There is more to do in Whiting this season than shovel snow, trust me.
For example, you can make an appointment for a therapeutic massage with the new owner of InSPArations. The former owner has retired and now the velvet-handed gauntlet has been handed down to Melania Sultan.
I was Melania's teacher at St. Mary School in East Chicago back in 1990. About four years ago, she contacted me and I got a chance to visit with her and find out all the exciting things that had happened to her since she was 14. I even got a nice massage out of the visit.
I also had the privilege of attending her wedding. It was an outdoors Halloween wedding on probably one of the coldest Halloween nights ever. We were all asked to come in costume.
I don't remember if I did, but my husband went as a giant sea otter. Now this wasn't a crummy homemade outfit, but a beautiful professional mascot costume complete with fins and a giant head. When I first laid my paws on this magnificent furry costume, it was 90 degrees in August so we didn't actually try the whole thing on.
Considering there aren't many occasions that call for one to appear as a sea otter, this wedding was the perfect opportunity. While I sat in the candlelit backyard freezing to death, there sat Chuck, snug as could be.
Before the wedding, my teeth chattered as we chatted. When you're talking to someone inside a tremendously large and precarious fuzzy head, their voice sounds strangely far away, like an echo.
It's kind of cool. The children at the wedding loved him, even when he took his headpiece off at the reception. Naturally, every kid there had to try it on.
I do love a good wedding experience. There was the time I was nine months pregnant with my friend's wedding scheduled on my due date. I remember the bride, on her way down the aisle in her beautiful dress, actually stopped at my pew to say, "Gayle, just hold on. This won't take that long."
My most embarrassing moment at a wedding reception came when a dear old friend of mine was standing with his back to me at the punch bowl. Just feeling frisky and for laughs, I gave him a little knowing pat on his derriere.
He turned around. It was not my old friend. Unfortunately, it was somebody that I did know who probably was as surprised to see me standing there as I was to see his face. This was a moment I wished I could have disappeared, perhaps in a sea otter outfit.
I've been to a wedding with baton twirlers, one with messages spray-painted on the groom's shoes so you could only read it when he knelt down at the altar, a wedding for two snakes (the groom wore a tiny top hat) and one in a park where the bride went barefoot. These are some of my favorite treasured wedding memories.
You "otter" know that for me, each was very special.