Posts Tagged ‘Marsh Madness’

I’m happy to report that none of the mishaps in Marsh Madness by Caroline Cousins happened at the weekend wedding celebration of my cousin Aly on Edisto Island. Aly and Hunter were married under the arching oaks at Cypress Trees Plantation, and the heavens cooperated with sunny skies and then a spectacular sunset over the marsh. A good tidal creek breeze kept the gnats and mosquitoes at bay, and also provided blessed relief from the 90-degree heat for the 175 family and friends dressed to the nines.  There was beach music for dancing, fabulous food — including shrimp and grits — for feasting, assorted adult beverages for toasting, and lemonade for the young ‘uns. The bride was beautiful in one-shoulder, draped white satin. Cousin Cayden, age 3, agreed that Aly looked like a princess but was sad that “her dress was broken.”  As she noted seriously, “Aly only has one sleeve. I have two.”

Ok, that’s the kind of stuff you can’t make up, so the three Caroline Cousins kept their eyes and ears open for more possible book material. Oh, my. There was the chicken salad crisis before the bridesmaids’ luncheon on Friday. The caterer (new) only made enough for a dozen instead of two dozen.  Mild panic ensued before we sent the maid of honor to Main’s Market, where the nice cooks had just whipped up a batch for lunch. We added some grapes, and voila, chicken salad served in martini glasses all around. We also were dismayed that the specially ordered pimiento cheese biscuits had been downsized from regular to mini. We’d have asked for more if we’d known they were going to look like quarters!

The pecan tarts baked by the bride’s grandfather were a hit, although there was a distinct whiff when Aunt Boodie first brought in the plastic containers. “I smell fish,” Cousin Meg sniffed. I wrinkled my nose. “Me, too.” Aunt Boodie said the containers were brand new but did admit that they had been in a freezer full of fish. Happily, the tarts were not affected, and we banished the noxious containers to the laundry room, where the cocker spaniel puppy slept through most of the proceedings.

After the luncheon, Cousin Meg, who had done all the prep and all the flowers, paraded puppy Tilly for admirers. Cousins Janelle and Erin made short work of the clean-up, and I dried and sorted the silver. I could only find seven of my mama’s salad forks (a Gorham pattern no longer available but similar to Old Master), and was getting worried until I unearthed a mangled fork from the silver chest, victim of a long-ago encounter with a disposal.

There’s lots more, but I don’t want to give away what may become a book, or at least a short story. Did I mention that the Baptist minister’s named Buster? And speaking of names, I will not reveal which bridesmaid ended up going “commando.” Nor will I identify the author of the back-handed compliment, “Why you don’t look like yourself at all. You look beautiful!” 

 My favorite sight, after the wedding itself, was watching flower girls Maggie and Peyton, pictured here with maid of honor Rachel, tearing up the dance floor. Not to be outdone, ringbearer Lance tried to slam dance with his mother to Michael Jackson’s “Beat It!” Cousin Jay (husband and father) just shook his head and cuddled the newest member of the family, 4-month-old Lucy Charlotte. 

I have yet to see wedding photos, but Cousin Rachel took this picture the day Hunter proposed to Aly at the old Sheldon church ruins. Obviously, she said “yes.”

Open Book: Caroline Cousins insists once again that she writes fiction.

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My cousin Aly is getting married Saturday on a plantation on Edisto Island, S.C. Aly is the daughter of Gail, my one-and-half times first cousin (our mamas are sisters and our daddies first cousins), and along with her sister Meg and me, make up the mystery-writing team of Caroline Cousins. We have written three cozy mysteries set on a South Carolina low country island we call Indigo, but which is a semi-disguised version of Edisto, where we spent summers as kids, where our parents retired, and where Meg and Gail eventually built houses next to each other on Sand Creek. I rent a beach house on Edisto in the fall/winter, or bunk in with my mom or the cousins for shorter visits.

I talked to Meg this morning, who wanted to know why I wasn’t there yet to help her green-in the wedding bouquets. Like Margaret Ann (Mam) in our books, she does wedding flowers. Unlike her one-half-times first cousin Lindsey in the books, I am not a free-lance writer and acting manager of Pinckney Plantation. And sister Gail, who is Bonnie in the books, is not an environmental lawyer. But she is a smart blonde. We have never found a dead body in an old plantation house, discovered a dying woman in the restroom at a reptile park, or tripped over skeletal remains in an overgrown cemetery. As we like to say, our books are all made up, except for the part that’s not. (Aunt Boodie’s name is really Boodie).

But I had to call Meg this morning. Because we have had the funny (as in funny-peculiar) experience of having had things we write about subsequently happen. We wrote about identity theft long before it made the cover of Newsweek. We invented a mobile meth lab before some rednecks borrowed the idea. And spookiest of all, we created a “ghost gator” out of thin air, and right when our book was published, the law came down on someone we knew about “rescuing” an albino alligator.

The mystery in our second book, Marsh Madness (2005), plays out against a plantation wedding. I called Meg because I wanted to make sure no bridesmaids have gone missing (although several have failed to RSVP for the elaborate luncheon we are having on Friday). We won’t have to worry about picking up jellyfish off the beach because the ceremony is not right on the ocean.

 “I hope we don’t have attacking seagulls,” Meg said, laughing. Probably not, because the bridesmaids are not carrying brandy snifters with goldfish in them (see bookjacket illustration). And she said she didn’t think she’d have to use kudzu for greenery in the flowers, but “you never know.”  The MOB — mother of the bride Gail — had gone to take flowers to the cake lady. “She doesn’t have hives, does she?” I asked. “Not yet,” Meg said. “I did tell you our caterer shut her business down till April. But she promises me she’ll have our chicken salad here at 9 a.m. Friday.”

Still, this wedding is not going to turn into marsh madness. Hurricane Lisa’s too far away.

People always want to know when we’re going to write another book. It’s been three years since Way Down Dead in Dixie, and we are still on hiatus. We three can’t seem to get on the same page what with weddings, graduations, grandbabies, funerals, sickness, work, vacations and family, family, family.  The latter give us our best material, though. Meg was just telling me that one of our aunts is real upset because she’s having to break in a new hairdresser. The woman who used to do her hair recently got sent to prison for murder.

Open Book: Obviously, this post is shameless self-promotion of Marsh Madness (John F. Blair). But you asked what was up with “the cousins.”

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