Party Time

Last week was full of more social gatherings for us than we have had in more than a year. At an outdoor ceremony at a city park, Husband and other officers for the local food pantry accepted a cheque from the city for a new security system. Husband got to rub elbows with city officials, Rotarians, former university presidents, and other local worthies. He then did some church visiting to a shut-in couple we haven’t seen for months. It culminated in a wonderful party on Saturday night in Mandan at a city park about 10 miles outside of town at a man-made reservoir.

Dear friends of ours, the ones who gave us the Arikara bean seeds, celebrated their 27th wedding anniversary. They are a couple older than we are, in their early 70’s. He is Native American. She is white. They are both addiction counselors. They renewed their wedding vows with the help of family, friends, former colleagues, and an Indian Elvis Impersonator from Oklahoma. The party was held in a large, open air picnic shelter.

There was plenty of food provided by the couple and kept hot in huge electric roasters. Guests brought food, too. It was a real pot luck feast. There were about 50 people in attendance. The trick was keeping one’s self hydrated and the perishables cool, since the temperature, at 5:00 PM, was 103. I feared for Elvis in his white jump suit. He sang and danced and gyrated despite the heat.

Elvis was fascinating. He is a member of the Choctaw nation and also is an actor and traditional dancer. Our friend found him by searching YouTube videos under the name NDN Elvis. He sang to a prerecorded accompaniment so he didn’t need a live back up band. He also conducted the renewal ceremony. A former tribal councilman read selections from the Bible. There were flower bouquets, sage bundles, and sweet grass braids. Family had made a photo display of the couple’s years together.

The only thing that didn’t work out was the Indian flute player, Keith Bear. He is a rather well known Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation musician. You can find him on You Tube, too. He had to travel unexpectedly to the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota to help with the passing of a notable spiritual leader who was present at Wounded Knee. There always seems to be at least one thing that doesn’t go as planned at a big party.

Tell some wedding or anniversary party stories. What worked? What didn’t? What would you want an Elvis Impersonator to sing at your party?

30 thoughts on “Party Time”

  1. While I think the party your friends had sounds wonderful, I can’t for the life of me imagine ever having an Elvis impersonator perform at a party of mine.Possibly lack of imagination on my part, though more likely a result of me never having been an Elvis fan.

    That said, I love spoofs on Elvis imitators:

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I don’t care for Elvis, either. It was interesting hearing NDN Elvis talk about Elvis as being honorable for being a veteran, as well as someone who crossed racial boundaries with his music. Our Native friends have great respect for veterans.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. RIse and Shine, then celebrate without Elvis,

    We may have a wedding party later in the season to celebrate my son’s wedding. However, they are moving to a new duplex and that will occupy them for awhile. We shall see. I have been trying to write a piece about my Great Great Grandparents’ 50th anniversary in 1912. I found a picture of the party which was interesting. Between gardening, my mother’s rapid decline, and COVID fog I have not got far on that project, though.

    When we got married we had an outdoor party months after the wedding at a nearby park with Lou’s Dixieland Band performing. Although Lou agreed to only play one song with the band and help me host, he wanted to play with them, so he was unavailable too much. And I was piqued with him. Then the wife of the bass player, sporting a new facelift and a red cowboy hat and matching outfit sat herself right in front of the band. She refused to interact with anyone else which cleared the area in front of the band where people were to dance. Her presence was so intimidating. Needless to say, they soon headed for divorce court.

    Despite it all the party went OK. Outdoor setting are hard without a contained venue.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. The breakers for the electric cookers kept tripping, on Saturday, and we had to move them around and alternate their being on to coordinate the food getting hot at the right time.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. No Elvis for me either. Not a big fan. I certainly respect his great contribution to pop music, but the best thing I like about him is his taste for peanut butter and banana sandwiches.

    No great wedding or anniversary stories to share other than we had a backyard wedding in which a neighbor cranked up his lawn mower just as the service was about to start. My uncle sprinted over and asked him to hold off for ten minutes. Then the music for the processional (handled by my cousin using my stereo system with LP hooked up in the backyard, decided to skip for the first time ever. Another slight delay.

