The following week was very busy, because we were getting ready to leave on our trip to Pittsburgh. Brandon and Trey checked with each of the boys to make sure they’d packed everything, and then after we got home from work on Friday we loaded the suitcases into the SUV. This way we’d only have to get everyone dressed before we were ready to leave in the morning.
After we finished dinner later that evening, I packed everything Flash and Dobby would need before I put them in their carrier and took it out to the car so I could take them to my nurse’s house. I’d guilt tripped her into watching them while we were gone, seeing she’d been at least partially responsible for me adopting them in the first place. The younger boys wanted to say goodbye to the puppies before I did that, so I allowed them to spend some time with Dobby and Flash while I was carrying the box with their food, dishes, toys, and pads out to the SUV.
“Damn, this is like having a baby and lugging around a diaper bag and car seat whenever you go anywhere,” I scoffed to Brandon when I went back inside the house.
“Well, they are our babies too,” he countered.
After I returned from dropping the puppies off, we had the boys get ready for bed, but I asked Revin to stay behind so we could chat. “I heard about what happened the day when your mom got out of work early and came to the house to pick you up.”
“Yeah, I wasn’t very happy about that when it happened.”
“She didn’t do it on purpose and didn’t know you boys would be naked.”
“Yeah, I know, but it was still embarrassing. Tristan, Wyatt, Hayden, and Hunter thought so too, but Benny and Joshie didn’t seem to mind as much.”
“Yes, they’re a little older and they’ve had plenty of others see them naked before, but I wanted to make sure that you’re ok about what happened.”
“Yeah, I talked it over with my mom after we got home. She told me she was sorry for catching me like that, but she said I shouldn’t be so upset cuz she’d seen everything before.”
“So are you ok with that?”
“Yeah, I just told her not to do it again.”
Now that I’d had this discussion with him, I sent him upstairs to join the others and then I went up a few minutes later to read the next chapter of Fudge-a-Mania to them. When I finished the chapter, we said goodnight and made our rounds to do the same thing with the others. When we returned to our bedroom, I packed the book in Brandon’s and my suitcase and carried it outside to put in the SUV with the others. Once that had been taken care of, we turned in for the night.
We woke everyone up and had them get dressed at 5:00 the next morning, and then we drove to the high school to board the buses. Dad had arranged for the bus drivers to pick us up there, and he’d secured permission from the school superintendent for everyone riding on the buses to leave their cars there overnight. He chose this location because the parking areas were monitored by security cameras and the police made random drive-bys through the area to prevent vandalism and break-ins.
He had chartered two buses, because all of the family members living east of us had agreed to meet there and then ride on the buses to get to Pittsburgh. Most of them had arranged to stay overnight locally, either with us or one of the others living in the area, and then we all met up to ride on the buses together. After loading our suitcases in the luggage compartments, we climbed aboard and got comfortable for the long trip. We knew most people would sleep at least part of the way, because we’d all gotten up very early to do this.
About three-quarters of the way to our destination, the buses pulled off the highway and stopped so we could have breakfast. Dad had done some research online prior to leaving and found a restaurant along our route. He then contacted the manager to make sure they’d be able to handle all of us, and now we filed inside, ordered, and ate a hot meal that we were now able to enjoy.
When we finished up at the restaurant, we got back on the buses and rode the rest of the way to Pittsburgh. We arrived at the hotel a little after 11:00, so we had plenty of time to register, freshen up, and change before the 2:00 wedding ceremony.
After checking in, we went up to our rooms, and then I went around and made sure everyone was in the correct room. Pat had reserved two floors of the hotel for the attendees to stay in, and we’d asked for four rooms with two double beds each. Dad and Pop were sharing a room with Dion and Trey, and Brandon and I were sharing a room with Elliot and Noah.
I’d originally planned to put Noah and Ryan together, but as soon as we learned that Ian would be unable to join us, we switched Noah so he’d be sharing a bed with Elliot instead. It also kept Ryan and Noah apart, so Ryan had a bed entirely to himself, although he was sharing the room with Benny and Joshie. Our room had a connecting door with the younger boys’ room, and Tristan and Revin were sharing one bed, while Wyatt, Hayden, and Hunter would be in the other. Aunt Sally had graciously offered to let Holly share a room with her, and it was a good thing too, seeing we didn’t have any other options other than getting Holly her own room.
