Tripping Along

By Erika Hoffman

The nuptials, to take place, were for the lovely sister of my lovely daughter-in-law, whose family possesses savoir-faire and hosts such events effortlessly, stylishly and perfectly. Also, they hired a small army of ubiquitous wedding planners holding clip boards.

My first encounter with theses “sans pareil” wedding planners occurred the eve of the wedding when we gathered in the lobby of our motel to be shuttled to the Weekapaug for a welcoming party.

Once there we were escorted to the pool where the welcoming party was. Open bar, food stations, travelling waiters with tempting amuse-bouche to consume – an inviting feast!

“My heels are killing me,” I whispered.

“Why did you wear those?”

“What was I supposed to wear with this cocktail get-up?”

“Comfortable shoes?”

“Comfortable shoes don’t go with my ensemble. Look around at the other ladies’ shoes. You see anyone sporting clod-hopper, comfortable shoes?”

My husband moseyed off to get a local beer. I followed him and soon was imbibing too. The area filled up. Groups clustered around the pool with barely enough room for an older, chubby woman, even one with sensible shoes, to sneak past.

“I’m afraid I’m going to topple into that pool if I attempt to score another libation.”

“I’ll get it,” he offered.

“If you insist,” I said, relieved.

That evening we mingled and mixed and chatted and laughed and played the “Do you know so and so from such and such place?”

Dark descended. Dodging the pool became trickier. Finally, the last shuttle back to our motel was announced. Our son and daughter-in-law, who showed up after the rehearsal dinner, had long since departed.

“Time to go?” I asked. My husband followed me out through the building to the narrow, slippery stone steps which led to a path to the parking lot. Tastefully small lights lit the way, barely.

Just as I placed my heel on the last step, my ankle turned, and I tumbled. I landed in a bush. Out of the corner of my eye, I spied a woman hustling past. In front of me was a wedding planner with clipboard and worried expression.

I picked myself up and brushed myself off.

“Are you all right, Mrs. Hoffman?” the doe-eyed wedding planner solicitously inquired.

“Oh yes! It helps to have padding. A thin old lady would have broken a hip. Not me.”

‘You’re fine?” she said and reached out a hand to guide me the rest of the way.

“That was a graceful tumble, wasn’t it?”

“Oh yes, ma’am. You’re ok?”

“Really yes. My spouse was an immense help.” She looked a bit quizzical at my remark.

So, I unceremoniously climbed onto the bus and was thankful it wasn’t full of gawkers.

When time to get off, a different wedding planner greeted us.

“Let me help you,” she said.

“Geesh, these gals must have walkie talkies,” I murmured. As we walked to our room, I added, “Good thing no one really saw me. How embarrassing!”

The next day my husband and I roamed the beach and ate lunch at the Andrea, which had a crowd reminiscent of what we’re used to in North and South Carolina. Tattooed folks. (Only one significant difference was the folks at Emerald Isle are in stellar shape as a lot of them hail from Camp Lejeune, and those young marines look like pin-ups in a Playgirl Calendar! These guys resembled Harvey Weinstein.)

Anyway, we dressed for the wedding.

“You’re not going to wear those black heels again?”

“No way. I’m wearing another uncomfortable pair – silver.”

He grimaced.

So, we approached the shuttle. Two wedding planners – I’d not previously laid eyes on – were at the door checking off names. After I said mine, one looked up, concerned, “How are you today, Mrs. Hoffman?”

Boy, word travels fast.

“Let me assist you,” she offered.

“I’m fine, really.” I clambered up the stairs – like a mere 60-year-old, in sensible shoes – might.

We found seats near the front. An older woman leaned toward us from across the aisle.

“Are you bruised?” she inquired.

“Say what?”

“Bruised? From your fall!”

“No, no, I’m not. Thank you. I’d only drunk two beers,” I added in my defense.

The service was beautiful; my son didn’t mess up the scripture he read from the pulpit, and everyone laughed when his two-year-old – the flower girl – seated with us, blurted out “Come, Daddy!”

After the ceremony, buses awaited to drive us to the Watch-a-ma-call-it Inn which I’m pretty sure I’d called a half -dozen different names the night before, including, Wikipedia and Wiki-links Hotel.

A wedding planner stationed herself at the door of the bus.

“Watch your step!”

“I’ll do that.” I recognized her as the one who saw me sail into the bushes the night before. I confided, “I’d only two beers, maybe three.” She smiled understandingly.

“Or four,” whispered Mr. Helpful.

I danced with my son and once with the bride’s father, all the while cognizant of my heels, weak ankles and alcoholic consumption. Never have I attended a more joyful, swinging and swaying, dynamic fete than this one!

Enervated but happy, we were ready to board the bus. As I teetered -tottered out the door down the same, small, three dimly lit steps leading to the path to the car lot, I saw to the left of me the friendly bush that caught me the night before. No worse for wear. The ever-present wedding planner focused, like a laser, on me. Faces gazing out the bus window were fixated on me, too, watching…

His hand grabbed me by the elbow and guided me down the path. As I climbed the steps in the bus, with my hubby behind me, an aunt of the bride said, “You know, I tripped and fell at the last wedding up here and broke my shoulder.”

I smiled at her. “Tripping hazards are everywhere!” And then I looked down at the wedding planners. “Reporters too.”

About this writer

  • Erika Hoffman

    Erika Hoffman

    has produced over 300 pieces of published writing thanks to perseverance and also has produced four grandchildren, thanks to her children!

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11 Responses to “Tripping Along”

  1. Jane W says:

    Another good one! Love reading your stories, or rather your life experiences!!

  2. Linda O'Connell says:

    At the age where we require comfortable shoes…I’m there, too, and I trip over my own feet.

  3. Dallas Swan says:

    Hilarious !!! Nothing like a beautiful wedding with pretty dresses and spiked heals and drinks I think most of us middle aged women have been there and done that some not so lucky to have a bush to save them.

  4. Cora Brown says:

    Too funny! I think most of us have had equally embarrassing moments – but thankfully not with the teams of diligent reporters to make sure everyone knows! Glad you shared this.

  5. beth fallaize says:

    so funny I can see this happing!

  6. Sally M Moore says:

    Oh, yes! Cute shoes and diminished balancing ability have done me in recently. So happy to have good company.

  7. Carol Trejo says:

    This was so enjoyable to read. Ms. Hoffman’s writings always makes me feel like I am right along side her. I can so relate to your stories. Please keep writing and sharing!

  8. Great story! And when are the fashionista’s going to design decent shoes as they do for men!

  9. Ann Goebel says:

    What a delightful read, Erika. Your prose injected with tongue-in-cheek humor suited your unfortunate accident perfectly. “Write” on!

  10. Eileen Williams says:

    Love it! Made me laugh! This was a great story and I can just visualize you in the bush and the uptight wedding planner types that zero in on these types of things!

  11. Margaret De St Aubin says:

    Great story and who can’t relate to uncomfortable high heels and tripping, stumbling hazards. We’ve all been there, with the embarrassment and assurances that we’re perfectly fine. Erika makes it all seem so vivid that I can just see the solicitous wedding coordinators “assisting” her along the way. Just thinking about it is making me blush!!

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