July 6, 2020


• By John F. Chisholm •

I’m just returned from a wedding in Seattle.  Our niece married.  It was a lovely service.  The bride was gorgeous, the groom handsome, the weather cooperated.  There.  What could have been better?

Mid-reception, I sat on the top step of the rented facility admiring a view of the snow-capped cinder cone of Mount Rainier.  Early evening sunlight reflected from névé, rose and gold alpenglow making the peak an eye-catching backdrop to the scene immediately before me.

A crowd of offspring in their Sunday best flocked on the lawn below me, their parents enjoying the music of the reception behind me.  Games of tag and catch-me tore up the grass.  Screams of delight and laughter floated past my location.  A number of young couples supervised.  Distracted by each other, their attentions to the children’s activities weren’t ratcheted to normal levels.  No.

One young sylph with long, ash-blonde hair and wearing a matching yellow dress caught my attention.  Perhaps she was six.  I watched her race back and forth between the edge of the woods and a spot behind one particularly distracted young woman.  She posed in the warm summer air, a spaghetti strapped, pale cream, satin dress hanging from lovely shoulders.  Matching shoes dangled from one hand, her bare feet enjoying the soft warmth of fresh, mowed grass.

Her distraction was certainly understandable.  Adonis, painstakingly combed and polished and wearing a light gray, summer suit stood before her.  How could he have been more handsome?

But never mind those two for the moment.  Focus on the younger girl.  As she made her third trip to the woods and back, I caught her eye.  “What have you got?” I said.  “Come show me.”

She bounded up the steps before me, palms outstretched and cupped.  She giggled with delight, eyes, face and entire person radiating joyous mischief.  Atop a flat rock in her hands, an enormous Washington State slug, at least five inches long and three quarters of inch in diameter left a greasy slime trail behind it.  It was crossing the rock at full throttle, perhaps three inches per hour, intent on escape.

I laughed.  Faced with such a juxtaposition, a siren and a slug, how could anyone do otherwise?  “This is why the bears in the Pacific Northwest get so fat,” I told her.  “How many have you caught so far?”

“This makes seven,” she said, delighted, and ran off, intent on adding it to her corral.

She made several additional hunting trips.  Then I watched as, from her knees, she bulldozed with her rock a visible agglomeration of slugs close up behind the distracted young woman before her.  She, predictably, remained fixated on Adonis.

I must have been 40 feet away.  Too late, I stood to shout warning.

The blonde-haired sylph popped up, a startling Jill-in-a-box with both hands waving, immediately between the satin-dressed young woman and her Adonis.

Understandably, both of them took hasty steps backward.  Adonis, however, still wore his shoes.  Plus, of course, no waiting herd of slugs was corralled behind him.

The music from the reception hall pulsated.  Never mind.  I can still hear the young woman’s horrified screech mingled with the delighted laughter of her tormentor as both raced across the lawn, one fleeing, the other in hot pursuit.  They passed out of sight around the building.

Clearly the slugs lost but I can’t tell you, not for certain, who won that race.  I can only tell you that the prankster had a comfortable lead at the clubhouse turn.  Spaghetti strap dresses were designed for a different sort of capture.

What could I do?  I dissolved into laughter.   It was certainly better entertainment than dancing.

Presumably both girls lived.  I imagine I’d have heard had anything else been the case.

Weddings.  I can only shake my head.

It’s so good to be home.