Wednesday, December 23, 2009

My daughter, Kaaryn Nailor, was married Sunday December 13, 2009 at Bridgewaters in lower Manhattan. Fifty guests came from out of town and stayed at a hotel near the site--myself included.

Ten AM found me in the bridal suite with the bridesmaids for hair, makeup, lunch, mimosas, steaming gowns, waiting for the wedding planner...Then someone came in (the planner?) and announced that the wedding announcement was in that morning’s New York Times. As we were looking at it, the photographer, Kenny Pang, came in and was excited as it was his photo that ran. He said hardly anyone gets their announcement in the paper and of those that do, they rarely get a photo. I used to do the wedding announcements when I was a staff writer on the Women’s Page of the Hartford Courant and knew that he was right.

It was held in South Street Seaport, an historic area near Wall Street. It has narrow, winding, cobblestone streets, replicas of 18th century sailing vessels, and quaint shops.

There was a tree, four stories tall, in the center mall with bright red ribbons and we could see it through the floor-to-ceiling windows.

First Lady Michelle Paterson was there. She, like First Lady Michelle Obama, is black. Michelle Paterson’s husband is the Governor of New York State, and the first legally blind governor in US history.

The wedding ended at 10 PM when the DJ played Alicia Key’s “Empire State of Mind.” New Yorkers are in love with that song. Then they played Frank Sinatra's “New York, New York” and all the guests gathered together into a line and did a Rockette’s-style high kick. I think this is all now a New York City tradition.
The wedding was beautiful. The only person who cried was the groom (3 times). When the minister announced them man and wife, the groom--nicknamed Bam (from the Flintstone’s character)--grabbed my daughter and said, “I love you so much. I am so happy,” then held on to her and sobbed.

There was a groom’s dinner the night before the wedding. A woman who Bam went to high school with is now a famous cake designer (like those TV shows- “Amazing Cakes," etc.). She and my daughter got together and secretly designed a cake for the groom. It was of his backpack with booklets etc. from his favorite sports team, a lift ticket (they will have a ski honeymoon in Colorado), and a replica of their puppy’s leash down to the weave.

After the wedding (10 PM) the guests were surprised with cocoa and cookies in the lobby of the event facility. Then we were given sparklers. They were lit and we formed an arch. The bride and groom came out, went under the arch to the waiting white limo, but half way down the arch the groom grabbed my daughter and gave her a long, passionate kiss.

The next morning--Monday--the bride and groom hosted a breakfast from 10 AM to noon at Freshly Made, a pretty restaurant that made homemade frittatas, bagels, French toast, Vermont bacon, etc...all buffet-style.

I got back to my apartment a few days later and went online to discover that people had sent The New York Times link around. Not only were people reading about my child’s wedding, but they were also reading about my book! The link was on her law school’s page, the websites for the many vendors for the wedding, Facebook, Twitter...Wow.

They are off on their honeymoon and I am a happy mom.

Happy holidays!

Posted by Linda Trice, author of Kenya's Word

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Dog Gone!

In less than twenty-four hours I am headed to Deutschland to share in my son's experiences with the people of Germany. Christmas markets will be all aglow with booths filled with the Christmas season. There will be music, and happy chatter, scents of cherry and chocolate filled crepes mixed with evergreen and incense, and I think I'll laugh when again no one has heard of the German tradition of the Christmas pickle, said to have descended from a world war when a soldier gave a starving prisoner his dill pickle. The prisoner and those who knew of the story were said to have hung a pickle on the tree ever since--which ascended into a glass pickle ornament and a child's Christmas morning game. When my son asked about the tradition, multiple folks in Germany laughed. "Americans hang pickles on their Christmas tree?"

Meanwhile amid all this festive fun, I feel Aggie's cold nose against my brain wondering what trouble she wants to get into now. I am Aggie smitten. The only dog I ever owned was a collie pup. I was quite young ,we lived in a small Syracuse, New York, apartment where dogs couldn't stay, and Lad became my aunt's dog. I never knew I had a love for dogs until I met Aggie. Then I was dog gone.

My bishop had a dog, a big floppy golden lab. This was Aggie. When I first saw Aggie, she lazed in the summer sun on the back patio of the beach house. We'd brought young single adults from church to their beach house for a day of BBQ and boating. As skis, tubes, and kids were loaded into two boats, our bishop's sweet wife brought bread outside for my young daughter. Ducks waded nearby in the shallows.

Jennifer tore and tossed bread into the lake, and Aggie's head lifted. She picked up her floppy body and bounded toward us. Aggie took a giant leap into the lake right on top of the bread. SPLASH! Ducks squawked flapping for the skies, bread sank to the depths below, and Aggie doggie paddled back with the smirkiest doggie grin. Instantly she came right to where we were standing, shook her self off, as if her splash wasn't wet enough, and then she went right back to her sun heated cemenet bed and flopped down. I was drawn to this funny dog. I half felt she knew exactly what she was doing. A-G-G-I-E spelled trouble.

Though new to the writing world, I knew she was my character, I just knew it. An excited energy filled me when I simply thought of her. My heart would get all happy, jumpy, and my mind would want to play. I loved this character. I interviewed my owner friends again and again. The more I learned about Aggie, the more she cracked me up. Then , I started to hear Ben. (He actually began as an imaginary young Tony McCasline.) I fell hard for dogs and found myself at the pet store with my children taking pups out of cages just to play. Then, one day I took the kids, and there was a beautiful baby girl husky pup with sky blue eyes. We ran home and dragged in dad. He got the pupster out to play. We all fell in love with a husky and she didn't go back. Daily doggie adventures of garbage, mud, digging and squirrels became stories.

Much to my joy and surprise, Aggie became real through Charlesbridge. Stories grew and continue to grow from a fraction of truth mixed with a bunch of imagination. Aggie Tales continue to come and she still cracks me up as I write. The seed of Aggie is gone now, but it's so sweet to know where she came from, and to have my own puppy adventures. Once Nikita stole a whole chicken off the counter, cooling for dinner. As she ran from me, she ate the entire thing--carcass and all--in a matter of moments. I called the vet with bone concerns and he asked what kind of dog I had. "Husky, " I replied. Then he laughed. "That's what they do in the wild!" Nikita has me dog gone as Aggie stories continue.

By spring 2011, Aggie will have four books--Aggie and Ben, Good Dog, Aggie, Aggie the Brave, and Aggie Gets Lost. Aggie is every kid's dog, pulled from the adventures of everyday life. Through Aggie, I learned to love dogs and the magic.

Posted by Lori Ries, author of the Aggie and Ben series, Super Sam, and Fix It, Sam.

Photo by Julie Padbury, JMP Services.