While Chris and his aids worked on packing the sculptures at George’s Home, Matt returned briefly to eat his lunch. The crew had all brought their own lunches, which freed Matt for a few minutes. Rushed, he took only fifteen minutes to eat, then was back out the door. The women barely noticed his presence.
He rushed back to George’s. By the time he returned, they were nearly done. Fifty-two statues and sculptures were present and accounted for. It had been agreed that the storage area was fine. There were no leaks to allow water in where it could destroy the painting, and the environment was perfect. What sealed the deal was that the warehouse was seldom used and had very little traffic. It was the best possible spot.
Once crated and packed, they loaded the sculptures into a few trucks. They met the trucks at the warehouse, and unloaded them one at a time. Taking care, they tried to make sure they left enough room between the crates and the shelves. This would ensure that they could get the paintings in after they had also been packed properly.
By three, they had completely finished at both George’s and Max’s. All those paintings and sketch books were now in storage, properly packed so as to keep them from being damaged. Now, they returned to Matt’s. Those paintings would take such a short time.
He had bonded well with Chris while they worked. Egypt had found a keeper. He liked this one. Successful, humble and charming. A rarity in men.
But, then, teachers all seemed to be less likely to be full of themselves. At least that was his experience. It wasn’t that they were all laid back and weren’t conceited, but most were. Some of the top professors could be very condescending, but not many.
But, then, most of his kids were teachers. He knew that Chris fit right in. He smiled. It would be nice to have another teacher in the family.
The women were out on the town. Well, actually, they were in Darlene’s shop looking at possible chairs. Amanda wasn’t really keen on the traditional folding chairs. They were portable, that was true. But they were too easily broken or lost.
But the benches lacked comfort. Of course, they lacked style and portability as well. But the overstuffed chairs, there was elegance and style. She liked that.
She looked at Sam. “What do you think?”
He looked at her. “They’re perfect.”
She looked over at Darlene. “What about the overstuffed chairs? How would they work as seats for the wedding? Or, at the very least, for the reception?”
Darlene smiled. “Since there are going to be few children under, say, twelve, they will work rather well. Is that what you have decided on?”
Amanda looked at the rest of the group. They all nodded their agreement. Apparently, they liked the idea of comfort over portability. She looked back at Darlene. “Yes.”
Darlene nodded. “Is this an outdoor or indoor affair?”
Amanda looked around at the rest of the group. “What do you think Matt would like?”
Sam smiled. “Lemme call him. I’ll find out his input on this.” He dialed Matt’s cell number. “Yes. Matt? Sam. Which do you prefer, And outdoor ceremony? Or an indoor one? Outdoor? I see, as long as weather permits. OK.”
Amanda smiled. “Outdoor.”
Darlene nodded. “At the mansion? Or at a park?”
Amanda looked at the group again, but already knew the answer. “We will plan it at the mansion, but have a park as a backup just in case.”
Darlene wrote all in her notes. “We need to scout parks, then. Just in case.”
Amanda looked at the pictures. “What about Exposition Park Rose Garden? Will they allow a ceremony there?”
Darlene looked at her. “I will find out. If they will, would you be more willing to hold the ceremony there?”
Amanda nodded. “Yes. It has all the elegance and beauty I like for the ceremony. We can hold the reception at the mansion.”
Darlene nodded. “Then it is decided. And the chairs?”
For the ceremony, we’ll use the overstuffed chairs. For the reception, folding chairs. It’ll save on having to load up and pack or dividing what chairs we have.”
Darlene was writing. “Understood. I agree on this plan. I will order another one hundred or so overstuffed chairs. Or should I order more?”
I will talk that over with Matt. I don’t know how large his family is.”
Darlene smiled. “Alright. I can understand.”
Sam looked at Amanda. “Where to now?”
She smiled. “The mansion, I suppose.” She looked at him. “You wouldn’t happen to know how many are in your family, would you?”
He grimaced. “Oh, hell no. I remember hearing about the Venecheks, Mama’s Uncle Greg. He had two children. Then there were the Marshals, Aunt Alexia’s family. I haven’t a clue how many were there. And then there were the McCalls. That was Ekaterina’s brood. And again, I do not know the number in that family. Getting a hold of them may prove interesting. Mama stopped having anything to do with any of them after Selma. At least, that was the story I got. Maybe I am wrong.
“Whatever the reason, the family sort of drifted apart. Mama vanished into the commune and Uncle Greg went on to be a key player in the civil rights movement. You do know he was married to an African American woman, didn’t you?”
Amanda smiled and shook her head. “No, but I don’t know a whole lot about your family. Besides. Color and beliefs never bothered me. I was always into intellect and maturity myself.”
Sam smiled. “You would love Aunt Shasta, then. She was the bookish Aunt. Despite what mama always said, she was actually mama’s twin. She was also mama’s opposite. Mama was precocious. Aunt Shasta was quiet and observant. Both were highly intelligent, but mama–” He stopped.
Amanda realized that the memory was too painful and allowed him to leave it unfinished. She patted him on the back. “I think I understand.”