I’d had a few.

I was walking from some lake-facing veranda back into the room with the band. And there was Gary. Standing on or near the dance floor. Looking so, well, tackle-able. Some so-bad-it’s-good 80s song was playing, and like some figure skater who visualizes a move before taking to the ice, I saw in my mind’s eye what I would do. That I would run up to Gary, jump with my legs outstretched to straddle his waist, and we would swing jauntily about the dance floor. Like some Travolta-Thurman dance scene from Pulp Fiction.

Compelled by alcohol-borne bad judgment and feeling exceedingly exuberant I ran with the chin-down determination of an Olympic pole-vaulter, and threw myself upon the utterly unawares (and might I add slight-of-build) Gary.

And let’s just say what happened looked nothing like what I’d envisioned.

I flattened him to the ground like a fly. He was stunned, dismayed, and likely injured. I imagine the dress of my skirt landed in a position that revealed parts of me best left to the bride’s grandmother’s imagination.

It was mortifying, and yet, Gary’s good nature managed to rise above. In my vodka-soaked haze I seem to remember him lending me a shoulder as we both limped off the dance floor, me slurring loud apologies in his ear.

Good times.

Ever the mini-me, Kate kept the flame alive when Gary met up with us earlier today. Since his arrival she’s been climbing onto his back and hanging off his neck like one of those long-armed monkey dolls. Despite our once-yearly time together, she’s instantly drawn to him. And though she may nearly choke the dear man with affection at times, she hasn’t (thus far) leveled him to the ground.

With Kate on Gary like her own personal climbing wall, in the other room toddlers Paige and Leo are squaring off. Squatting down and looking each other straight in the eyes, they lunge forward like two Sumo wrestlers going in for the kill. Paige has six months on Leo, so their playing ground is fairly even now. But by next year’s trip he’ll clearly dominate their happy head-butting encounters.

And so the tackling continues. Passed on to the next generation.

As for us big kids, in an hour or so when we arrive at the lake house, I expect the most tackling we’ll be doing will involve the cases of beer that Becca’s husband and Gary both brew by profession. But don’t for a minute think that means we love each other any less.


2 Comments on “Love Tackles”

  1. 1 Sarah said at 11:53 am on August 26th, 2010:

    Those bartenders…it’s always their fault :)

    I am here from the LHJ article and wanted to say hi.

    Also, I am reading “The Help” right now too. I am loving it.

  2. 2 kristen said at 1:29 pm on August 26th, 2010:

    welcome, sarah! i am *loving* the help too. in fact, while my little one sleeps, i’ve stuck my 4YO in front of tv so i can finish it. and i don’t even feel guilty!

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