I'm sitting in a tony Leawood bistro with a gaggle of four giggling gals.
It's a special girls night out — a bachelorette party with all the trimmings. The honored guest wears a veil with plastic bejeweled tiara on here head and a silver “Bride to Be” button, five inches in diameter. The ensemble screams, “Look at me! I’m getting married!”
It couldn’t be any tackier, or more perfect.
Our doting waitress delivers a round of champagne to our table, on the house. We coo our appreciation and raise a flute to the happy couple.
As we clink our glasses together, I can’t help but smile. This is a priceless, once-in-a-lifetime occasion. And, it’s going to make one heckuva column.
The bride-to-be, you see, is my mother. At age 77, she is marrying the second great love of her life. It is a joyful turn of events, the happiest of occasions.
Mom, my three younger sisters and I (all wearing hot pink “Bridesmaid” buttons) are a curiosity to other restaurant patrons. (Let’s be honest, we’re a freaking spectacle!) Nobody cares, especially the bride. She relishes the attention and having her four girls all to herself for one precious night.
After dinner, the plan is to sweep her off to the “cougar bar” — a place where the newly divorced and other singles in Johnson County get their martinis on. (It’s not exactly a Chippendale’s show but, hey, it’s as wild as we’re gonna get in Leawood.)
“Let the hilarity ensue!” I say to myself. “This story will write itself!”
To ensure the party provides enough material, I’ve stashed some naughty party favors in my purse. My insurance policy, if you will, for column fodder. I’ll spare you a detailed description of the items — it was traumatic enough just walking into the naughty party favor store — but I’m convinced the, er, novelty sipping straws will elicit several quotable one-liners.
I’m about to slip a straw into my mother’s cocktail, when my middle sister — the lawyer — passes me a piece of paper, face down.
“Before we go any further,” she says, soberly. “Your family would like you to sign this.”
I turned over the document. It read:
This Agreement is entered into by and between Catherine Marie Hamilton (hereinafter referred to as “Writer”) and (columnist’s note: actual names deleted on request) Mom, Sister #1, Sister #2 and Sister #3 (hereinafter referred to as “Family”) on this 19th day of March, 2011.
WHEREAS, Writer is known for her amusing, yet personally intrusive essays, many of which have been published in local and national media outlets; and
WHEREAS, Family has occasionally been included in such essays and is in some, but not all, cases, amused by said essays, the aforementioned Family requires the following of writer:
NOW THEREFORE, in consideration of Family’s unconditional love over the past 50+ years, as well as certain rights and privileges the Writer was afforded as eldest in the family, to wit certain priority seating in the station wagon on vacations, as well as other privileges accruing to the eldest child, Writer agrees to the following terms set out by Family:
• Writer will keep confidential any and all events occurring at the “bachelorette party” for Writer’s mother occurring the evening of March 19, 2011;
• Any and all pictures, video recordings, recollections or other memorabilia of said evening are not to be released for public viewing in any format. This includes articles, blogs, Facebook postings, tweets or any other form of publication.
• Writer will not use the events of March 19-20, 2011 as the basis of any real or fictional account of any real or fictional family.
The above terms are not intended to prevent or preclude Writer and Family from discussing the events of March 19-20, 2011 with immediate family members.
WHEREAS, the parties acknowledge that they have read and understood the above Agreement and voluntarily accept the terms set out herein.
“I’m being stifled before we get started,” I cry. “I object!”
“What happens in Leawood, stays in Leawood,” my sisters say, in chorus.
I slump down in my chair, stunned. I am not amused.
But, Mom sure is when I slip a novelty straw into her Scotch on the rocks!
I never signed the agreement. But, I will honor my family’s wishes and end the story right here.
Happy Wedding Day, Mom! I love you. And, as for you, Sisters 1, 2 and 3, I’ll see you in court.