Back in Canada after a quick trip to Greece, I put my wanderlust on ice while preparations for my eldest daughter’s June wedding took over my life. Weddings can be stressful but this one was so well in hand that at 7 am on her wedding day my daughter was on the treadmill and I was lifting weights in the hotel gym, my youngest daughter was doing jumping jacks to a workout video in our hotel room and my son was set to explore Toronto with his cousins from Seattle. A 6 pm outdoor garden ceremony followed by dinner and dancing in the lovely Georgian style mansion known as MacLean House, part of the Estates of Sunnybrook in Toronto, turned out to be the perfect choice for a wedding. Although a sunny, hot 28°C afternoon, it was comfortable by dinner time and with June’s long days it was light until after 9 pm.
The guest list of 60 was manageable and by not succumbing to the marketing pressure of the wedding industry, we created an intimate private party feel. Fresh flowers, lace, burlap ribbon and candles turned an already beautiful dining room into a magical place, a small 3-oz bottle of home-made limoncello greeted each guest and a beautiful wedding cake decorated with fresh strawberries and orchids made by my children’s step mom gave it that final personal touch.
The bride and her bridesmaids all looked calm and beautiful.
The guests, traveling from all parts of North America and one from Spain, made it without incident and even my son, who had just stepped out of the forests of British Columbia (where he spends his time working these days) was clean-shaven, with trimmed hair and wearing a suit my daughter had arranged.
He walked me down the aisle to my seat and when the above photo found its way to social media I’m guessing that shock and laughter among his buddies were the result, at least judging from comments like “this is probably the best photo on Instagram” or “I want this photo on my gravestone”. You see he doesn’t have much need for a suit in the forest, doesn’t like wearing one, has been known to turn up to family functions wearing a jacket and shoes purchased from the Salvation Army, can be found with mismatched shoelaces and usually sports unruly hair and the beginnings of a beard. But that day it was all good.
A lovely couple, a happy day and a proud moment for me.
My youngest daughter, a bridesmaid, also looked lovely and we all danced into the wee hours of the next morning.
The limoncello was a hit but choosing the best recipe meant trial batches and beta testing by friends, relatives and whomever crossed the doorstep. I almost offered some to the man fixing my furnace in exchange for his opinion, but thought better of it. And while I managed to offload a litre of trial brew to a taster that particularly liked it, I still have two litres of beta-test sitting in the fridge. I imagine I’ll be the only kayaker in the wilderness this summer sipping limoncello beside the campfire.
With the bride and groom off to Mexico and with a day to catch up on sleep, we headed off for a day of exercise: biking at Niagara-on-the-lake with my brother and family….well, let’s just say bikes were involved.
No sooner had we set out than nearby vineyards started calling us. We began at the Ice House with ice wine slushies.
At the second vineyard, my brother asked how best to taste a “whole bunch” of wines really quickly in order to succeed in our mission to hit 15 wineries in a day. At that moment, any hope I may have had that we appear as somewhat knowledgeable and interested in the vineyard and the wines it produces evaporated instantly. “Well sir, I could bring you three mugs of different wines and you could pass them around and share” the woman offered. “That would be great” he replied. Feeling a bit guilty as we passed the wine around like a hot potato, I bought a bottle, then wondered how to fit it into the water bottle holder on my bike.
Of course, there was some polar bear riding along the way and a brewery stop for lunch to sample the beer and decide on the next leg of the route.
By the end, after 7 hours, we were carrying cheese boards with our wine bottles on the bikes and were tired and wobbly. Back in the centre of Niagara-on-the-lake by 6 pm, it seemed only fitting to look for a restaurant for dinner…and drinks.
Weddings, wine and exercise, June has been good.