Tag Archive for: Silver Dollar City

The Art and Artistry of Wedding Gifts

Weddings are on my mind. Of course, here’s where I’ll give the expected plug for the forthcoming, Murder Takes the Cake (May 2009) – which is fun, furry, and festive. But both in the fictional world and the real one, I’m awash in tulle and lace. In the last 12 months, I’ve hosted or attended four bridal showers, one engagement party, and two weddings. I’ve got two more weddings on the calendar in the next couple of weeks.

All of which means, besides dusting off my dancing shoes for the ceremonial, raucous hora (Israeli celebratory dance), I’m also spending a lot of time and money on wedding gifts. Part of me is envious, as I scan the bridal registries of the young couples. I wish that I could start over with new unchipped dishes and glasswear. I swear I’d still pick the same husband – but I’d like to replace my faded, thin towels, as well as my pilled, shrunken bottom sheets which pop off the mattress in the middle of the night.

Picking the right gift is always a delicate balancing act of taste and budget. The registries are much more elaborate today. Within days of getting engaged, I picked out, at my mother’s insistence, good china and silver – and in fact, got full services of both. But today, there are registries for the honeymoon, for gardening supplies, computer and electronic gifts, luggage, camping gear – you name it, somebody has registered for it.

But despite the often elaborate registries, I think every couple still receives at least one wedding gift that defies explanation. Ours was a silver-plated, four-quart teapot that rested on an elaborate, ornately carved ugly stand, and was engraved with the Greek letters of some fraternity. I still have it in the basement, waiting for the occasion when I host Queen Elizabeth and her family for tea.

Of course, no one owes you a gift and we need to remember to be grateful and gracious for the gesture and goodwill. But I read one story from a bride who recounted receiving a box of condoms as a wedding gift which seemed, pardon me, slightly tacky; or another who recalled the elaborately wrapped brick she received with a note that advised her to use it as a cornerstone when she built a house, which probably takes “practical” to a new level.

What’s your worst wedding gift ever?

Evelyn David

Summer Vacation Angst

When I was a kid the first school assignment each fall was to write about my summer vacation. The only problem was my family didn’t go on summer vacations, not as a rule. We didn’t have the extra money and it just wasn’t something my parents were accustomed to doing. I come from a long line of people who work forty to sixty hours a week and the only vacations they took involved baling hay or the odd hunting/fishing trip. My summer vacation essays were short and generally avoided the assigned topic as much as possible.

Last year I combined three library events in Missouri with my vacation. My brother and I played tourist in the St. Louis area and despite the heat, had a great time. We went in the Arch and viewed the exhibits. My brother actually took the tram/elevator up to the top. I confess, I’m not crazy about heights or small cramped spaces. We were there the week after the tram had gotten stuck and riders had been stranded for a few hours. Just the thought of that was enough to keep me on the ground. I was perfectly happy sitting on a bench, reading, and waiting for my brother to return with photographs.

I’ve been thinking about where I want to go this year during my time off from my day job. Usually I just stay home and catch up on all the things I never get to during the rest of the year. You know – painting, cleaning out closets, cleaning out gutters, well, just cleaning in general. Nothing too exciting.

In July of 2001, my brother and I took a big trip. We flew to North Carolina, rented a car and spent a week on the Outer Banks. We saw all there was to see and then some – the Wright Brothers National Memorial at Kitty Hawk, Ocracoke Island and the Blackbeard Museum, the reenactment play of the Missing Colony of Roanoke, and the beach at Nags Head. A nervous flyer, it was my brother’s first and probably last airplane flight. We came home sunburned and happy, then less than six weeks later planes were crashed into buildings and life in the United States – especially travel – changed forever.

This year I don’t have a new book to promote (yet), so I won’t be planning my vacation around libraries and bookstores. If gas prices don’t hit $5 a gallon before the end of the month, I may drive to Branson, Missouri for a few days. Branson is a country music boomtown and home of the Silver Dollar City theme park. It’s a fun place if you don’t mind the heat and the summer crowds. I figure I can last about two days, maybe three, before I’m dying to come home.

I don’t know – it wouldn’t take much to talk me into staying home in the first place, investing in some new patio furniture, and reading a few dozen mysteries. Might even work on the next Evelyn David book! Okay, I’d probably have to do some painting and yard work too.

What about you? What was your best summer vacation? I promise you don’t have to write an essay about it if you don’t want to. There will be no grades assigned.

The Southern Half of Evelyn David