Brandon and I freshened up quickly and changed into our suits, and then we went next door and helped the younger boys get ready. After tying each of their ties, combing their hair, and making sure they all looked good, I went to see if the others were ready as well. I was pleased to see that Dion and Trey had helped Ryan, Benny, and Joshie with their ties, and then I went to see if Holly was ready. Aunt Sally answered the door when I knocked, and she let me inside to see Holly.
“Wow, you look incredible,” I told her. “And the necklace goes very nicely with your dress.” It was powder blue and the silver necklace showed very nicely above the neckline.
“Thank you,” she responded, and then I told them we were all going to head down to the bus for the ride to the church.
When we arrived there, we were ushered to our seats and then we waited for the ceremony to begin. Pat had asked some of us to stand up with him, but since we lived so far apart we encourage him to ask his friends and co-workers instead. We would’ve had a tough time arranging for and attending a bachelor party, as well as being there for the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner, so we felt this would be best. We did, however, promise Pat we would be there for him on this very special day.
When the ceremony was about to begin, Pat, his best man, and the ushers took their places in front of the altar, and I have to admit that Pat looked very handsome in his tux. Once they were in position, the bridesmaids made their way from the rear of the church and down the broad, center aisle to join them. When the beginning chords of the Wedding March started to fill the air, we all turned to watched Tori as she made her way to the front of the church on the arm of her father. She was wearing a lovely white wedding gown, and she looked radiant. As soon as her father announced that he was the one giving her hand in marriage, the minister proceeded with the wedding service.
It was a lovely ceremony as they exchanged vows, placed wedding bands on each other’s finger, and engaged in their first kiss as a married couple. Everyone clapped as they made their way back down the aisle before forming the greeting line, and then the rest of us filed out of the pews to congratulate them.
As soon as we’d shared our best wishes for them, we went outside and waited on the sidewalk for the bridal party to finish greeting the others and taking the wedding photos in the church. While that was happening, a few of their friends were going around and passing out small bottles of bubbles so we could blow them at the happy couple as they were leaving the church and heading to the limo. This was something that many wedding parties were doing now, instead of throwing rice.
When Pat and Tori finally emerged from the sanctuary, everyone started blowing bubbles at them as they passed by on their way to the limo. Once they were inside, it took off for the reception hall and the rest of us followed behind. Those of us riding the buses quickly hopped aboard and took our seats again so the bus drivers could take us to the reception hall. As soon as we arrived there, we went inside and looked for the place cards with our names on them so we’d know which tables we’d been assigned to.
As soon as each of the guests had arrived and taken their seats, the DJ announced the wedding party as they made their way into the hall and walked to the head table. Once they were situated, the DJ introduced Mr. and Mrs. Pat Currie for the first time. As soon as they had joined the others, the best man stood up and told everyone to fill a glass for the toast. There were small bottles of champagne on each table, as well as bottles of a sparkling grape juice alternative, so we filled our glasses and waited. Once everyone had a drink, the best man raised his glass, and offered a toast.
“To Pat and Tori, may your days together be numerous and joyful, your nights filled with lust and pleasure, and may your marriage last forever.”
There was some slight giggling after his mention of the nights, but it was a very nice toast to this special couple. We all said ‘cheers’ and then took a sip of our beverage.
Pat and Tori hadn’t wanted to spend a lot of money and have a sit-down meal, seeing there were so many of us in attendance, so they chose to have a buffet style meal instead. After they and the wedding party had filled their plates, the various tables were directed to follow suit. There were identical buffet stations on either side of the hall, so the process went fairly quickly, and Dion, Trey, Brandon, and I helped the younger boys as we went along.
As soon as we’d all eaten and the dishes had been removed from the tables, the DJ made an announcement. The first dance was for the bride and her father, so they made their way to the dance floor for this special event. When that song ended, Pat danced with Tori’s mother while Tori danced with Dad. Once those dances had ended, we were all encouraged to get up and join in.
