Rizzo’s Getting Married?

Me with Rizzo at her 60th birthday bash.

Salem and I just spent two days at my mom’s place in the Virginia mountains. Mom lives in the small, rural community that is the model for Jericho. To give you an idea of how small this place is, there is only ONE spot in the entire county where you can get cell phone service…sort of. And that’s in the Methodist Church parking lot, at the SECOND picnic table (I tried them all)—and then you only get about TWO bars if you hold your mouth exactly right, and haven’t blasphemed against the Holy Spirit for at least 72 hours.

But I digress.

Saturday afternoon, I had to hit the picnic shelter at the little Methodist Church on the Great Big Rock—because, like a nimrod, I forgot to pack the amazon.com gift card we all chipped in on for my sister-in-law’s birthday. My mother would have scowled a lot longer about this oversight had not we arrived with a trunk-full of food (including a secret stash of lemon bars that Salem procured for mom’s private enjoyment). I had no way to print the gift card out—my mother has no Internet, no computer, and not the slightest desire to acquire either. [She only JUST got a cell phone…under duress…and she cannot figure out how to turn its ringer on. So you can call her on it, but it never rings—which means she never answers it. Strangely, the whole “don’t call us, we’ll call you” mantra totally works for her.]

So I sat there, in the blazing afternoon heat, watching dust from the graveled county road drift by in clouds, as I waited for my iPhone to reconnect to the cosmos. When it finally did, I got that telltale email alert, and I watched all the little inbox flags scroll by. One in particular caught my eye, so I took a minute to read it.

My best friend—the woman who is the prototype for Rizzo in “Falling from Grace”—was writing to tell me that she’s getting married.

Married? Rizzo? Really???

I’ve known Rizzo for 25 years. “Married” just didn’t seem like a term in her lexicon. I looked around. Was there some new world order?

Well. Maybe.

I mean…there I was, sitting in a church parking lot in the Virginia mountains, hoping there was enough dust rolling by to prevent Jesus from seeing my ass. AND it was 102 degrees—which has happened, like, TWICE in this place since the Pleistocene. AND I had just spent the afternoon up in the woods behind the barn shooting handguns at paper targets with my two brothers. [ n.b. Who knew that Salem West was a crack shot and laureate of some NRA course? Note to self: do NOT piss this woman off during deer season….]

So maybe the idea of Rizzo finally finding the right man to settle down with wasn’t all THAT strange?

Nah. It still pretty much blew my socks off.

The world is just topsy-turvey these days. It’s like that Yeats poem: “Things fall apart. The center cannot hold.” But sometimes, things fall apart and make better patterns. Climate change might suck for the higher elevations, but Rizzo getting hitched might just ignite some new kind of eternal Spring.

That’s what I think, anyway.

But then, I’m the one at picnic table number two, hiding from Jesus…. Draw your own conclusions.

Permanent link to this article: http://annmcman.com/rizzos-getting-married/


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    • Terri on July 12, 2012 at 7:27 am
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    This is wonderful. Waited until the calm cool morning to read it. Early before the little boys got up. (my Kyle and his friend Caleb spent the night last night.) Both are 7 years old and it was Caleb’s first over night without his sister or at his grandparents.

    I have known about Ann McMan for a while now but have not read the “infamous” book. I may ask your mother for a copy so I can take it to the farm next week as I steal away for some regrouping of my spirit and time to reconnect with the person I am that no one sees in this crazy life God has called me to and I have sometimes not so gracefully accepted.

    I know the second picnic table well. It is the one where my butt prints are established during days when there isn’t much inspiration for the words of wisdom I am suppose to be sharing on a Sunday morning. It is also the place where tears roll when another one bites the dust because he can’t understand or put up with that crazy life of mine and needs someone who has more time or doesn’t get called out in the middle of a romantic moment. Go figure.

    So… I say way to go Rizzo!

    Thank you for the kind words about Sunday. I truely love my life even when I am bitching and moaning about the times it doesn’t go as I would like. I am humbled to the depth of my being that God trusts me enough to lead a congregation. And I truly understand the times that I need to be reminded – not always so gently of whose I am and whom I serve.

    You are one special lady and I lift you up in my prayers as each day you too am amazed at God’s grace even when it isn’t as planned.


    1. And I thought I made a CLEAN getaway…. Nope. Busted by the preacher! Who knew that picnic table number two had such a storied past? What’s that old expression about the one who sees in secret rewarding us openly?

      I guess there wasn’t as much dust blowing around that day as I thought….

  1. Sounds like a perfectly Lovely afternoon. And nothing says festivity better than handguns and Lemon bars. Salem, NRA…who knew??

    1. It’s always the quiet ones, Barrett. But she damn near blew the target off the tree.

    • Rizzo on July 10, 2012 at 11:41 am
    • Reply

    Like Ms. O’Connor was fond of sayin’, “A good man is hard to find.”

    My response?

    When you’re lucky enough to find him, sign a freakin’ contract!

    — Rizzo

    1. So true. Here’s hoping that your good man ain’t packin’ a sample bag full of purloined artificial limbs….

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