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The Reception


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Rating: PG-14
Content: N/A

Mature Content: No

With: Same cast as the wedding one.
Location: Redmond Farm
When: Same day as the wedding (June 1876)
Time of Day: Late afternoon

 

 

 

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Well, she was a married woman, Clara let that sink in yet again even as she changed out of that lovely blue dress she had been married in, Emeline's gift to her, something she would always treasure too. But ever the practical one, she now changed into a more appropriate work dress because it was on her to feed the arriving guests as they pulled up to the Redmond property in buggies or riding horses. She was going to have to feed a good dozen folks and was a bit apprehensive at the responsibility too. Not that she didn't know how to cook, she had been doing that regularly since her mother died. No, she worried if she would have enough for all the guests.

 

In the oven was a ham, her father had bought it just the day before, he called it a 'large ham', it was a HUGE one but that was a good thing what with this many mouths to feed. Last night she had baked two full baskets of corn bread dodgers  to provide the bread. While she did not dare ask Emeline for such (what with all the woman did for her) she hoped her employer might just bring a baked loaf or two of bread. Emeline was already providing the wedding cake and Clara was excited to see what she had done with it, Emeline was such a good baker.

 

As side dishes she had made a large batch of beans with molasses and flavored with some bacon tossed it too then some cooked carrots with honey, opened a jar of pickles, also a plate of pickled eggs she had gotten from the general store.  Dessert would have to be the wedding cake, god, she hoped it was large enough to allow everyone a slice at least. She would make it a point to tell Jacob to cut the slices thin if necessary.

 

Last night she had brought out all the plates and dishware the family owned and washed them, ditto with the silverware. Another issue she could not fix was the fact their dining table in the farm was a small square thing, big enough of course for her father, Wyatt, and her but not going to seat this many guests. Her father came to the rescue by setting up two saw horses and placing a wide plank between them. Even using some barrels they just did not have enough chairs to seat everybody though. Some would have to stand or eat in shifts. Too late Clara realized it would have been smarter to have the dinner at the Lick Skillet!  Live and learn.

 

Now suitably garbed (more for a work day than a party) the young brunette proceeded to the kitchen to do the last minute tasks which awaited her culinary event.

 

***

 

Wyatt had convinced his father to let him pound a few stakes into the ground and hopefully he could entice some of the guests to play some horseshoes. At least they could have a little fun at this boring affair.

 

***

Aurelian was not much of a drinker, well he had been as a young man but gave it up for assuming the reponsiblity of being a proper family man. But there had to be some sort of alcoholic beverage to do up toasts for the bridge and groom, to drink to their future so right after the wedding he had duly marched over to the saloon to try for a purchase of a bottle of some sort of wine. The bartender mentioned they had champagne in the back, the cost proved prohibitive though so Aurelian had to decline. That's when the man realized this was the wedding Arabella Mudd was attending, she had been given the day and evening off for it. As a goodwill gesture, he simply handed over a bottle of the champagne and said it was a wedding gift for the young couple. Aurelian gratefully accepted.

 

There would be coffee and tea provided too for the dinner, with fresh cream if anyone so desired.

 

 

Chased out of the kitchen by a harried Clara, Aurelian now stood outside to greet the attendees as they arrived. He had even resolved to tolerate Granny Miggins and hope for the very best.

 

 

 

 

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Everybody was doing something, preparing food, talking, bustling and hustling in the house. Jacob, one of the two stars of the show, was feeling amazingly shy and, frankly, a bit of a spare part until they all sat down to eat. He found himself oddly wandering outside, hands in pockets, where another outcast from the adult world was idly pitching horseshoes at stakes.

 

The groom ambled over to his new brother-in-law to whom he had never spoken in his life.

 

He watched him finishing his turn until all the shoes were pitched.

 

“Can I have a turn?” Jacob asked Wyatt, the 17 year old nonchalantly broaching the question to the boy four years his junior like two new kids sizing each other up in the schoolyard. There was an almost unwritten rule that if the one kid said no, the other would say “Huh! Didn’t wanna anyways!”

