Tales From Huntington Lake, Part I

Aha! Fooled you! You expected another Tale From St. Joe! Or, you have no idea what I’m talking about because you only read this blog sporadically, or this is your first time. Whatever the case may be: This is a tale from a different wedding.

The front page of the wedding invitation - a rendition of Lyal and Katie saying, "Come! Join us! And check out the bling! And Lyal's coonskin hat!"

I have not yet blogged about my dear friend Katie’s wedding, a really and truly wonderful multi-day affair up in the Sierra Nevada mountains last summer. Katie was my first friend – our moms met when were infants, strolling us around and themselves becoming friends in the process. Katie and her brother Scott have long been more family than friends, so much so that my sister changed the spelling of her own name when she was little (from Katie to Katy) to avoid confusion with her best friend.

They were married on the shores of Huntington Lake, about 65 miles up the mountains from Fresno. Katie’s family has been spending parts of their summers at Huntington Lake for over 40 years, many of her friends have camped there with them over the years, and it only made sense for her and Lyal to get married there.

Katie & Lyal out on the point, newly bejoined in unholy matrimony

There’s a whole lot to say about the wedding, especially as both my sister and I were involved – Katy made both the wedding dress and the groom’s shirt (as well as her own Maid of Honor dress – much more on all that soon), and I played guitar during the ceremony – but I’m going to start with perhaps my favorite part: Lyal’s drawings.

Lyal, who used to babysit Scott when he was little and has been with Katie since high school, is (a) a fantastic guy and (b) a fantastic artist. He’s currently going to art school in San Francisco, and used to work at the De Young and would fill up the door of his fridge with sketches of the people who frequented the museum. I love his drawings, and they were used to great effect for the wedding.

He drew the invitations (posted above), as well as the thank you cards:



(The little black cat, by the way, is Banshee, Katie and Lyal’s psychotic but adorable kitty who lives with them in Oakland and was one of the cutest little kitties you ever done saw. )

Lyal also drew all sorts of different animals for the dinner, and they put one animal card on each table. Each guest, when entering the reception hall for dinner, found out which table they were seated at by checking which animal they were assigned to. The head table, which I had the lovely fortune of being seated at, was a seal – which I tragically was not able to get my hands on to scan.*

*Perhaps even MORE tragic was what happened a few days after Jessica and I got home. Towards the end of dinner, it was announced that one person at each table would be able to take home the centerpiece, which were various types of beautiful, native Sierra plants. The winner of each plant had some sort of indicator (I can’t exactly remember but it was along the lines of a sticker under the wine glass or the chair or something). As it happened, Jessica was the winner at our table, and here we are posing with the lovely plant and the seal drawing:

We all look our very best do we not

So where’s the tragedy, you ask? Well, first of all, Jessica was really excited to win the plant. No – she was ecstatic. Jessica, if you don’t know, is a professional at getting excited, and she took it to new levels when she won, claiming that she’d never won anything in her life despite the fact that she won my love and affection forever and ever. Anyway, a few days after we got home, the unthinkable happened: someone STOLE THE PLANT FROM OUR FRONT YARD. Stole. A plant. With the seal drawing. From our home. In cold blood.

Who steals a plant? Did they plan on reselling it at an underground plant convention? Did they do it to feed a starving child? Was it a child who knew no better? Was it a miscreant? A hoodlum looking to get his kicks by devastating a local resident? An angry carnivore, out to get revenge on the plants he so despises? Whatever the case was, it threw Jessica into a deep funk. She had just moved in with me and now was beginning to think we lived in the worst neighborhood around, populated by hate-filled plant-thieves. She never got to put the plant in the ground, nurse it to fruition, and savor her victory. And the worst part is: They never caught the thief. He’s still out there. If you’re reading, know this: Jessica will not rest until that plant is returned to her.

You have been warned.

Though this was long before we got engaged, seeing all of Lyal’s beautiful handiwork was very inspiring. Jessica and I have a ton of artistic friends and are both excited to have them contribute to things like save-the-dates, invitations, place setting, and so on. I have already asked my friend Andrew, a master cartoonist and artist, and Drew, a fabulous graphic designer, to collaborate on something – perhaps cartoons of me and Jessica for the invitations, for example. It’s all so exciting, and yet we’re over a year away.

I’ll leave with with the animal place settings – just looking at them makes me happy.


5 responses to “Tales From Huntington Lake, Part I

  1. I actually lol’d at the horror of the plant being stolen. But the laughing was mostly from the combination of Jessica’s beautiful excited face holding her prize plant, and the knowledge that she won’t rest until the thief is caught, haha. Good stuff. Seriously though, who would take a plant? Katie and Lyal’s wedding sounds magical! Love the drawings!

  2. Stole a plant? I hear of all kinds of backwards ass stuff in Baltimore, but never plant thieving?! What has the world come to. Seriously.

    I’m so very sorry Jessica lost the plant she won. At least she still has your love- and no hoodlum or miscreant shall take that away!

    p.s. Love the illustrations! Lyal is very talented.

    p.p.s. Changing banners are just too cool for school! Love it!

  3. Thanks for memorializing Lyal’s wedding artwork (and our wedding) on your blog! Feel free to hit him up for artwork for your wedding…what about laminated wedding placemats? Just kidding. And me too — I can source a whole lotta farm fresh food for dinner…

  4. Laminated wedding placements could be amazing, hahaha! Thanks for sharing your beautiful wedding with us!

  5. Yeah cool thanks!
    I don’t think we ended up using that last duck-looking creature. A studio outtake, a wedding b-side.
    Sorry to hear about the plant. When I was a boy my little brother’s white Halloween pumpkin was stolen off our front porch, only a day after we’d purchased it from Safeway. I know that in such cases what really hurts is not so much the loss of the object itself as the loss of a sense of a trust in the community. Hey was it Jessica who won the opium poppy plant?

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