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Hearts of gold

It has now been 24 hours since Brittany and Zach’s reception began. I’m still digesting what went on last night. 

It was a very heavy emotional night for me. However, it was the good kind of emotional, not the bad kind, which has happened far too often in my life. 

Brittany has been a very big reason why the bad days have happeend so much less frequently in 2015. Sure, there have been some down days. The worst was the one week in April where I really had some awful times at work. Not only did I cry during a session with Crista–one which was scheduled at the very last minute–I also cried during a checkup with Dr. Custer. However, there really hasn’t been anything that bad since. Maybe a couple of bumps, but nothing which I couldn’t quickly put behind me. 

However, when I’m around Brittany, it is nearly impossible to be down. If she sees me going down, she will always be very quick to pull me out of it. And she’s always right. I shouldn’t be down. 

I admit I nearly blew it two weeks ago when I told her I was really scared about going to her reception. Fortunately, Crista, Peggy Cox and Stacie Seube pulled me out of the funk the next day and everything was back on track. 

Crista is the biggest reason, other than the couple themselves, that I went last night. She has instileld the confidence in me to overcome just about any obstacles which once would have paralyzed me. Shannon was right when she told me last night 

If I would have missed last night, I would never have forgiven myself. Brittany and Zach might never have forgiven me, either, and they would lhave been right. Brittany has told me so many times that I matter, that she and Zach love me, that they want me to be my best, that they will always care about me. I’ve very rarely have had that in my life. If I had any sliver of a doubt, it was erased last night when Brittany came running in her wedding dress outside the ballroom just after arriving and threw her arms around me. 

With all the shocking and sad stories about men who cheat, men who abuse their significant others, and women who sometimes do the same, it’s so wonderful to see a loving couple whom I know is deeply committed to one another. Brittany will never have to live in fear, because Zach is the type of man who would never do something to cause her harm. 
I have lost contact with so many friends through the  years. I don’t believe this will be the case with Brittany and Zach. I hope we’re as good of friends 30, 40, 50 years from now as we are today. With these beautiful people, I’m confident we’ll enjoy many more good times together. And also be there for each other in the bad. 

Brittany and Zach, I know I’ve said it so many times this weekend, but I love you. Very very much. And I always will. 

One enchanted evening

Over two hours after I returned to my hotel in St. Joseph, and I’m still awake.

This is the good kind of still awake at 2:30 a.m., the kind which comes from the built up energy from a big event. I have usually felt it after driving home from a football game, a basketball game, a track meet or other sporting event.

Right now, it’s all because two people who love each other completely invited me to be a part of the biggest day of their lives.

I arrived at the reception hall, The Grand Ballroom in downtown St. Joseph, just before 6 p.m. I then began to saw people dressed up entering the building, and I began to get a little worried.

I was worried that I was underdressed for the event. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I bypassed the shirt and tie for something which would be more appropriate, at least to some, at a barbecue: tropical print silk blend shirt, pale yellow shorts (which came down to the knees), green Polo Ralph Lauren socks and all-white Stan Smith Adidas sneakers. I even wore a new cologne from Lacoste and used the Soda scented after shave from Wm. Neumann for the first time. The only thing not new was the blue dial Fossil watch.

Turns out I was fine. Many other people showed up in polo shirts and shorts, and a lot of people were in polo shirts and long pants. I was better off the way I was because the ballroom was not air conditioned. There were fans keeping it bearable, but it should have had air conditioning. Sure, St. Joseph isn’t New Orleans, Houston or Miami in the summer, but it’s still brutally hot most of the time.

I went inside at 6:15, and the only person there I knew for the first 30 minutes was Tori, who was one of the two bartenders for the event. We took a couple of pictures together and I waited for other people I knew to show up, which finally came at 6:45 when Shannon and Kyndal from Buffalo Wild Wings came in.

A little after 7, Brittany, Zach and the rest of their party disembarked from a large van (no limo??!!) in front of the ballroom. I went outside to catch a glimpse. I didn’t expect Brittany and Zach to greet me, which would not have bothered me, but when Brittany saw me, she came up and hugged me as fast as she could. Zach hugged me too.

The newlyweds were very impressed by the video I made for them Friday. I recorded it on my phone at the Courtyard before I left. I let Alex, Raymie and Liz see some of it before I posted it for Brittany and Zach Friday night after 11.

Lisa was in the bridal party. She looked beautiful in her blue dress. She announced she and Jeff will be having a boy in late December, and they’ve already picked out a name–Liam Gearhart Daniels. I gave Lisa the $200 gift card from Dillard’s which i picked up Thursday. She and Jeff loved it, of course.

Raymie, Casey, Lindsey, Stephanie and Ashlie from Buffalo Wild Wings showed up, as did Sandra Rodriguez, who worked there through the first half of 2014 before leaving. Lindsey and Ashlie were there with their husbands, Justin and Ryan, a couple of good guys.

Alex Mullinax was supposed to make it, but her boyfriend, Justin, was sick. Raymie didn’t come with Brennan, her boyfriend, so I was kind of surprised Alex would miss it. She could easily have come alone. Oh well.

Zach’s grandmother made Brittany’s dress. It was amazing. Words would do it no justice. Vera Wang could not have designed a more beautiful gown for the bride. Brittany showed me a few pictures of the dress two weeks ago, but I didn’t know it would be this beautiful on her until last night.

I got to dance with Brittany–twice. I was the first to pony up money into the hat, so I got to dance with the bride first. Then I danced with Zach, which drew huge laughs from the Buffalo Wild Wings gals, especially Shannon. I got the last dance with Brittany, too, and Shannon got pictures of that.