 

He looked down at the little squirt, waiting for an answer: he could see Clara in him, and somehow also, by unconscious triangulation with Aurelian, immediately felt he knew exactly what Clara’s mother had looked like.

 

@Wayfarer

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For a bit Wyatt simply tossed some by himself but  who should stroll up but Clara's brand spanking new husband. They actually hadn't really ever officially met let alone had a conversation. But there he was watching Wyatt in action.

 

“Can I have a turn?” Jacob asked Wyatt.

 

"Sure ya can. I reckon you know how to play then?" Wyatt was game.

 

He let the older boy, no way was he calling Jacob a man, not by a long shot even if he was Clara's husband, arm himself with a few horseshoes.

 

"Just wanna say I'm sorry I didn't get you two a present," Wyatt figured he better get that out of way right off.

 

He also couldn't resist adding, "But it is not like we got a lot of time to get something."

 

Wyatt.jpg

 

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“Can I have a turn?” Jacob asked Wyatt.

 

"Sure ya can. I reckon you know how to play then?" Wyatt was game

 

“Know how to play?! Huh! I invented this game!” humphed Jacob and started to throw a few good ‘uns.

 

He let the older boy, no way was he calling Jacob a man, not by a long shot even if he was Clara's husband, arm himself with a few horseshoes.

 

"Just wanna say I'm sorry I didn't get you two a present," Wyatt figured he better get that out of way right off.

 

“I should think so, too!” replied Jacob laconically, keeping his eyes on the stumps as he threw. “I was relying on you to get us something decent. All that stuff people gave us is kinda … girly. There wasn’t a catapult or a shotgun or a bag of marbles in the bunch.” He sneered. “Oh well, just get me double for Christmas or something.” He was, of course, joking: they were both fellers, fellers didn’t get all touchy feely, they joshed each other.

 

He also couldn't resist adding, "But it is not like we got a lot of time to get something."

 

Ouch! Yeah, well, either Wyatt got it or … did he really not know why he suddenly had a new Brother-in-law?!

 

Before he had time to try and work it out, the door opened and another runaway made his way out of the suffocating domestic atmosphere of the wedding party preparations. It was Wigfall. He ambled over to Jacob and Wyatt.

 

“Say fellers, can I have a turn?” he hailed them both, giving Wyatt a nod of greeting, which for men of any age is as good as any long and wordy introduction, if not better.

 

“You any good?” asked Jacob.

 

“I can beat your sorry backside, Lutz.” Boasted Hector before proceeding to miss every single throw.

Heck had worked out that the younger lad must be Clara’s brother.

 

“What’s wrong with these horseshoes, Redmond? They miss each time.” He asked over Jacob’s derisive laughter. They were all different ages and sizes but basically, they were three boys playing together in the schoolyard.

 

@Wayfarer @Flip @boshmi [if any other fellers want to escape outside while the wimmin do wimmin's work]

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As various dribs and drabs of guests started to roll up in wagons, pony and trap, and on horseback, they slotted into their God appointed slots. Granny Miggins tried to take over the kitchen arrangements, inevitably clashing with Clara; the more or less useless Bridget and Leonora Lutz found seats and sat awkwardly and silently next to each other.

 

Until the Pikes and Father Thomas got there, Arabella buttonholed Aurelian, with her henchman-like companion, Jemima, hovering threateningly behind her. Arabella pulled the hair out of her eyes for the millionth time that day, the sooner Clara un-borrowed that ribbon the better.

 

“Oh, I hope you didn’t mind when I took your arm during the service Mr Redmond but when Clara and Jacob and Wigfall went up to sign the register and we was just left there like that standin’ around like a couple of toads in a hole, well I thought we looked kinda silly standin’ there like that so that’s when I took your arm, so don’t worry, I wan’t implyin’ that I wanted ol’ Father Thomas to marry us next, Hur hur hur!!” she burst out laughing “Course, plenty of girls would wanna marry you Mr. Redmond, you’d be a real catch, wouldn’t he, ‘Mima?”

 

Jemima Wigfall had been staring hungrily at Aurelian with those intense coal black eyes throughout this typical soliloquy by the Mudd girl, and simply growled “Yeah, I’d marry him.” And then reached into an apron pocket and produced a long brown object and pointed it at Aurelian.

