As Harvey Mackay was waking up to the entrance of The St. Alban’s Boathouse that cold rainy day in September, thirteen years ago today, he had no idea what was about to take place. Few people did.
“Great day, isn’t it
“No, John, it’ a miserable day. We’re supposed to be out on the lake.”
Mackay’s frustration with the weather was widespread. Labor Day on
On that particular day, I decided with the encouragement from Judy and Dick Corson to end my long engagement to my phenomenal fiancé and tie the knot. The event was going to be a surprise, a boat ride on our 60 foot classic canal boat, a few cocktails and appetizers prepared by the synchronized culinary crew at The Boathouse, and suddenly a barge, rented from Lake Minnetonka eccentric, Fred Brunchen would appear complete with food, bar, band and judge, ready to perform the vows.
Weather wasn’t the only problem to overcome. Days earlier, when Kranston heard me on the phone speaking to the judge she knew something was array. However, she had no idea of “surprise wedding”. The judge was to bring the marriage license to the ceremony, but couldn’t pull that one off. We had to appear at the county clerk’s office in order to sign the application. They wanted to make sure that Kranston was not being held against her will, being forced to appear before the judge and say “I do”. I of course was a bit hesitant to give her the out, which I thought she may take if offered the opportunity. Hell, I was in the restaurant business. Worse, she joined me on the journey.
The two of us were working 15 hour days, running three eateries and a catering boat on one of the most beautiful lakes in the country. But, we had little time to enjoy it. Cleaning bathrooms, perfecting menus, waiting on tables, developing appetizers, catering parties, selling chicken breast, suggesting food and wine pairings, along with painting, cutting grass and cleaning grease traps is a few steps from the romance that sparked our relationship in Manhattan, years before. Even when given her option, she decided to sick it out.
So on that memorable Sunday, the light of dawn resembled a boiled steak. No sun in sight. There wasn’t going to be any. It was time to muster the troops. A quick call to Judy Corson and Sharon Carisch and ever person who thought of attending a lash-up party was summoned to t Boathouse at 4:30 pm.
The entire kitchen crew was called in from both The Boathouse and Chez Foley to prepare a buffet with the Lobsters, and Beef Tenderloins, and
The florist arrived and instead of decorating a boat, they performed their magic inside the restaurant. The band showed up. And then the judge. And in between 250 people some dear friends, other acquaintances, and one couple who just came by for dinner and decided to stay, joined us on that remarkably memorable day.
Although I am biased, it was the best wedding I have ever attended. And I am sure that holds true for the guests who were astonished when I picked up the microphone and said, “I would like to welcome all of you. You probably are wondering what you are doing here. Well, you are actuality at our wedding. Kranston and I would like to welcome you.”
The moral to the story is simple: No matter what obstacles you encounter in the restaurant business, find a great partner, she’ll teach you to turn on a dime.
By the way,