Monday, September 8, 2014

I Went to a Barn Party to Wreak Hovac with My Old Friends By C.P. Stringham

A few photos from my photoshoot with Mr. & Mrs. Nicholas
As a romance writer, I have a soft spot for real life love stories and happily-ever-afters. It’s a nice change to share in someone else’s good fortune. Our instantaneous access to all the horrors happening around the world leaves us in desperate need of positive, feel-good stories—which seem to have trouble making it into the news cycle. I refuse to accept that there aren’t enough good stories to go around. Refuse. I can’t even blame this shortage solely on the news media. Folks seem quick to jump onto the negativity bandwagon when it comes to sensationalized news. Take a moment to consider some of the posts you see on Facebook. Nine times out of ten, your circle of friends are more prone to post a status in which they complain about something; their relationship or family member drama, bad customer service they received somewhere, or even political stuff. As you reflect on this, you may even realize you’re guilty of the same behavior. Oh, I’m not immune to this either. I do my fair share of slinging the negative although I do make a conscious effort to keep my statuses positive. I prefer making people smile at good news or laugh at something silly I posted—usually something from my self-deprecating variety of humor.
L to R: Everything looked amazing! Don't tell my mother, but this is the best cake I've EVER had!
Top to bottom: The bride and groom feeding each other
their wedding cake; the group at our table watching; my
tequila buddy, Randy and me. 
This past Saturday night, my family and I attended a wonderful barn party held at Rockin’ N Stables & Ranch (click here for the link) to celebrate the recent marriage of its owners, Monte and Nancy. Each of them were married before and chose to tie the knot, this time around, in a simple, private ceremony with the plans of holding their reception at a later date. For their wedding present, I set up a photoshoot with them and took pics around their gorgeous facility.
Getting back on topic, their courtship counts as one of those happily-ever-afters I mentioned. They met at an equestrian event and have been inseparable since. Nancy told me, “When I first saw him riding his horse and wearing his cowboy hat, he had me.” Yes, Monte is a real cowboy, born and raised in Utah and sitting in a saddle at a young age. His knowledge and love of horses was handed down to him from his father who was also a cowboy and broke and trained. Nancy is a long time horsewoman. Has loved them since she was a little girl and, as other horse people know, once horse fever hits, it doesn’t ever go away. Because of their backgrounds, the two complement each other perfectly. They work together nicely and, for that reason, their business, which opened almost a year ago, has earned a great reputation within our local horsemen community and is flourishing.
Top to Bottom: The members of Operation Rodeo, Shannon,
Sean, and Syd; yours truly and Carolyn; Carolyn, Syd, and
Rockin N’s large indoor arena was transformed into a wonderful barn party venue. Tables and chairs, decorated with a country autumn theme, were set up to accommodate 90 jovial guests dressed in jeans, cowboy boots, plaid shirts, and men wearing cowboy hats or baseball caps. Space was left for a dance floor. Lou, the DJ, welcomed us and offered a message from Monte and Nancy in which they thanked all of their family, friends, and clients for their support, love, and friendship and then Nancy’s sister, June, toasted the newlyweds. She introduced Richard Houck who delivered the blessing. As he finished, tables were sent to the buffet line. The Nicholas’ hired the catering services of one of our favorite local eateries, Soprano’s Italian Market (click here for their Facebook page). Now, hold that thought…
Unsolicited Author Endorsement: If you haven’t treated yourself to Soprano’s fabulous homemade entrees and specialty desserts, you don’t know what you’re missing. I highly recommend their loaded breakfast pizza and cannoli! Their cannoli is just as incredible as what you’d find at a bakery in NYC’s Italian district. No lie. They make all of their own breads and rolls, too, as well as sell dried pastas and incredible deli items—Soppressata!
Top to Bottom: Country girls and boys getting down on the
farm; my husband and Mackenzie dancing; Monte took
Pat out for a turn around the dance floor.   
…Back to the shindig. Country music played over their new state-of-the-art sound system and spirits among guests were high. Soda, red Solo cups with wine, and cans of beer were clutched as we mingled. Dancing was encouraged and folks took to taking spins around the make-shift dance floor. Happiest in our family about the dancing was my youngest. She loves to show off her “moves.” Of course, her musical tastes range from Hip-Hop to Dance, but the friendly DJ catered to her likes and played a song each by Lady Gaga and Black Eyed Peas. Nancy encouraged her dancing and Mackenzie was in her glory shaking her groove thing. She even got asked to a slow dance with Monte—her first slow dance. I loved it. The Nicholas’ are so compassionate and understanding with her and it truly means so much to me. She’s accepted and included at Rockin’ N. Her classmate, Brittany, who is one of Nancy’s lesson students, is just as wonderful with Mackenzie. Brittany’s parents have raised her right. 
