Book Series: IRISH BLUE Author: Sheila Willar Copyright: 2021 Sheila Willar ISBN #: 978-0-9867101-4-8
Book Title: THE CHAPEL Chapter #: 11 - THE BEACH HOUSE
Maggy was busy re-planning her wedding, but was having trouble convincing her mother that the new venue was better than the old one.
“Peter’s business partner wants us to use his summer house,” announced Maggy.
“A cottage for a reception?” gasped Mrs. Clancy.
“It’s a beautiful place.”
“No one wants to wear a gown and high heels to a shanty.”
“You could wear your bathing suit,” teased Maggy.
“You mind your manners.”
“How about taking a visit with us? We’re going tomorrow for a look.”
“I don’t have the time. I’m too busy.”
“It’s no further than going across town in traffic.”
“It’s an hour’s drive.”
“That’s not far.”
“Yes it is.”
“No it’s not.”
“What about catering? No one wants to have sand in their food,” argued Mrs. Clancy.
“What food?” joked Maggy.
“That’s not funny.”
“It’s all arranged. Peter has a van and we’re driving out tomorrow. You can come if you want.”
Even though Maggy’s mother was against using the venue for the reception, she could not hide her excitement about a trip to the ocean.
“All right, I’ll go. But we're not using it for the wedding."
The next morning there was a whirl of activity as Maggy’s mother and aunts sorted out their wardrobes for the day. They couldn't decide if they should go casual or dress up for the occasion.
Erin and Kelly helped Peter load the van and soon they were out of the city and onto the highway. Peter and Maggy laughed to themselves as Mrs. Clancy went over her list of “must-haves”, which she was sure that an ocean cabin could not provide.
Peter knew the route by memory, and took a ramp onto a side road that quickly turned into a postcard village. There were artisan shops and dusty antique stores that had strings of sea shells and shark’s teeth necklaces hanging in the windows.
“It looks inviting,” whispered Maggy’s aunt.
Maggy’s mother rolled her eyes and bit her lip for Maggy’s sake.
Then Peter turned onto a narrow lane and stopped at an iron gate, which opened for them automatically and they proceeded through. As they drove down the sandy path, there was a row of grass growing in the middle that brushed the underside of the van, and it made a “whoosh” sound that unnerved Mrs. Clancy.
"Oh my," she shuddered uncomfortably.
With each winding turn Mrs. Clancy’s expectations lowered and she let everyone know it. However, as they came around the last bend, Maggy’s mother went silent.
Before them unfolded a beautiful home nestled amongst sand dunes and tall oat grasses. It was one an exquisite seashore retreat, set against a backdrop of an aquamarine horizon, and it took their breath away.
Peter parked alongside a row of cedar hedges and as he stepped out onto the crushed-stone driveway he took in a deep breath of salty ocean air. He looked to see if the others were coming but no one had gotten out of the van because they were too busy making themselves presentable.
Eventually the others emerged and huddled around Peter as he approached the front door. When he rang the bell the women stepped back to let him do all the talking. Peter shook his head. He was amused at how these fierce women, could become so timid so quickly.
“How do I look?” asked Maggy’s mother.
“Everyone’s fine!” Maggy admonished.
Maggy’s mother bristled.
When the door opened, a lovely woman appeared and graciously invited them inside.
“Welcome. How was your drive?” she asked. “I’m Mrs. Santini, Bill’s wife. Just call me May.” She escorted the group into the central living room, and they were amazed by how big it was and by the spectacular views of the ocean.
“Make yourselves comfortable while I go find Bill.”
They spread out and investigated the large walk-in fireplace, the shell encrusted lamp shades and the hand made glass dolphins that looked like they were swimming across the tables.
“Don’t break anything!” cautioned Maggy’s mother.
May and Bill returned and invited the group into the kitchen.
"The kitchen was designed for caterers," explained Bill. "The whole house is perfect for entertaining."
“The fire code says that we can only have one hundred and fifty people here at one time, but if the weather is fine we can put a tent outdoors and accommodate fifty more,” added May.
Peter wanted to say, “Of course we’ll have our wedding here!” but he had to wait for his mother-in-law’s approval.
“We couldn’t possibly have the wedding here,” stated Mrs. Clancy. “We couldn’t impose on you that way.”
“It’s no problem at all,” replied Bill. “We host big events all the time.”
“We had a fabulous wedding here last summer,” said May. “The groom was an old sea captain and the bride was my mother. She insisted on throwing her bouquet from the top of the lighthouse, and the grand-kids chased flower petals like bubbles in the wind.”
Bill could see that Maggy’s mother was not convinced.
“Why don’t we go for a sail?” suggested Bill. “Follow me. The boat’s ready and we can have lunch onboard.”
Maggy and Peter walked hand in hand along the grey, wooden walkway that meandered around the dunes, while Erin and Kelly raced each other down to the Atlantic where they ran like galloping horses into the surf.
The aunts huddled together and held their skirts tight in order to keep them from rising with the wind. At the dock, Peter help his in-law’s make the step from the dock onto the rising deck.
“One step across and don’t look down,” he advised. Even though the ladies had grown up among boats they welcomed a steady arm.
When everyone was seated in the shade of the canopy, May set out the lunch, and little by little, a gentle breeze and a hint of laughter, began to soften the sense of apprehension amongst the new guests.
By the time the whipped cream, scones and fresh strawberries were served, the visitors had become less defensive and more trusting. Maggy’s mother even made jokes and wondered if they should put flowers on the dock for the wedding.
After lunch May handed out life-jackets and insisted that everyone put one on.
“Captains don’t wear floats,” Bill complained as he snapped his together.
Bill and May were experienced sailors but they set the rigging to catch just a wisp of wind, because they didn’t want the guests to feel uncomfortable.
Maggy leaned against Peter and looked back at the beach house that had grown smaller in the distance. She turned to face him and said, “Well? What do you think?”
“I love it here. I always have.”
“Mother!” Maggy called, but her mother did not answer. “Finola!” repeated Maggy, trying to get her mother’s attention.
Maggy’s mother was enjoying herself so much that she was lost in a daydream. The wind and the open ocean had made her feel like a kid again. The thought of returning to this place to celebrate Maggy’s wedding was like the frosting on an already beautiful cake.
“Let’s do it!” beamed Finola. “But the service has to be in a church.”
“OK” agreed Maggy and they toasted the good news.
Finola wondered if she had made the right decision so she made the sign of the cross over her heart just to make sure.
“We could bring some of the Irish Blue flowers here,” suggested Erin.
“If we have enough,” joked Kelly.
“Land ho!” shouted Bill as he brought the bow round the point and tacked his way back to shore. “Land ho!” echoed his crew as they vowed to make Peter and Maggy’s wedding a time to remember.