Shannon Stacey

Dad, Doritos and my Diet of Doom

Today’s my dad’s birthday. He would have been 56. I composed a beautiful, maudlin post honoring my father, shed a few tears, and then I deleted it. Who the hell likes maudlin? Not me, not you, and he sure didn’t.

So instead, here’s the true story of how Dad, Doritos and dieting almost ruined not only my wedding day, but the damn honeymoon, too.

So the husband’s a big train buff and we’re both pretty low-maintenance people, so we were married in a beautifully restored freight house. Yes, that glossy red background in the pictures below is, in fact, a little red caboose (chug chug chug). We did our own food (okay, my stepmother did our own food) and hired a DJ. Pretty stress-free wedding planning. Then, two weeks before the big day, my dad had a heart attack.

Holy chaos, Batman.

Once the initial panic wore off, we came up with a Plan B: if necessary we’d drag my mom and the husband’s mom to the hospital, get married, then head to the freight house for a reenactment. Plan C: same situation, but at Dad’s house. Luckily his doctor cleared him for Plan A, as long as he took it easy. All’s well, right? Not so much.

I’m a stress eater.

(I have no idea what we were talking about in this picture, but it cracks me up.)

Anyway, one week before the wedding, I tried on the gown. Serious no-go with the zipper. And we’re not talking a little gap at the top. We’re talking wouldn’t even start. Panic! The husband-to-be, always willing to part with almost any amount of money to get me to shut up, wanted to go buy a new dress. But that was my dress—my stepmother wore it to marry my dad. It was my The King & I dress, with the big puffy skirt (that didn’t fit in the freight house’s beautifully restored water closet) and all the sequins. Sequins!

So began The Diet. For seven days nothing passed my lips but water flavored with lemon juice. That was it. Not even coffee. (Seriously!)

The morning of the wedding my stepmother finally found a seamstress who could give me like an 1/8th to a 1/4 of an inch in each of the bodice seams, but it would be tight time-wise and I should probably try not to sneeze. We decided I’d try the dress one last time before committing to cutting it apart hours before the ceremony. It zipped! I couldn’t take a full deep breath but, by God, I’d dance in my puffy dress and sequins. I just wouldn’t dance a lot.

Another crisis averted, right?

The next morning my shiny new husband and I set off in the truck for Gettysburg to kick off our honeymoon tour of Civil War battlefields. But first we stopped at Pauli’s for a celebratory breakfast. They serve the best, big home-cooked breakfasts in New Hampshire, and the newly minted Mrs. Stacey had some lost eating time to make up for. A big sausage, bacon and cheese omelet. A mountain of homefries. Buttery toast. Lots and lots of coffee.

And…a nine hour drive.

I don’t think we were even on the highway before I realized throwing a ginormous breakfast at a week-long empty stomach wasn’t the best idea I’d ever had. We’ve since gone on road trips to Missouri and to Florida, but I don’t think I’ve ever suffered a longer drive than that day it took to get to Gettysburg.

6 comments to “Dad, Doritos and my Diet of Doom”

  1. Jaci Burton
      · April 16th, 2008 at 8:46 am · Link

    ((((((((( Shan )))))))

    And omg….only water? You dork.

    Nice dress. Really cute pics.


  2. kate r
      · April 16th, 2008 at 10:05 am · Link

    what Jaci said. Ah, some fine honeymoon memories, too.

    But where were the Doritoes?

  3. Shannon
      · April 16th, 2008 at 10:31 am · Link

    During the week between Dad’s heart attack and the trying on of the dress, I plowed through enough Doritos to feed several small nations. Among other foods, none of them nutritious, all of them temporarily comforting.

    And I just want to point out in the third picture, there’s a big white glare spot on the side of the caboose. While the headpiece my mother lovingly and generously made for me was poofy, it wasn’t THAT big.

    It also had a vee made of braided pearl strands that came over my forehead, but every time somebody hugged me, they’d yank on the white netty stuff until that vee was like a headband. Reefing down on it a gazillion times over the evening did wonders for my hair.

    And I’d put my fake nails on with my husband’s model railroading glue and they started popping off before the first dance.

    AND…my stepmother made the most beautiful cake for us (yes, she’s VERY handy to have around—she also bought all the champagne because I wasn’t old enough) and she used real ribbon. Trying to cut the cake was like being punked.

    I loved our wedding. There was a LOT of laughter.

  4. Karen Templeton
      · April 16th, 2008 at 4:08 pm · Link

    LOOK at you in your pretty white dress. King and I, indeed. Didja do the “Can We Dance?” number at your wedding, too? :tomato: :lol:

    Your dad looks like a sweetheart. Sounds as though you’ve got lots of lovely memories, there. My dad missed my wedding by about five years, unfortunately (he was around the same age as yours when he died, actually). I always wonder what the man who only had one daughter would have thought of his five grandsons! :crazy:

  5. Shannon
      · April 16th, 2008 at 4:26 pm · Link

    Actually…I DID provide the King & I soundtrack to the DJ my very own self so he could play “Shall We Dance?” and I intended to dance with my mother, who shared the love of the movie, but he never played it and I didn’t think of it until it was too late. Dammit.

    But there WAS fun music stuff:

    1. My stepmother doing some kind of shake-shake-shake-senora butt-twitching dance while her dad was zooming in with the video camera. I need to find somebody who can covert my VHS tape to DVD.

    2. After the obligatory formal dances were over, the DJ said “Okay, let’s get this party STARTED!” and played….

    wait for it…

    “It must have been love, but it’s over now”


    I will say it was hard scanning these pictures, not because they were of Papa and I, but because I know my two sisters won’t have this day with him. While there are several men in the family who would be honored to stand in for him, it won’t be the same.

    And my dad, who had three daughters, got a big kick out of having two grandsons, so yours would have, too. :hug:

  6. Charlene
      · April 16th, 2008 at 4:35 pm · Link

    Dude. I don’t know if I could’ve done a week of lemon water for all the sequins in the world. But you got to wear your puffy dress, and from the look on your face, it was worth it.

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