Tori had obviously warned her family that there were multiple gay couples in our family, and she and Pat had apparently told their friends as well. Therefore, there was no big commotion when some of us got up to dance. A couple of songs later, the DJ announced they would now have the ‘Dollar Dance’. This was where the men paid a dollar to dance with the bride, and the women did the same to dance with the groom, although some of the gay men also stood in that line as well. It appeared that at least half of the guests were handing the person collecting the money more than a dollar, so considering the number of people in attendance they were making quite a haul. We even gave the boys some money so they could do this too, although a few of them were too shy to give it a try.
At one point, Pat came over to our table and urged me to go up to the DJ’s table, and after he played a couple more songs, the DJ made an announcement. “I understand that today isn’t only special because Pat and Tori are now husband and wife. Pat’s dad is also celebrating a special event.”
He then cued up the song Today is Your Birthday before announcing, “Happy sixty-eighth birthday, Josh Currie.”
After everyone clapped and cheered for him, they encouraged Dad to stand in recognition as the DJ spoke again. “Another of his sons, Daniel Currie, has a special presentation to share in recognition of his special day.”
He then turned the mic over to me and I began to speak. “My sons and a couple of my nephews wanted to do something special for their grandfather’s birthday, and they asked me to help. Over the past few months they have gotten in touch with many of you and requested that you send them photos of yourself, along with recordings of the special memories you have of Dad. Once they had this information, I helped them put this short Power Point presentation together so we could share a few of those memories with you now.
I then placed the flash drive in the laptop the DJ had been using, opened the file. As it began to play, the first image that appeared on the large screen behind us was one of Dad’s baby photos with a special message super-imposed. ‘Happy Birthday to our dad and grandpa, Josh Currie, the founder of this eclectic brood.’ Then, Barbra Streisand’s voice filled the hall as she sang Memory from the musical, Cats.
As she sang, more photos of Dad appeared on the screen, starting with another baby photo, one of him as a toddler, another of him at six or seven, and one when he was in his early teens. Those were followed by both his high school and college graduation photos, his wedding photo with his wife and the mother of his biological children, and another taken with her about a year before she died. The next was of a photo of Dad, Ricky, Brandon, Jay, and me from the first vacation we took together, and another from our family vacation to England a few years later. That was followed by a photo from when he first met Jake and Shannon, then his and Jake’s wedding photo, and finally a photo taken of all of us together this past Christmas.
As that song ended another one began, and this time Barbra was singing The Way We Were. At the same time, photos of Dad’s biological children and their spouses began filling the screen, with their name written above each one. We soon got a glimpse of Michael, Andrea, Marie, Adrian, Robert, Sara, Elizabeth and Timothy as they were growing up. There were photos of them at different ages, along with their wedding photos, and then that song ended as well.
It was quickly followed by Sarah McLachlan’s rendition of I Will Remember You, as images of Ricky, me, Brandon, Dustin, Kevin, Cole, Graham, Pat, Trey, and Frankie appeared. They were also at various ages, with our names written above them, and there were some collective ‘oohs and aahs’ when Pat’s photos appeared on the screen, which caused him to blush slightly.
When that song ended, Precious Memories sung by Jim Reeves played next, as photos of Sammy, Andrew, Dion, Nick, Brent, Shannon, Vinnie, Cody, Richard (Little Ricky), and Jesse appeared. Like the others, they were at various ages as well, with their names appearing above each photo.
As that song faded away, Billy Gilman began singing About Memories as another message flashed across the screen. “Happy Birthday, Papa/Grandpa Josh.’ That was followed by at least two photos each of Jordan, Nicky, Megan, Kylie, Lucas, Joshie, Wyatt, Elliot, Noah, Ryan, Benny, Tristan, Revin, Holly, Hayden, and Hunter.
The presentation took between fifteen to twenty minutes to complete and everyone seemed mesmerized by it, and when it ended I made a final comment. “Dad that was only the highlights of what the boys put together. I will be giving you this flash drive,” I stated as I held it up for everyone to see, “and it contains a separate file for each name you just saw on the screen. In that file are photos of that individual throughout the years, along with a recording made specifically about the impact you made on that individual’s life. I’m certain it will not only elicit many wonderful memories for you, but it will also prove how important you have been to all of us. We all love you very much and we wish you a very happy birthday.”
