Friday, January 22, 2010

"Move Over, Steve Martin"

By Jerry Zezima

The Stamford Advocate

If Steve Martin doesn’t want to do another “Father of the Bride” movie, and the studio can’t find anyone to replace him (original star Spencer Tracy can’t take the role because he is, contractually, dead), I have just the man to play the lead.

I refer, of course, to myself. That’s because I recently found out that I am going to star in the sequel to my own version of the popular series.

It gives me great pleasure to announce that my younger daughter, Lauren, is engaged to be married to a wonderful young man named Guillaume.

The first time I was father of the bride was in 2006, when my older daughter, Katie, married Dave, who also is a wonderful young man.

It goes without saying, but I will say it anyway, that Katie and Lauren are wonderful young women, primarily because they take after their mother, also known as my wife, Sue, who once again will be mother of the bride, the role played by Diane Keaton in the two Steve Martin movies and by Joan Bennett in the two Spencer Tracy movies. Maybe Sue should get an agent.

Anyway, in the immortal words of that great philosopher Yogi Berra, it’s deja vu all over again. I’m thrilled because the first time around was so memorable.

One part I will never forget, and which Hollywood could never top, was when Sue suggested we have Katie’s bridal shower at home because it would, Sue said, “save us money.”

“What a brilliant idea!” I responded enthusiastically, because as father of the bride I was already hemorrhaging cash.

“Of course,” Sue added, “we’ll have to redo the kitchen.”

As you already may have guessed, we didn’t save money. In fact, we spent more than my feeble mind could have imagined, not just on the kitchen, which was finished the day before the shower, but on our underground oil tank, which ruptured a week leading up to the occasion.

The tank was dug up, making the side yard look like a war zone, and was temporarily replaced by an old, rusty, above-ground tank that sat in full view of the guests, who gathered under a tent in the back yard. To add to the ambience, the replacement tank was festooned with balloons and a sign saying, “Congratulations!”

Still, the day was terrific. Not only were men invited, but it may have been the first bridal shower in history to feature cigars. It ended in a game of beer pong.

Because I have two left feet, which makes it extremely difficult to buy shoes, I took a dancing lesson so I wouldn’t humiliate myself at the reception. Sue came along because she wasn’t much better. In fact, we could have had our own show: “Dancing With the Stiffs.” The lesson helped.

We also assisted Katie and Dave in picking out a wedding cake. The decision was made one morning at an elegant bakery, where we each had a slice of eight different cakes for breakfast.

And, a week before the big event, I pampered myself by going to a spa for a day of beauty, which included a pedicure, a manicure and a massage. After all, sometimes a boy just likes to feel pretty.

It all culminated in the greatest wedding in the history of matrimony. Katie was a luminously beautiful bride, Dave was a dashingly handsome groom and I didn’t fall on my face while walking Katie down the aisle.

I’m sure my second time as father of the bride will be just as memorable. I might even invite Steve Martin to the wedding.

Copyright 2010 by Jerry Zezima

Friday, January 8, 2010

"Driving Ambition"

By Jerry Zezima
The Stamford Advocate

I don’t like to brag because I am a modest person not given to superlatives, most of the time with good reason, but I am the driving force in my family. And I recently proved it by driving both of my daughters and their significant others to and from the airport, which amounted to four excursions in a week and a half, so they could go on trips that my wife and I couldn’t afford to go on ourselves.

It reminded me of the days when Sue (my wife) and I (myself) would drive Katie and Lauren (our daughters) and often their friends (too many to mention) to and from various destinations and important engagements, including school, the mall, the library, friends’ houses, fast-food joints, piano lessons, school concerts, softball practice, softball games, basketball practice, basketball games, band practice, drama club, religious instructions, the movies, the video store, the pet store and the school supply store. Then we would drive home, only to turn right around and go out again.

It’s a wonder the car didn’t explode.

A lot of people thought I was only 3 feet tall because the only time they saw me was when I was sitting in the car. (These same people, incidentally, thought Sue was 1-foot-10.)

Feeding and clothing your children are not nearly as important as driving them all over town every day. Eventually they become teenagers and get their driver’s licenses and start bugging you for a car. And when you refuse to buy them one, they begin using yours, leaving you without transportation.

Katie and Lauren are all grown up now and have had their own cars for years. But that did not prevent them from hiring Dad’s Livery and Onion Service (“Driving You Crazy Since 1980”) for their airport runs.

The first one was made the day we had a blizzard that dumped 2 feet of snow on my driveway. It must have dumped even more on the driveway of the limo driver who was supposed to take Lauren and her fiance, Guillaume, to JFK because the driver got cold feet and canceled the ride. Because the flight was still on, I had to dig out and drive to the airport so Lauren and Guillaume could fly to France to visit his parents, who are wonderfully nice and hospitable people.

A few days later, in what was appropriately a driving rainstorm, I had to drive back to JFK so Katie and her husband, Dave, could fly to North Carolina to visit his parents, who also are wonderfully nice and hospitable people.

The next trip was made to pick up Lauren and Guillaume when they returned on an evening flight. Neither snow, nor rain, nor dark of night could keep Dad from his appointed rounds. This time I took Sue, who fell asleep in the passenger seat on the way down. “Some company I am,” she said when she woke up, adding: “We’re doing all the driving and we’re not going anywhere.”

As they say in France, au contraire! That’s because, on another snowy day, I had to make a final run to JFK, where I should have my own parking space, to pick up Katie and Dave.

All told, I traveled almost 500 miles, which makes me wonder: Can I get frequent driver miles? If so, Sue and I may go on a trip ourselves. I just hope someone can take us to the airport.

Copyright 2010 by Jerry Zezima