    While we waited for my uncle to return from the neighbor’s yard, the judge said to us, “Not many couples get a chance to reconsider this late in the game.” We had a good chuckle. 43 years later this June 17, we made a wise choice to give it a go.

    Chris in Owatonna

    Liked by 4 people

  4. I have mixed feelings about Elvis. Impersonators, give me a break. Nonetheless.
    Jane and I didn’t really have an “our song”. She’s 17 years younger than me, however, she is the Elvis fan. We both sat beside Elvis’ grave at Graceland, in tears. For me that was unexpected. Jane’s tears were along the lines of “how can the world go on without Elvis? ” Simple to understand. Mine were to do with something more highfaluting, “The death of innocence”, “What a waste, all that crap he turned out the moment he got out of Sam Phillips’ sight, culminating in a burned out bloated idiot”. Things I don’t say to Jane.
    That moment that Elvis cut “That’s all Right”, the world changed. But the guy that died two decades later was a different person. I don’t really want to watch all those paunchy guys caricaturing a caricature.
    Anyway, our song. Without either of us saying anything, I recognised that Jane had adopted the Everlys ‘ “Let it be me” as Our Song. As a long time Everlys fan, ironically I never liked that song much. But I didn’t say so.
    So she was pretty hurt when I eventually admitted it.
    After ten years, we finally got married. I heard rd Elvis doing “Young and Beautiful”, and really took to it. I said, what about that as our song, and she said OK.
    We went to the South on honeymoon. So I could go to the Sun studio, and Jane could go to Graceland. And chase up blues related items, well I don’t know that we did. We saw the rail station at Tutwiler. Jane and her mum arranged the itinerary, and assumed I’d want to go to Tutwiler, I suppose. We went to the blues museum at Clarksdale, because of Muddy Waters, apparently my favourite blues singer. I never said or implied that in my life, but I still haven’t told Sandra that.
    But anyway, in Memphis we saw an entertaining Elvis impersonator on some derelict ground off Beale Street. We said, if we come back tomorrow, can you sing “Young and Beautiful” for us? He said, sure, so back we came, but he sang something else, and said, hey man, I’m sorry. I couldn’t get the words for that song. A good guy though, despite what I said before . Radford Ellis. Said he used to cut Vernon’s yard.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I know I’ve mentioned before that second wasband and I got married at the Good Earth restaurant. We did a “When Harry Met Sally” thing a couple of weeks later. A big party with a huge coconut cake with chocolate sauce on the side. And we didn’t tell anyone it was a wedding party. It was just a surprise when people go out there.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. We didn’t want people to feel like they need to get gifts. And we figured if we told them ahead of time it was to celebrate the fact that we got married, they would feel like they need to go out and get some thing. So we didn’t tell anybody ahead of time.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Elvis. I’m not sure I would ever think to have an Elvis impersonator at a party of mine but I suppose if one showed up, that could be fun. Of course I would prefer a younger Elvis in those tight black pants and striped shirt singing Jail House Rock.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. My history with Elvis is a bit unusual. I wasn’t a fan in the usual sense, but from the first notes I head him sing I was fascinated by him. I have almost been obsessed with his ability to reinvent himself as a performer. In high school, kids made fun of him. They knew about his impoverished family, and the phrase they used for doing something really uncool was “to do an Elvis. Keep that in mind when you look at early videos of him.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I had a special relationship with my father. He and I fished together and hunted, plus he was a nonstop storyteller. As I’ve said, I almost believe I remember every story he ever told me. We really enjoyed each other, but Dad was put off by rock ‘n roll. He especially despised Elvis. One of the difficulties of my adolescence was deciding how much to respect Elvis and pop music, I struggled with that until 1978. the year Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band came out. That album was hot and American culture was ready to respect forms of music that my dad and other adults had written off as trash.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. My dad wasn’t fond of rock music either. He particularly didn’t like John Denver and Bob Dylan because they were so “nasally”. He also thought a lot of lyrics were fairly foul. Pretty much everything on the Bridge Over Troubled Water album made him angry. And don’t get him started on the song about Bonnie and Clyde with all the gun fire at the end!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. First wedding to Wasband was in his folks back yard in 1975 Great Neck, NY – complete with chuppah (canopy), and breaking the wine glass (in a cloth napkin) at the end. That’s honestly all I remember, except that in retrospect I had dragged my folks and sister out there for nothing…

