It wasn’t like I didn’t have enough time. Bleric Ack had mentioned to me, oh, four months earlier that they were thinking of replacing the traditional wedding guest book with a stack of postcards. The cool idea was that each guest would bring a postcard from where they were from, or from where they had met one of the grooms, and write their guest book message on the back. I loved this idea. I was excited about this idea. And every day for the next four months I had it in the back of my mind to buy a beautiful Burlington, VT postcard. Sadly, this idea did not move to the front of my mind until we were in the car on the way to the wedding.
“You didn’t get the postcard?!” my wife asked in shock as we pulled out of the Dunkin’ Donuts with enough sugar to keep my children excited for the entire 10-hour drive.
“It was on my to-do list every day this week!” I protested in vain, realizing that I was about to fail one of my most basic tasks of the weekend. Never mind that I had already managed to lose their wedding gift twice in the past 24 hours, at least that had been found. Once we were out of Vermont, there was little to no hope of finding a Vermont postcard.
The problem with Vermont is that there is nothing there. Now that we were already out of Burlington, it was really just us and the cows until we hit New York. But we held out hope that the mecca of commerce that is Fair Haven (it has a McDonald’s!) would provide what we needed before crossing the state line. But at the first gas station I was told that they did not sell post cards in their fairly large convenience store. But they were sure the gas station across the street did.
The gas station across the street did not. They used to sell them, but then the internet was invented and nobody cared about mailing things anymore. Why send a postcard from your trip when your Facebook feed has updates in real time? Srsly, old fogey, Y don’t U go 2 CVS r smthing. But CVS was not open yet. We had left so early, that the stores were still closed. So I went to the supermarket, where I discovered that they also had no postcards. Thwarted at every turn, I got back in the car and we headed toward the border.
My wife asked if I wanted to stop at the Vermont Welcome Center, just in case, so I said okay. Holding out little hope for a beautiful Burlington, VT postcard, I walked in and asked the man behind the counter if he had what I was looking for. I was willing to pay up to $1000 at that point. Well, he walked around back and said that he did indeed have one single postcard left, but he was out of Winter and Spring, so would I take an Autumn one? Oh, and it was just a picture of the Visitor Center itself. In fact, it was the lamest postcard ever created, but it was free, and it said Vermont in the lower right hand corner. I took it, and felt a simultaneous swell of triumph and defeat as I got back into the car and we continued on our way.
Before we drove off I considered trying to make my own postcard, so I took a picture of the coolest part of the welcome center (not featured on the official Autumn postcard, obviously), which was a sign post of various Vermont towns (including Burlington!). I didn’t know how I was going to make a postcard out of a picture on my phone with no resources, no time, and in an unfamiliar town, but anything had to be better than that other postcard. Why, oh why hadn’t I just picked one up in Burlington at any moment over the past four months?!
Worried that I wasn’t going to be able to make myself a new postcard very well, and lamenting the lameness of the welcome center one, I decided to look online to see if I could somehow overnight a Vermont postcard to myself, which seems the height of stupidity as a general plan, but I was desperate. And I know, I know that Bleric and Bat would not have cared that I didn’t have the correct postcard, and they would tell me not to worry about it and that it was not a big deal, but it mattered to me!
Well, we drove into New York and got onto the highway going south, which meant it was time for a bathroom break. And wouldn’t you know it, the rest area was figuratively flooded with postcards. All of them for New York. None of them for Vermont. But wait! There was one, one, that was just Lake Champlain, which belongs to both states, and it even had Burlington on it! Sure, it was slightly more NY-centric, but it was a postcard with Burlington, VT on it, and without the Fair Haven Welcome Center on it! I purchased it, still cursing myself for not buying an amazing one earlier.
I sat in the passenger seat as my wife drove down I-87, staring at the 2 postcards in my hand. Neither was the perfection that I had been looking for. I went onto Amazon again, and checked out the pack of Vermont postcards that were going to cost me $6 plus $12 overnight shipping, and decided that I might actually do it. I looked up the hotel’s address and I entered it in as the new shipping address. And then, a miracle! Apparently shipping a Vermont postcard overnight from Vermont to Vermont costs $12, but shipping a Vermont postcard overnight from Vermont to Maryland, only costs $3! Now that was a deal I could stomach. I ordered those postcards, and the next morning I picked them up from the front desk of our hotel, now the proud owner of three postcards!
I decided to give Bleric and Bat all three of them, since we had spent all of that time and money working on this project. My wife filled out the new, good, Vermont postcard, my mother filled out the New York postcard, since she lives in New York, and I filled out the horrible welcome center postcard with the story you have now finished reading, in condensed form. So the wedding was amazing, we had a great time, and none of it was spent guiltily worrying that we did not procure the correct guest book substitution. But note to self: next time, don’t be an idiot. It’s expensive and annoying.