Miss Margie welcomed the guests to our celebration of love and commitment and said a few words about us and then inviting each guest to come forward with their message of love. Each guest or couple came forward and stood by us and either read from their scroll or spoke about us and their love for us and our love for each other. Each guest wrote their personal thoughts about us and rolled them into a scroll and placed them in a basket.
We declared our intent to be a committed to each other and exchanged rings.
“Who Let the Dogs Out” was the recessional song.
The reception was at Aldo’s original restaurant in Greenport, which was closed, and in a state of disrepair, with furniture and equipment strewn all over the premises. We went there the day before and cleared a section in the back and set up 5 or 6 long tables, swept the floor, wiped everything clean, and brushed off the patio. There were no tablecloths, no folded napkins, centerpieces, or candles, just 6 wooden banquet tables surrounded by a variety of chairs.
There was no menu. Whenever we asked Aldo, “what were we having”? or offered suggestions, we received only vague answers. The only thing we were sure of was the cake, a chocolate mousse cake. Having known and dealt with Aldo for a number of years, we realized we had to trust in the ‘Aldo Magic’.
When we arrived at the restaurant, nothing was ready. He was on the phone trying to get a waitress. In the kitchen on the table were piles of vegetables, a pail of freshly shucked scallops, a dozen or so chickens and leg of lamb. But there were wine glasses on the tables and an assortment red and white wines, some local, some imported, bottles of soda, San Pellegrino, plastic cups and bowls of ice.
Our niece, Sophia, who was around 10 at the time drifted into the kitchen and offered to help Aldo and his recently arrived assistant, Cleo. Aldo adored Sophia, draped her into an apron and set her to work cleaning asparagus.
Soon aromas of cooking food wafted in from the kitchen. As if on cue, the servers, Maria and her sister arrived and ushered us to our places at the tables. With much shuffling and bumping we all settled down, a few toasts were made and the first course was served, sliced sea scallops and asparagus, drizzled with lemon juice and browned butter. Everything was succulent.
A few minutes’ later, just-baked bread and trays of olives, celery, cheese, salami and other traditional antipasto delights were placed on each table. These kept us busy for a long time.
Lorraine mentioned she hadn’t seen Sophia in a while. We peeked into the kitchen and there she was, 10 years old, hair wrapped in a napkin, stained apron busily working beside Aldo and Cleo plating the main dish of Aldos’ famous roast chicken, oven crisp new potatoes and string beans ‘ala Sophia’. It was Heavenly.
Cleo, Maria, and her sister brought around second helping. When everyone seemed satisfied, empty dishes were cleared away and we all took a break and wandered out on to the patio.
About 40 minutes later, Sophia, without her apron and kerchief, looking neat and proper called us in for dessert and coffee. An array of after-dinner drinks were brought to the table for those who wished to imbibe while we waited for coffee.
But, there was no coffee in the restaurant since it was closed, so Maria, her sister and Cleo relayed cups of espresso, cappuccino, macchiato and lattes from Aldos’ Too across the street, while my son-in-law took orders for regular coffee and scooted up the road to 7-11 coming back with 11 containers of coffee.
The reception was a success. Everyone was delighted with the affair. Yes, it was unorganized and spontaneous, but everything was delicious, the room was full of family and close friends and we were surrounded by love. It was Magical, Aldo’s magic.
Earlier that spring Lorraine and I went to see a revival of The Most Happy Fell, the 1956 musical with a book, music, and lyrics by Frank Loesser, a story about a romance between an older man Tony and younger woman, Rosabella at the New York City Opera.