Friday, June 24, 2011

"The Weddings of the Century"

By Jerry Zezima

The Stamford Advocate

Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge

St. James’s Palace

Chapel Royal, Cleveland Row

London, England SW1A 1DH

Dear William and Kate:

I am writing somewhat belatedly to congratulate the two of you on your nuptials and to welcome you back from your honeymoon in the Seychelles.

I also want to thank you very much for being the opening act to the wedding of the century, the most magnificent event in Europe this year and, if you will pardon the expression, a true crowning achievement.

I refer, of course, to the wedding of my younger daughter, Lauren, who is my princess, and her husband, Guillaume, a prince of a guy, who were married in France on April 30, the day after your wedding.

They also had a lovely ceremony in the United States on June 5.

That means Lauren and Guillaume had two weddings and you had only one. I’m sure yours was very nice, although I had to read about it in the papers because I did not receive an invitation.

You must know that the Zezimas and the Windsors have had a chilly relationship since the Revolution, when an ancestor of mine, John Quincy Zezima, a columnist for the Colonial Advocate, wrote an investigative piece exposing King George’s war plans, thus leading to the Empire’s defeat.

The fact that my parents were not invited to the coronation of Queen Elizabeth or that my wife, Sue, and I were not on the guest list for the wedding of Charles and Diana is further proof of the chasm between our two families.

Naturally, I was hurt when Sue and I weren’t invited to your wedding, but then I realized that you knew we would be otherwise engaged with the big event for Lauren and Guillaume. And since we knew the two of you were getting married the day before, we didn’t send you, Charles, the Queen or anyone else in your family an invitation, though I admit the courtesy would have been nice. For that, I apologize.

Still, I wish you could have been in France for Lauren and Guillaume’s wedding, which was spectacular.

First, we went to the city hall in the charming village of Cadenet, the hometown of Guillaume’s family, the Roberts. After the mayor officially married Lauren and Guillaume, everyone went up the hill to a breathtaking 900-year-old church for a religious service that was performed in both French and English and was unforgettably moving.

Kate, I know your dress was sensational, and was the talk of two continents, but Lauren’s was even nicer. She was an absolutely beautiful bride. And Guillaume, in a classy gray suit that didn’t have epaulets, was a handsome groom.

Later, we attended a fabulous reception hosted by Guillaume’s parents, Martine and Pascal. It is nice to see that the Windsors and the Middletons get on so well. I am delighted to say the same about the Zezimas and the Roberts.

Martine and Pascal are wonderful. They welcomed us into their home the day before the wedding for a delicious meal, during which we talked, laughed and got to know each other. Language was not a barrier. Martine’s mother, who is affectionately called Grandma, won our hearts with her wit and warmth.

The Roberts continued their hospitality and generosity at the reception, the highlight of which was a slide show that was set to music and put together masterfully by Guillaume’s younger brother, Frederic. It showed Guillaume and the Robert family through the years and included, of course, Lauren. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

Throughout the day, we somehow managed to keep the paparazzi away.

While the two of you were in the Seychelles, Lauren and Guillaume honeymooned in Italy. When they got back, we had the American wedding, which was held at the Thatched Cottage, a lovely hall near our home on Long Island, N.Y. It also was a memorable day enjoyed by family and friends who toasted the beaming couple and treated them royally. You know the feeling.

Now that we are back to our normal lives, I just want to say that Sue and I wish the two of you nothing but the best. I am sure your family wishes the same for Lauren and Guillaume.

I hope this letter helps thaw the relationship between the Zezimas and the Windsors and that someday we can all get together to exchange wedding pictures. In the meantime, keep a stiff upper lip and give our best to the Queen.


Jerry Zezima

Copyright 2011 by Jerry Zezima

Friday, June 17, 2011

"Magic Carpet Guy"

By Jerry Zezima

The Stamford Advocate

I have never been one to sweep things under the rug, mainly because I don’t wear one. And I have never been on a magic carpet ride, mainly because all of our carpets are nailed to the floor. But I was floored recently to hear a carpet cleaner come clean about his crazy carpet capers.

Dan Gallagher was hired by my wife, Sue, to clean some of our carpets because they were embedded with dirt, hair and suspicious substances that I blamed on our cats.

“Your carpets aren’t that bad,” Gallagher said. “The job looks pretty easy, which is more than I can say for some other places I’ve been to.”

Like the house that burned to the ground.

“I was outside taking a break when I saw smoke coming up from the back,” Gallagher recalled. “Then I saw flames shooting from the roof. I rushed back inside and said to the homeowner, ‘Lady, your house is on fire.’ This angry look came over her face. I had already been there a couple of hours and she was still mad at me because I showed up late. I had other appointments and couldn’t help it, but she didn’t care.”

As the fire raged, Gallagher asked the woman if there were any kids or pets in the house.

“She had three dogs and three or four cats that shed all over the carpets and the furniture, which is why she called me in the first place,” Gallagher said. “I was like Ace Ventura, Pet Detective, rescuing these animals. One of the dogs tried to bite me. I had to coax another one out with dog treats.”

The whole time, Gallagher said, the woman wouldn’t help him.

“Then this guy came out of nowhere -- I don’t know if he was a neighbor or what -- and tried to put out the fire with a garden hose,” Gallagher remembered. “I said, ‘Dude, that’s not going to do any good.’ So he disappeared. Then the fire department came. They put out the fire but couldn’t save the house.”

When it was all over, the woman reluctantly paid Gallagher for the part of the job he had completed. “I saved her and all her pets,” he said, “and she didn’t even tip me.”

Neither did the 12-year-old boy whose mother went out and left Gallagher in charge of her 14 other kids while he cleaned the carpets.

“This woman had 15 children that ranged in age from 3 to 12,” Gallagher said. “And she left me with all of them. There were diapers all over the floor. And one of the fuses blew -- it was an old house -- so I had to unplug the TV to plug my machine into that outlet. The kids had been watching ‘Dora the Explorer.’ They were screaming, ‘What happened to Dora?’ I called the mother on her cell phone -- I don’t know where she was -- and she was yelling at me. She had some nerve. Worst of all, she never came back.”

When Gallagher was done, the 12-year-old boy paid him. No tip this time, either. As Gallagher was leaving, the 3-year-old girl said, “Aren’t you going to turn the TV back on?”

There have been lots of other kooky customers, like the woman who was growing marijuana in her basement (“It’s a good thing that house didn’t catch fire,” Gallagher said), so Sue and I ranked among the more normal ones.

Gallagher said he would rank himself and his wife as pretty normal, too. They have two dogs, a 7-year-old Labrador retriever and a 1-year-old German shepherd-greyhound mix.

“Must be tough to keep the carpets clean,” I said.

“Not at all,” Gallagher replied.

“Why, because you have an industrial machine?” I asked.

“Even better,” he said. “We have hardwood floors.”

Copyright 2011 by Jerry Zezima