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Sunday, June 24, 2012

All Aces

My ten week tale of tennis splatting ends on a happy note:  I won last night by a score of 6-0, 6-2 at Annandale Sport and Health.

(A side note about the venue: It is, in architectural terms, a dump. The courts were old, the lighting dim, and the air stifling. You can get away with this setup at a dive bar, where a juke box and abundant cheap beer offset these conditions. But on the courts of Annandale, we found neither beer nor music, unless you count the hideous, nasal moan coming from an overhead vent, which had given up moving air so it could dedicate itself full-time to producing noise.)  

My mother knew the courts were hot, so she asked, “Do you want a towel? In case you need one to throw in?" 

But getting back to the match coverage: The numbers are doing some very good PR work here because they make the victory sound more decisive than it was; however, it’s fair to say that my game was better than my opponent’s in some key areas, such as court coverage.  On the spectrum of mobility, she was less agile than Baryshnikov but more nimble than the Lincoln Memorial. 

My first and only ace of the season occurred not because I used my racquet as a missile launcher but because it was one of few times I didn’t deliver my serve right to my opponent like an FTD bouquet.  (After the match I didn’t pat her on the back, lest I risk getting an overt invitation to embark on a very distasteful diet.) This splat ended so well that I’m going to play again in the fall.

My afternoon today promises to be splat-tastic as well. Several friends and I bought vouchers through LivingSocial for a limo tour to a Virginia vineyard.  At the time of purchase I didn’t get bogged down in the fine print to see which wineries were available.  I let my friends do that. The limo company offered limited choices, and on the date we selected, Breaux Vineyards was the only option.  Breaux is a gorgeous winery in Purcellville that evokes the Tuscan countryside. And it may also give off a slight stink of marital failure because it was the site of my wedding.

At first I had mixed feelings about going back to Breaux, but the truth is I’ve confronted the implosion of the marriage already.  We failed, and that does generate some sadness; however, the memories of my wedding day bring me undiluted joy.  I suspect they always will.

I think I'll always remember that the weather was impossibly and improbably beautiful--bright sun and cloudless skies after five days of rain. 

That the ceremony I wrote, performed by a very dear friend as the sun set behind the mountains, reflected principles I truly believed --and still believe --about commitment for life.   

That I was embraced and supported by the people who love me most.  

That my brother and sisters delivered a toast that consisted of the most beautiful words ever likely to be spoken about me (and, hilariously, referred to the groom only once),  and that their speech made me well up with gratitude, laughter and tears.

That my parents, with their characteristic selflessless and bottomless love for their children, gave me not just a beautiful celebration but all of their hope that my future might be as happy as that one day, and that they danced with each other, my siblings, their siblings, and my niece and nephews.   

And that every one of the 85 faces I saw smiled at me.

I know today my our group will laugh and be happy, too, even if the trip is a little bit loaded with meaning.  My friends are prepared to purge any demons using a substance of questionable lineage that goes by the name “unholy water.” 

This proves that your good friends give you a hug, but your really good friends give you an exorcism.

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