 

“You want a cigar, Mr. Redmond? How about we go outside for a smoke?” she asked, in that slow, low, lugubrious flat voice.

 

@Bongo @Flip @Wayfarer @boshmi

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"No you didn't, Pa said he played horseshoes when he was a kid," Wyatt rolled his eyes, Clara's husband wasn't going to fool him with such talk. But the guy was pretty good at throwing them and Wyatt had to give him his due. After one particular ringer, Wyatt even complimented him, "Good shot."

 

Wyatt was also taken aback that Jacob still wanted a present, the boy had hoped an apology would do.

 

"A shotgun!  I can't afford a shotgun. We don't even own one, we haven't got a whole lot of money," he declared.

 

About the time Jacob just said double it for Christmas, it finally dawned on Wyatt (whom Clara complained was too 'literal') this guy was kidding around.

 

"Sure, I'll do that. I'll buy you a unicorn," Wyatt promised. It was a running joke in the family that when there was talk of impossible stuff, unicorns always entered into the conversation. Of course maybe Jacob wouldn't know what a unicorn was? Wyatt only knew because of Clara who knew way too much stuff. This guy didn't look as smart as Clara.

 

Another young man ambled up, a friend of Jacob. Mostly Wyatt knew of him as the guy who worked in the telegraph office. Not that he had ever been able to either send or receive one of those telegrams but maybe some day. He wanted to play too.

 

"I guess," Wyatt agreed but the two older boys didn't wait for his permission. This one was kind of a smart aleck too.

 

So he could brag but he sure couldn't throw horseshoes to back it up. Wyatt joined Jacob in snickers at first which became laughs as miss followed miss.

 

“What’s wrong with these horseshoes, Redmond? They miss each time.”

 

"Nothing. They didn't miss for me n' Jacob. It's gotta be the thrower," Wyatt half smirked.

 

 

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Aurelian had to look away and remind himself not to get in involved when he saw and heard Clara in a kitchen disagreement with Granny Miggins. He did not envy the girl having that for relative by marriage. Suddenly  there was fiesty young Arabella standing there in front of him.

 

"Yes?" he raised one eyebrow.

 

“Oh, I hope you didn’t mind when I took your arm during the service Mr Redmond but when Clara and Jacob and Wigfall went up to sign the register and we was just left there like that standin’ around like a couple of toads in a hole, well I thought we looked kinda silly standin’ there like that so that’s when I took your arm, so don’t worry, I wan’t implyin’ that I wanted ol’ Father Thomas to marry us next, Hur hur hur!!” she burst out laughing “Course, plenty of girls would wanna marry you Mr. Redmond, you’d be a real catch, wouldn’t he, ‘Mima?”

 

"Well.....I should..." Aurelian started.

 

Jemima Wigfall had been staring hungrily at Aurelian with those intense coal black eyes throughout this typical soliloquy by the Mudd girl, and simply growled “Yeah, I’d marry him.” And then reached into an apron pocket and produced a long brown object and pointed it at Aurelian.

 

“You want a cigar, Mr. Redmond? How about we go outside for a smoke?”

 

Aurelian was surprised to be sure but recovered quickly, "I'm sorry but I do not indulge. Thank you though."

 

Like he was ever going out and smoke cigars with a young lady!

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Guest boshmi

By the time Thomas arrived at the Redmond homestead, the vast majority of the guests were present, milling about in demographically congruent clumps and making idle chatter. He bore with him a marriage certificate, tucked under his arm, and a bottle of fair whiskey, procured from the Stardust (and paid in full!). He knew that the family of the couple had probably purchased their own drinks, but he felt as though he needed to offer some sort of gift.

 

His jacket had been discarded, owed to the more casual nature of a reception, and he walked with a more comfortable ease along the track leading out of town. People seemed happy with the wedding, and there had been no one barging in to protest a union of wedlock. Both his own reputation, and that of the couple, would tenuously survive another day.

 

Outside the homestead gathered the boys; Jacob with his best man, and Clara's younger brother Wyatt, all taking turns at slinging horseshoes.