Brittany and Zach left 45 minutes before the reception ended. I was one of the last ones out of there at 11:10.

Tori and Jordan, the other bartender, gave me some pop to enjoy. Brittany encouraged me to take cupcakes baked for the occasion, and I did–18 to be exact. Some will be going to Liz later today at Buffalo Wild Wings, since she had to work last night.

I felt bad Liz couldn’t make it. She told me it was fine, though. When she and Sean get married, i’m sure I’ll be invited. I’ll do all I can to make sure Brittany and Zach get an invite, too, but if the wedding is in Michigan, we’ll have to figure something out on how to get there.

I also felt bad Morgan Gilliland, whose seven month old daughter, Faith, is ridiculously cute, couldn’t make it either. Felt bad there, too.

All in all, a beautiful night with people I care about deeply, and who care about me deeply as well. I hope Brittany and Zach and I can remain friends until, as Liz once put it, we’re all old and feeble and walking around with canes. Of course, I’m getting there faster than Mr. and Mrs. Morgan since I’ve got a good head start (10 years on Zach, 13 on Brittany).

In a few hours, I’ll be back in Kansas City, sitting on the same barstool at Buffalo Wild Wings. I’m sure the reception will be the conversation. But I’m looking forward to that.

Mr. and Mrs. Morgan, I wish you nothing but a lifetime of happiness. Nobody deserves it more.  Love, Foots

Anticipation and (a little) anxiety

Less than three hours until the reception. Less than two hours until I leave. I’m thinking I’m departing between 5:30 and 5:45 to make sure I’m there in plenty of time.

I’m so happy for Brittany and Zach. I never would have dreamed when I first met Brittany two nights after Christmas in 2013 that something like this would blossom. She was so much different than any of the other ladies who work or have worked at Buffalo Wild Wings. She was so warm, so friendly, even to those she had never seen before. The second time she saw me, she greeted me like I was a regular. Even Liz did not warm up to me that quickly.

I’m so glad Brittany and I have developed a bond. It will keep me coming back to Kansas City, even though Lisa has already left for Chicago, and LIz will soon be moving to Colorado Springs. If I quit coming, I’m sure Brittany (and Zach) would never let me hear the end of it.

I don’t have many male friends. Especially male friends close to my age. The only one I can think of is Sean Spoonts, Russell High School’s athletic director, who is the same age as me. Larry Bernard, Russell High’s principal, is 62. I hope to grow closer to Zach in the coming weeks, months and years.

I’m hoping one day Brittany and Zach will grace my parents and I with their presence in Russell. I would love nothing more than to introduce one of my closest friends and someone I hope will become one of my closest friends to my friends in western Kansas. I also would love for Brittany to meet Crista. She’s a big reason why I’m coming instead of declining the invitation.

Well, nothing more left to do than round up everything and drive down.

Name game

I teased Brittany a couple of weeks ago that when she got married, she would have the same name as an actress from the 1980s.

Only the first and last names are reversed.

Morgan Brittany was best known as Katherine Wentworth on the hit CBS prime time show Dallas. She played the role for 56 episodes over six seasons between 1981 and 1987.

I also remember Ms. Brittany making several appearances on The Love Boat in the 1980s. I will let Mrs. Morgan see one of those which is on YouTube right now. She might get a good laugh or two.

It’s 2:45 and I’m starting to pace. Just like me to pace before a big event. I figured I would leave a little earlier than usual so I can get there in plenty of time and get a parking space.

Reception closing in

I’m less than six hours away from leaving my hotel room and heading to downtown St. Joseph for the big reception. Brittany and Zach are tying the knot this evening. I’m so happy for both of them. They truly love one another, and Brittany always talks about him in such glowing terms. However, I don’t think it’s an act. If it’s true that true love conquers all, Brittany and Zach will be conquering quite a bit together.

My first wedding reception in almost 16 years. The good news is I will know more people at this reception than I did at the first two weddings/receptions I attended combined. Many of the ladies from Buffalo Wild Wings will be there. Lisa is in the wedding, Tori will be the bartender at the reception, and Alex, Raymie, Shannon, Molly, Casey, Lindsey McClain and so many others will be there. I’m disappointed Liz isn’t coming, but she told me it would be okay. I promised Liz I’d get her a piece of cake.

At Adam Young’s wedding in 1997, the only others there I knew besides the groom were Michael and Robin Bonnette, and Lee Feinswog. There weren’t as many people at Bill and Yvette Franques’ wedding in 1999 as I thought there would be. The only ones there I knew besides the bride and groom were Dan Canevari, who was in Bill’s wedding part; Mike “Bones” Boniol, an equipment manager for the LSU baseball team; and Amanda Fornea, who helped out around the office. Scooter Hobbs, the longtime LSU beat writer from the Lake Charles American Press, showed up at the reception. Herb Vincent showed up at the reception, but by that time, I was on my way back to Baton Rouge.

It’s better that I’m not bringing a date. It will allow me to capture the memories, which will be far more important than a date. I would have invited someone I know from western Kansas, but that would have meant a hotel room and all kinds of hassle. No, I’m better off this way.

I’m glad this reception is indoors. It is terrible outside. 88 degrees (31 Celsius) and 67 percent humidity adds up to a heat index o 97 (36 Celsius). OUCH. Reminds me of Louisiana. I feel for any poor people who have to get all dressed up for an outdoor wedding today. I’m NOT getting dressed up for the reception. First, I don’t have any dress clothes to fit me. Second, I didn’t want to travel all that way with the clothes. Therefore, I’m going to look like Panama Jack. Or Panama Foots.

Still have to get ready. Lucky for me, I can be ready to go in 15 minutes. No hair to worry about, that’s for sure.