    Forever (apparently) Husband and I decided in 1980 to elope, after trying to figure out details like where to cut off the guest list (his large family). After a weekend at a Storytelling Conference in Mineral Point Wisc. (honeymoon before ceremony), we came here with friends Janis and Chuck, got married at the Winona County Courthouse. We visited there last year, but couldn’t find what seemed like the exact chamber.

    I wouldn’t have Elvis or an impersonator, but I did like a couple of his songs… I Can’t Help Falling…. A couple of others I remember liking were these, but they wouldn’t be so great for a wedding party…
    My older cousin and I would sit on her living room floor with her little 45-record player, or I probably wouldn’t know this one:

    Liked by 3 people

    1. That song, on a 45 rpm, was my Christmas present from two boys I took care of in 1959. I was sixteen, they were eight and ten; they loved Elvis and I knew what a precious gift it was even though I would have never bought the record on my own. It was the only Elvis record I ever had.

      Liked by 3 people

  10. It just occurs to me that my Baboon friends met a different Elvis than I did. You would have encountered the fat Elvis of Hollywood films, the guy in the jump suit who had begun singing in Vegas. I met a different one when I was 14 and I first heard Heartbreak Hotel. Unforgettable moment. Fingers-in-the-light socket moment.

    I’ve mentioned that life with my mother could be complicated. She was forever stewing about how my sister and I were not growing up well. One day she sat the two of us down to explain that we were failing to connect to the music of the day and thus would be socially stunted. She gave us both a dollar and told us to buy a 45 rpm that would help us connect with modern music. My sister bought Pat Boone singing Love Letters in the Sand. I came home with a classic Elvis Sun record: “Baby, baby, baby, I wanna play house with you.” My mother was scandalized

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Our caterer from Hull, IA backed out at the last minute. We found another IA caterer right away and the food was great. Our reception was at the VFW club in Luverne. There were four other wedding receptions there that night, and a band and we all danced. Lots of brides and grooms filling the place.

    Liked by 4 people

  12. Elvis never did much for me either.
    However I was in a Mantorville melodrama once and I was to start dancing to another guy playing Heartbreak Hotel. Of course, the hokiest dance you can imagine with shades of John Travolta and Saturday night fever. It got big laughs. So that song has special meaning. And if you’ve seen the movie Lilo and Stitch, Stitch singing to Elvis is pretty good too.

    Our wedding was pretty fun. I think I’ve mentioned before that I invited the minister to the bachelor party. He liked to tell that story himself in later years. And we had a dance with a very popular local band.
    When our son got married we had a giant inflatable slide at the farm and my 89-year-old mom wanted to do the slide. Took two of her grandsons to get her up there and it was over in a flash, but she sure loved it.

    Liked by 5 people

  13. A downer, I know, but the only social gatherings I’ve been to the last few years have been memorial services for friends, all of them my age or younger.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. We are traveling to Pipestone Thursday for my cousin’s funeral. She is younger than I M by about 5 years and died after a 3 week bout with cancer.


        1. My cousin, bless her, was quite slow from being dropped on her head as an infant. She may not have realized anything was wrong. She was happily married and a mom and grandma, though. I am glad I will get to see my other cousins. As an only child, they are the closest people to siblings I have.

          Liked by 3 people

  14. Crying in the chapel
    I can’t help falling in love with you
    And her mama cried
    Blue suede shoes

    We decided to get married on January 1 of 2001 so that we could have a fun day to remember and I still forget our anniversary

    Liked by 1 person

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