"Good day!" he greeted, waving with his free hand as he approached. "Master Wigfall, Master Redmond, Mister Lutz."

@Javia@Wayfarer@Flip@Bongo

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Emeline was bursting with happiness as Barnabas drove them out to the Redmond farm along with the other members of the wedding party, although they were lagging a bit behind the others, as Emeline had impressed on Barnabas the need to drive carefully and avoid the larger holes -- they were transporting the wedding cake, and Emeline was on edge that it arrive unscathed.

 

Although she was passing fair at baking, decorating was something else, and she'd had little time to practice.  Still, she was proud of what she'd made, and was anxious that it make it to the farm intact, since trying to repair it would be a nightmare!  Ensconced in a crate that Barnabas had made just for the occasion, it should be all right, but they wouldn't know until it was unpacked at the farm.

 

Even once there, Emeline was on pins and needles, but she held her tongue, having no doubt that her new husband would handle the crate as gently as he could, and she didn't need to badger him about it.

 

It was with a surge of relief that she saw the cake was intact and unscathed, but it wasn't until it was sitting in the middle of the main table, amid garlands of tiny blue and white flowers that matched the flowers that had been woven into Clara's hair.

 

"It's perfect."  Glancing at Barnabas, she smiled, then kissed him on the lips.  "Thank you for being so careful...and for putting up with my nagging.  And I promise I won't make a habit of baking wedding cakes!"

 

@Flip; @Wayfarer; @Javia; @Bailey; @boshmi

 

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"Sure, I'll do that. I'll buy you a unicorn," Wyatt promised. It was a running joke in the family that when there was talk of impossible stuff, unicorns always entered into the conversation. Of course maybe Jacob wouldn't know what a unicorn was? Wyatt only knew because of Clara who knew way too much stuff. This guy didn't look as smart as Clara.

 

“Oh, you mean a rhinoceros? Well thanks, Brother, that’s mighty generous. Just the cost of bringing one over from Africa must be a Million Dollars!” he plucked a figure from the air. “You know that unicorns are just legends descended from the writings of a ancient Greek traveller who saw a rhinoceros in Africa; ohhhh, ‘bout four hundred years before Jesus was born, right?” he asked. Yeah, showing of his knowledge of the ancient world a little, but why not?

 

Oh, talking of horny beasts, here came Wigfall, who played with them, badly, a while.

 

18715.png

 

“What’s wrong with these horseshoes, Redmond? They miss each time.” He asked eventually.

 

"Nothing. They didn't miss for me n' Jacob. It's gotta be the thrower," Wyatt half smirked.

 

“Don’t talk shit, look at this one…” he held up the horseshoe “It’s all bent!”

 

Even Jacob, who was no friend to Hector’s low sense of humor, had to give a involuntary “Ha!” at this quip.

 

A figure appeared down the road and Hector held up a shading hand to his eyes.

 

“Oh shit, boys, it’s Reverend Methusulah headin’ our way; you two sinners had better stop swappin’ dirty stories and doin’ all that damn swearing.” he warned the other two jokingly.

 

They all watched the clergyman get closer and closer, to Wigfall’s muttered comment of “Hurry up Grandpa, we’re losing the light.” He was safe to do so in front of Wyatt, unless Jacob had married into a family of snitchers!

 

"Good day!" he greeted, waving with his free hand as he approached. "Master Wigfall, Master Redmond, Mister Lutz."

 

The sardonic Hector was the first to walk up and greet the tall man of the cloth with a shake of his hand.

 

“Hello again Reverend! I didn’t get a chance to say before what a wonderful and moving ceremony that was earlier. I’m man enough to admit I … well I got a tear in my eye once or twice during it.” He oozed, while Jacob just gave a slight shake of the head. Wigfall hadn’t changed a bit since he used to encourage them to mess around in the classroom and then creep around Mrs Orr the teacher, bringing her apples and such, the big hypocritical jerk.

 

Jacob shook the old man’s hand next.

 

“Do you throw horseshoes, Father?” he asked “My brother in law here set it up.” He was trying the new phrase out for size... and liking it!

 

@Wayfarer @boshmi

 

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