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Experiment 11

The Wedding At Kapapa

page 40

The Wedding At Kapapa

It had been such a lovely wedding too.

What with Aunt Molly and the boys all the way from Taupo making quite an unexpected arrival just in time for the stag party. And Nigel of course, getting on a bit, but still going with that awfully nice Glenda Himmonds who's finishing her typing course. Then all the Taumarunui relations. Gosh Roselyn looked super with her hair done up with a crimson tint to it. Pity Meg and Dick couldn't make it, but with three kiddies of their own, well you just can't expect too much.

And Aunt Cary. Who'd missed the Mothers' Union annual church parade just to be there as she had twice reminded. Not that a mild bout of arthritis had subdued her passion for the proper. She quickly overcame her pain and fell to organizing the decorations, erecting baracards of dahlias, and glads, and flowing smiles. So when the organ swelled into a soothing tremble and guests filed in to add their supplications, she warmed with self content, with just the faintest twitching from the hairline on her lip as she passed her judgement on each new arrival.

"Gee Patricia's terrific on the organ" whispered the voice of the crimson tint, reaching to adjust her imitation diamond earrings. And Molly wiped a tear that threatened to dissolve her cheek her skin discreetly powdered to a grey pastiche. So bride and groom were taken to each other with prayer and hymn, and Cary nudged young Phillipa who'd somehow got absorbed in the order for the Baptism of Infants. And at last, the breakfast. Jerry and the boys had set up two enormous marquees with Norm and Alex Winters page 50as the barmen. Norm it seemed, was having trouble with his mouth, but soon agreed that without his newly fitted set of teeth he'd down his share much easier.

"Come on Pete. Be in boy while there's plenty of it!" Lips crimped into gestures of approval as the boys showed their assent, occasionally pausing from the froth to exchange a masculinity or two. While in another corner the priestesses of the ritual peered with feigned astonishment behind their robes of lace and satin.

"Well we thought you'd never make it didn't we. Golly Anne you look really goooorgeous." As the forms of tenderness were tastefully exchanged successive eyelids rearranged retreats beyond the fissures of mascara to attempt a confirmation of suspicions. The damp clatter of muscularities soon reaching a shrill crescendo as flagon beer and mock champagne washed down the demanded savouries and cream sponge.

"Well everybody, I'll ask you to charge your glasses...."

Bill the toastmaster now implicated queen and country with a modicum of rural humour and Jerry was soon proclaiming "To the brides-maids, the Bridesmaids!"

"I've got a story or two that I bet they've never heard" laughed the friend of the crimson tint, his hired suit just managing to contain the ravages of inactivity. And at appropriate moments the groom roared, the bride whimpered excitedly behind a barrier of pavlova cake, and the bridesmaids, whom Aunt Cary was later to confirm, looked mildly coarse in yellow, tittered when expected.

But of course, the dance. It was really super to get the bowling club hall which Molly and the girls had done wonders on. You'd never have recognized it. Aunty Joy provided the artificial flowers which she'd bought for Mary's wedding, and decked out with crepe paper, streamers, and balloons, you'd never know it. Up on the stage by the piano Molly and some of the old girls had arranged the presents on one of the club trellises.

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"Well," as Molly had said "young people really get a wonderful start in life these days."

What with the proceeds of three kitchen teas, one bathroom splash, and a linen supper, and then all the wedding presents on top of that, gosh people are thoughtful. Not that every house could find room for three good luck mirrors, two sets of flying ducks for the dining room wall, and a gorgeous big pink plastic punchbowl. Meg and Dick had sent down a beautiful big pink double bedspread and some of the relatives had put in to get a really modern set of cutlery with imitation bamboo handles. Poor Anne and Peter don't know where they're going to put everything in their little Beazley.

For the dance Anne changed into the most gorgeous little two-piece, she'd got it quite cheaply in Carterton, a sort of ming blue linen with a fur collar, set off with a clasp which Doris had given her for her twenty-first.

"Hey Peter, hope you've got the car well hidden. I hear Dave and Graham have got a bucket of flour paste for it." Eyes and mouths could not contain themselves at that suggestion and the crimson tint fell hopelessly into the rhythms of a medley being extracted from the piano. Anne, it seemed, was not dancing much, as Aunt Cary was later to confirm. Not even a modest flush of alcohol had dimmed her senses and she loomed ominously from the walls in heaving splendour. The boys by now had appropriated a corner near the kitchen, where supported by their flagons they sat huddled into a pact, pausing occasionally to give the wind and cliches a chance to take the forms of conversation.

"God Dick, is that sheila over there Pat's sister? She's all right eh?"

The voices of "Cairns and Williamsons" accountant and the stock agent from up country shouted an approval.

"Old Pete's not playing for Kapapa this year. Reckon it'll be page 70my last year too. God when your married you've got other things to think about."

The wit and humour was soon too much, even for the Taumarunui relative. He'd usually taken comfort in his reputation as the biggest soak in miles, as pouted cheeks and the gentle rounding of a pot at twenty-two would hasten to confirm. But who would have ever guessed that Betty and Uncle George could Twist! "At their age" suggested Cary, as Betty abandoned her slip-ons to demonstrate more easily her lack of faith in the sobriety of bone and rubber.

At one stage even Gran was seen to take the floor for a minute.

"Good on you" said a pair of lips as lace and hair made a failing lunge at order.

But too too soon only the twittering of the piano remained, offering a faded shimmering of comfort. So crimson, pink, and also silver tints had lined themselves along the walls to take a final drop of strength from the object of their gestures.

"Anne and Peter, I know you're going to be so happy," the undertones of soft intenseness assuming proportions they could taste. And later in the evening mother was hastily assured "Well I reckon that everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves. I think it was a much better do than Mary's wedding."

And all in all who could complain? With family glory and success displayed convincingly in formica and chrome and concrete borders, invigorated bones and flesh went back to bathe content in rediscovered harmony.