Dan said I shouldn't bring my camera to the west coast reception reasoning that since we'd be the guests of honor, everyone would be taking pictures of us. I don't remember one person asking us to pose together, and I think there is one picture of us from that night out there, taken by Dan's Uncle Jim, and this is it:
So I have no pictures to share with you. I think everyone was having too much of a good time to take pictures, so it's not the worst thing in the world...(though if you ever come by our place, I can show you this funny little photo album from the party we got in the mail from Bob and Jan Parkman).
So basically how this party came about is that when it became clear that we wouldn't be able to invite ALL of our favorite people to our New Orleans wedding, Dan's parents decided to host a second reception for their friends and family in Visalia, including Dan's grandparents who couldn't make it to the wedding. It was great because Susan and Henry took care of everything, and Dan and I just had to show up and look nice. Dan wore a bow-tie! I wore the white dress!
Dan's parents did an amazing job in choosing this cool little restaurant called The Lunch Box as the venue. It was a festive evening of yummy food, people meeting and greeting (a lot of new faces and names for me!), New Orleans jazz music (thanks to the mix Dan worked so diligently on in the last few weeks), California wine with labels that had our names on them and the most important part to any good party: a wonderful assortment of desserts including a yellow cupcake tower! Thanks to my in-laws for planning such a memorable and lovely party!
After the reception was over and only the LA friends and Brett Jackson (now an LA friend) remained, we decided to end the night at Visalia's all-time famous haunt (literally!): Fly's grave. Since I have known Dan, he has told me stories about Fly's grave and about being chased down by "the light" of Fly's ghost. Even though I have been to V-town a few times now, this was a part of the tour that I only heard about and not seen....until now.
So according to Dan, this is how it was supposed to go down. We'd get to the cemetery, walk to the back and there would be a gravestone that said FLY on it. We would then knock on the stone and say "FLY FLY FLY FLY" and then hold hands and walk out of the cemetery together, and the trick is YOU CAN'T LOOK BACK. You get into your car and drive onto the main road and that is where you see a red light coming toward you. It's FLY from beyond the grave!
We all packed into two cars and drove to the cemetery, some of us with butterflies in our stomachs. (Usually I am a big scaredy cat, but I wasn't nervous at all). As we got close to the site, our plan was almost foiled when we got to a police checkpoint where they stopped all the cars on the road in case of drunk driving. Of course, our drivers were sober, but the police made some of us even more nervous and then Dan got a little disorientated. It was really dark. We drove too far and then turned around, and then we drove into someone's property--obviously not the right place. Just when this happened, some headlights appeared from behind out of nowhere. Was it the owner? Were they on to us? And that's when Ara appeared at the window, scaring the crap out of us. Apparently he came from the other car to tell us we were in the wrong spot but the sight of a man approaching the car made us freak the F out.
We finally found the cemetery, but were afraid that the car with the headlights would follow (it didn't). The sky was pitch black with billions of sparkling stars. We walked through the graveyard, speaking in hushed tones, until we reached Fry's headstone near the back. (Have to say, first time I have EVER been at a graveyard at night). We shined our cell phones over the tombstone to make sure it was the right one. At the same time, we all knocked on the stone and chanted and then holding our breaths (or so it felt!), we held hands and walked back to the cars.
We drove to the main road, and when we turned off, all we saw were the other LA crew's car's lights behind us. We thought to kill the lights but the road was kind of busy, there was no real shoulder and we were afraid of getting hit, so after a minute of not seeing anything, we shrugged our shoulders and drove off. So everyone in our car didn't see a thing. But it was fun.
The whole escapade felt like something out of high school; it reminded me of being a teenager again, driving around with a bunch of friends, laughing and doing stupid stuff. (You have to remember in NYC, it's very rare to drive anywhere unless you are in a taxi, so probably the last time I did this WAS in high school!) In a way the experience was better now because when I was 16, I was too afraid of getting in trouble to have any fun. In true teen style, we ended the night at Taco Bell (because we were SOOO hungry after all that delicious food at the reception...yeah right. We were just being pigs) and that's when we found out the kids in the other car saw the light. Remember, no one was behind them on the road.
So believe it or not, my friends. We have proof. FLY'S GHOST DOES EXIST!