with walnuts


In which she describes a love for the ages.

I had my first bridal meltdown just a few days after the engagement.

Okay, okay — it was a whole-world meltdown, and only incidentally bridal: the computer had crashed, my back was spasming, a loved one had snubbed me, the kitchen was a mess, I’d had a spat online, and life seemed out of control for just one evening. Topping it off, I’d started to check out (and to price, yikes) reception venues, and I’d contemplated the Lovecraftian heaps of chiffon and satin that any bridal boutique would try to foist upon me if I should enter looking for a lace-trimmed hanky or other modest bridal accoutrement.

And then I started crying. Not decorous, soft-focus bridal-portrait tears rolling down joy-pinked cheeks. No. Great honking sobs rippled through with snot-rattles.

And The Fella, who is the best thing in my world, handed me a roll of tissue, turned out the light, and laid down with me in the quiet dark. Quiet except for my snorting sobs, anyway. And we talked peacefully and with love, and without anybody calling me crazy, which was a nice touch and a mark of great restraint.

The conversation went on for a while, winding around too many concerns to catalogue, but it ended with this exchange:

The Fella: And everyone will be happy for us! And what will we say to anyone who isn’t?
Elsa: [sniffling] Um. “Cram it with walnuts, cranky”?
The Fella: Okay! Yes!

I suspect the simple, silently repeated phrase “Cram it with walnuts” will let me smile my way through many hours of party-planning, routine elevator chat with acquaintances puzzled by the absence of an engagement ring, and inescapable conversations about what we must have at the wedding.

If you arrive at the wedding to find a glassine bag full of candied walnuts at your place, or a bowl of gold-leafed walnuts as a centerpiece, or a maple-walnut wedding cake, you’ll know why.

Be happy for us, celebrate with us, or allow me to provide your walnuts.