OK folks, here it is — the end of a tale of a Bridezilla, the chicken king, and waffles.
The control I had lost over everything else manifested itself in a full force attempt to secure the safety of my perfectly pressed reception dress. I laid it over my lap as I tried to maintain some sort of ladylike pose. The plastic bag encasing my treasure became covered in chicken feathers and mud before we even reached the highway. My husband, trying to console me, joined my effort.
The bumpy road left little control over anything as we sat tried to keep still in the back of the pickup truck. The driver stopped about fifteen minutes later at a little farmhouse not far from the main road. He kindly escorted us out of the truck bed so he could reach his cargo. Apparently country time is different than city time, because we ended up staying there at least forty-five minutes while we sipped tea in antique rocking chairs strewn out on the porch. I was angry, but was raised with proper manners and without complaining I sat in a muddy wedding dress finding myself enjoying the company of this little old lady with nothing else to do but entertain strangers. When she learned of our plight, she apologized for keeping us and hurried us on our way, but not without a hearty supply of farm fresh eggs as a wedding present.
My tears flowed freely as we got back in the truck, having ruined my make-up almost instantly upon getting into the truck. My dress, however, was still my utmost priority. I was determined to savor at least a few precious moments of my perfectly planned reception. My last call to my mother indicated that we had found a ride and were on our way. She informed me the meal was being served, as they had waited as long as they could. Even if she set out to retrieve us from this nightmare, it wouldn’t save any time, we both concluded.
Halfway to our destination, as promised, the man we came to known simply as the King of Chickens and his sidekick Freeman Whales, dropped us off at a local truck stop. I looked around with delirious hopes of finding a knight in shining armor when I realized my stomach was growling loud enough for everyone near me to hear. The King of Chicken suggested we go inside to inquire about a ride and perhaps have a bite to eat while we wait. Now, I had never been to a truck stop, considering I’m not a truck driver, and neither had my husband. We walked cautiously into unknown territory led by the man considered chicken royalty. As we walked in, a roar of whoops and hollers began and seemed to increase in decibels for several minutes. I had almost forgotten I was wearing my wedding dress by now and it took me a minute to figure what the screams were all about. After I got over being startled I accepted the congratulations of our nuptials with an exaggerated curtsy. My husband gave a grand bow and we were ushered over to the bar stools with promises of drinks on the house. It was easy enough to find someone heading our direction. The first trucker was planning on leaving in a mere half an hour. We settled in to the calming intake of alcohol and were soon overcome with the comforting smells of waffles that only comes from a place that serves them 24/7.
Half an hour came and went as we accepted more drinks than necessary and the curiosity of an “authentic” truck stop waffle seemed to become a necessity. Our farm fresh eggs were handed over to the cook as a contribution and served to all. We drank too much, ate too much and found out that truck drivers don’t mind a good sing along. We missed our deadline to leave by a good 2 hours. People kept offering rides after our designated drivers tended to their duties and left every thirty minutes or so. I was so lost in the excitement that I don’t remember when my carefully chosen reception dress fell to the floor and became a crumpled under the drunken feet of the vocally challenged as the music blared on.
Eventually, after a clarifying cup of coffee, I realized that my cell phone had died and my mother must be worried sick. I borrowed a phone and tried my best to explain the situation which did nothing more than scare my poor mother. We assured her were leaving the premises shortly and bid our farewell to our rugged friends. On our way out we were bestowed with tokens of remembrance such as souvenir mugs and shirts collected around the country by the truck drivers. The Chicken King handed me a little crown he had hanging on his rear view mirror, telling me I behaved like a true princess, despite the complete destruction of my wedding day plans. I couldn’t help think about the tyrant I had become during the planning of my wedding. It sure wouldn’t have made The Chicken King proud. I told myself then and there I would go home and burn my wedding prep scrapbook, and apologize to those I offended.
We arrived at the reception just in time to see everyone leave and witness the last pieces of my beautiful cake being covered with plastic wrap. My mother managed to salvaged two untouched layers for us to cut together as a couple. A few of my closest friends had stayed to make sure I was safe. I sat down in the beautifully polished floor and removed my muddy stockings, marveling at the condition of the dress that was destined to sit in my closest in a specially prepared storage box for years to come. My mother fussed over my ram shackled appearance, trying to salvage something, I don’t know what. She finally gave up and sat down next to me, delivering one of those mom hugs that fixes everything.
I couldn’t deny the fact that I had especially been looking forward to the cake. My husband and I got up and did the traditional cake cutting and started a food fight with the remaining guests that destroyed those last two layers. The only thing left was small layer to freeze to enjoy on the one year anniversary. The photographer was gone, but someone managed to preserve the memory for us. Those are the pictures we value the most, of course. The ones of us covered in mud, torn clothes and cake in our hair.
I’m remembering this story one year later, as we sit in the infamous truck stop eating waffles and our thawed out anniversary cake layer. We will do a few sing a longs and drink a little too much. We talk about bringing our kids here for waffles one day and realize we got more than a spouse that day we got married. We gained memories we could never have “perfectly” planned. The Chicken King isn’t here this time, but that little crown he gave me still hangs on my key chain. I know hitchhiking is usually a very bad idea, but part of me wants to run outside and display my thumb and see where it takes me.