Flash-crack-POUND! Splat, splat, lub-dup; splat, splat, lub-dup.

Gentle tendrils of ironed chestnut hair. Three brothers, strawberry blond and fair—as in tier two of the cream cheese wedding cake. Degas House adorned with ballerinas and brass bands, crowded with guests to the gills as they shake off their feet, their hair, their clothes. Darlings, let’s all have a drink!

Flash-crack-POUND! Splat, splat, clatter, drip.

Debutante bride, tart and sweet. Standing water, soaking feet. Aunt Carolyn’s chipmunk chatter and cheerleader spirit tinkle like silver struck clean. Uncle Taylor, a gentleman’s gentleman with Coors Light in hand drawls on, “Then I did something I never do: I took the good Lord’s name in vain at the top of my lungs! I like to have died from the pain.”

Flash-boom! Splat, splat, clatter, drip.

Holding hands (and drinks in hand), sober promises traded in kind. Cheers to the bride, cheers to the groom—a ceremony consummated in no time! Feathered Mardi Gras masks, Crown Royal flasks …a traveling party for those few left standing. Tiers and tiers of frosting and tulle—a white train dragging on dirty, wet brick as Clara sashays to “What a Wonderful World.”Shall we have another? I do, and I do.

Split-splatter. Splat, splat, drip.

Military man, lawyer, movie exec—all the same rented penguins. Sparkling choker, silk tiered dress, snakeskin shoes, arched brows, and a quiet veranda draped in vines—the only place to catch a thought as the trees drip what’s left of the squall.

Splat, drip.

Horse-drawn carriage and napkins to wave, ladies on porches and a $5 hot towel shave. Champagne glasses that clink together in a never-ending cacophony of goodwill and masked complacency. Adieu and bon chance!

First two, then one, they embark on a well-traveled road, as now, again, I do.