Thursday, November 18, 2004

Weekend in Review II

by Dave Schmitt, Special to KankaNation

Last weekend, Ellen and I, along with other luminaries such as the Cronk, Lisa, Katie Alpha, Kerrie, etc. attended the wedding of Stephanie Cook and Ryan Alvanos in Perrysburgh, Ohio. Good times, good times.

Steph’s mom and uncle picked us up at Toledo Airport late Thursday night and brought us to Ryan’s house, where everyone was gathered. We were told Steph didn’t want to stay much longer, as it was getting late, so we’d just stop in and say hi really quickly. As soon as I walk in, Ryan’s dad offers to get me a beer. Steph shot him a look, and that ended that. Next stop was the hotel. The official hotel, where we all stayed, was pretty sweet. There was a baseball conference going on, which meant coaching seminars lots of new equipment lying around everywhere. It had two pools, a game room, a pool table, a gym, and a mini putting green for use with plastic little-kid putters.

Friday morning, Ellen left early to go shopping with Steph and her cousin, who hates shopping and is apparently the female version of me. I’ll let Ellen comment more on her. I’m leaving Ellen for her, by the way. I arose around noon, and wandered over to a sports bar that Ryan recommended for lunch. Lots of truckers, big screens, etc. I sat alone at the bar, read a newspaper, ate a great burger, and drank a very cold Amberbock. I was that guy, and proud of it. Afterwards, I walked over to K-Mart to pick up a few things, and then back to the hotel. I stopped to hit around the little-kid golf balls, and then back to the room. Much to my disappointment, there was no ESPN Classic in the hotel rooms. But there was a kick-ass episode of “Law & Order” on, so that almost made up for it. Now’s where things get good. After Ellen returned and got changed, we met Kerrie and Brad in the lobby to head over to Steph’s on our way to the rehearsal. When we got to Steph’s, she informed us that the rehearsal would be really boring, and if Brad and I wanted to stay at her house with her uncles and cousins, we could. Booze was promised, making the decision easy. We walk in the house, and as soon as they pull away, Uncle Dan says, “alright, let’s see what Marty (Steph’s dad) keeps in his liquor cabinet.” Unfortunately, there was no beer, meaning I was forced to drink gin and tonics, which turned out to be not so awful. There was a very old bottle of scotch that we thought better of opening; this will become crucial later on. Highlight of the booze session: cousin Daniel (age 10) stating that his dream in life is to be the quarterback at Michigan, and then proceeding to say that he wishes Carlyle Holiday was still the ND quarterback because “he’s terrible.” Impressive kid. The rehearsal dinner was very nice, featuring Bass on tap, an excellent buffet, and the realization that I hadn’t drank anything non-alcoholic all day.

Saturday, Ellen was at the salon by 9am, so I went to breakfast with the Cronks around 11:30 at Cracker Barrel. What an institution. Chad Pennington claims to want to open one in New York because he misses it so much since leaving the south. If he opened one in midtown Manhattan, I’d go every day for lunch. For $6, I got scrambled eggs, bacon, fried cinnamon apples, 2 types of biscuits, hash browns, and something else, which I forget right now. Awesome.

The wedding itself was not your typical wedding; it was at some type of Christian church, but we couldn’t figure out the denomination because it did not state it anywhere. The service included a song written and performed by Ryan’s clone younger brother, a ridiculously long poem written and performed by Ryan’s English professor, and a bizarre homily of sorts by some wacky preacher cousin. Very long service for it not being a Catholic mass. Anyway, Cronk was getting game updates through the internet on his super-high-tech phone. Unfortunately, his phone died from doing this so continuously, and he had to get play-by-play from his dad on Lisa’s phone on the way to the reception. You know the rest of the saga of this unfortunate game. I only got to be “that guy” at the reception with my earpiece radio for the final kick as we were walking in, so that sucked. On to the reception: this was a pretty standard wedding reception, but with one absolutely treeeeeeemendous addition, for which I can obviously thank Ryan: pour-it-yourself beer kegs. No waiting at the bar for the bartender to pour you a beer. No tipping necessary. Just two kegs (covered up with a cloth to make it look more tasteful) sitting on a table in a back room, with both Killian’s and Coors Light. Oh sweet mercy. I realize that as a man, when I get married someday I will have make most concessions and go with the flow, but this is a definite non-negotiable must-have. The only time I didn’t hit this up every 15 minutes was for about an hour when Cronk and I were engaged in a VERY intense conversation about the future of ND football on the other side of the room (looks like Spurrier’s out now, sorry Cronk).

Now for the scotch story: about halfway through the reception, I’m standing around talking football with Cronk and Brad when Uncle Steve comes over to say hi. He says, “Brad, Dave, it’s a good thing we didn’t open that bottle of scotch yesterday. Marty tells me now that he bought it the day Stephanie was born, and that they are going to drink it soon in celebration of their little girl getting married. Wow, we really dodged a bullet there, huh?!”