Now, while the bride and groom were busy celebrating, Carolyn Mosher (click here for the link to my previous post, Battle from the Saddle), mentioned “horning parties” (here’s another link to click on about pranking newlyweds), and I’d never heard of it. Hillary Dorazio, also standing in conversation with us, was familiar with the term and helped Carolyn explain. According to Carolyn, "It takes place after the newlyweds have moved into their house as a way to welcome them to the neighborhood--think of it as a housewarming party (with friends)  and is meant to be simple fun with nothing taken personal. Besides, you could find out what the wife could cook up in a hurry." By that, Carolyn said the uninvited guests show up late at night, and ask for something to eat. In order to feed their guests, the newlyweds scramble to prepare something.  While this is going on, people take turns slipping away unnoticed to play pranks. She mentioned mismatching socks, hiding items, and so on. Hillary even told us about taking the bride’s bras from the dresser, wetting them down, and slipping them into the freezer! Now that is cold. You get the general idea. That’s when the wheels started turning and six faces held devious smiles. Hillary, Carolyn, Carolyn’s son, Sean, my daughter, Sydney, and our friends’ daughter, Shannon, began to plot. And, I’ll be honest, Syd and Shannon were against it when they found out we were serious. Syd is always a goody-two-shoes and Shannon is a future Navy servicewoman who seemed to think it would cause trouble. But we were able to bring them over to the dark side. Using the rear door of the indoor arena, we slipped out, unnoticed and began by toilet papering the shrubbery outside of their house. Monte’s lasso was in his truck so it was used to tie his truck and Nancy’s SVU together. Inside his truck, the windshield wipers were switched on high and the radio volume cranked up all the way so that when he started the engine, everything would come on. His seats were moved and the steering wheel adjusted. When we were done, we decided it wasn’t enough. The toilet paper taken from the porta john wasn’t nearly enough. That’s when we sent Sean, Syd, and Shannon for more provisions including plastic wrap. Carolyn, Hillary, and I made it back to the barn without anyone knowing we’d disappeared—except my husband, youngest daughter, and my children’s riding instructor, Pat. We explained to them what was going on and they laughed, but offered a warning about paybacks. The kids called to let us know they were back. Carolyn and I stayed as lookouts while Hillary returned to, what Shannon, the military kid, designated as “Operation Rodeo.” Nancy’s son, Suede, and his friend were involved at that point as well. Suede took the toilet paper and hit the trees in their front yard. More TP was added to the shrubs. Sean and Hillary began using plastic wrap to seal their vehicles. A condom was even pulled over the front doorknob. Kids. They returned to the party and no one was the wiser. Carolyn apologized for corrupting my daughter even though I agreed, wholeheartedly, to our turn at mischief. (I'll blame my poor judgment on beer and the shot of tequila I had with Linda's husband, Randy!) 
Mischief managed during Operation Rodeo!
The next morning, we found out that Monte’s poor coworkers were blamed for it. (Hahahahah!!) When Shannon’s mom, Linda, told them who the culprits really were, they were stunned. I guess we have a reputation of innocence. Truth be told, I’d never done anything like that in my life, but I got to tell ya, it was FUN! I got a taste of what it is like to be a troublemaker. And my daughter is always too serious most of the time. Even at the risk of Monte and Nancy banning us from the barn, I’m glad Syd had the opportunity to be a rebel and tarnish her sterling reputation—even if it was a one-time thing. It was good for Shannon, too. Next year, she’ll be a sailor and have to toe the mark all the time.   
Monte and Nancy, congratulations and thank you, so very, very much, for including my family and me in your special night. We wish you all the best for a long, happy, and healthy life together, LIVING THE DREAM. We had a fantastic time and lots of great memories were made. I even got to be a bad girl. I owe you a slave-for-a-day favor to make up for the horning party. Syd, too. Oh, and thank you for sharing your happily-ever-after with us. 
*Special thanks to Linda Rightmire for sharing some of her pictures for the blog! 

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