As I finished speaking, everyone began to stand and they started clapping, not for me, but for Dad. We all owed him a great debt and we were recognizing an outstanding man, a wonderful father, and someone with a heart as large as the world.
As I was heading back to my seat again, I was stopped several times along the way. “Terrific job and very well done,” Uncle Steve said as I passed his table.
“Yes, that was absolutely beautiful,” Aunt Mary agreed.
“It looked professionally done and was an outstanding tribute to your dad,” Aunt Sally added.
“Thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed it.”
“Nice job, but where the hell did you dig up some of that music?” Frankie asked next.
“It wasn’t easy finding songs that fit the occasion. I spent hours online listening to songs and reading the lyrics just to come up with those.”
“That was very well done, but how did you think up this wonderful idea?” Richard followed.
“It was the boys’ idea to do this, and I merely suggested using Power Point to make the presentation.”
“How did you decide whose photographs went with which song?” Beth, Cole’s wife, wanted to know.
“That was the easy part. I did it in groups and followed the order they came into the family.”
“So is that why some of the younger grandchildren’s pictures were shown before some of the older ones?” Katie, Dustin’s wife, asked next.
“Exactly. It was the order in which they became members of the family, either by birth or adoption.”
“I was looking around while your presentation was playing, and I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house, and that includes non-family members too,” Brandon announced as I sat down beside him.
While I was chatting with Brandon, Dad’s biological children came over to our table. “That was a really impressive presentation and very touching,” Michael said.
“Thank you and I made sure to include photos of your mom as well.”
“I noticed that, and it’s when I started to cry,” Marie stated. “It was very beautifully done.”
“I hope I didn’t cause you to ruin your make up,” I joked, which caused her to smile.
“Don’t worry, I can touch it up,” she replied.
“I’m glad you thought of doing this, because it was perfect for Dad,” Robert added.
“I thought so too and was glad the boys had come up with the idea.”
“Then we’ll thank them too,” Elizabeth followed. “And like Marie, I think I cried through the entire presentation as well.”
“I’m glad you all enjoyed it.”
They then moved around the table so they could talk to the boys, and when they did that Jordan and Nicky came over to say hello to me next. “Thanks for including us in that. It was awesome,” Nicky began.
“Yeah, and you chose some good pictures of us, and they weren’t even the ones we sent to you,” Jordan stated.
“I had a lot to choose from, but I decided to use the photos we took of you two while you were spending the summer with us when you were younger.”
“Yeah, those were fun times,” he agreed.
“Have you talked to Elliot?” Brandon asked the two of them.
“I have,” Nicky quickly answered. “I had some really good times with him, so I wanted to say hello.”
“Yes, I suppose you two did have fun together.”
As they were walking away, Brandon turned to me and made a comment. “I believe Elliot had a crush on Nicky when they were younger.”
“He did, and he was crushed when he discovered Nicky wasn’t gay and only liked to fool around.”
“His first heartbreak,” Brandon observed.
While we were talking, I noticed a line of people were waiting to congratulate Dad as the DJ was playing the next song. After the crowd had gone out to dance again, I spotted something else. It appeared as if Ryan and Noah were arguing, so I hurried over to see what was going on. I noticed earlier that they had both been dancing with Holly at various times, so I assumed it must be what had caused the problem.
“What’s going on here?” I demanded.
“We’re just trying to figure out whose turn it is to dance with Holly,” Noah offered innocently.
“It looked to me that you were having an argument that might lead to a fight, rather than a discussion, so I’ll give you an option. You can either take turns as gentlemen and alternate dancing with her, or Brandon and I will dance with her instead and leave you boys out completely.”
When they looked at me their eyes were wide open and it almost appeared as if their eyeballs were going to pop out of their sockets. “Would you really do that?” Ryan gasped in shock.
“You’re damn right, so the choice is yours.”
“Ok, you’ve made your point,” Noah relented. “Go ahead, you can dance with her next,” he told Ryan.
“Thank you and I don’t want to see anything like that again.”
When I returned to my table, Ricky was there waiting for me. “Nicely done, but you forgot to mention that I was Dad’s favorite.”
“I tried to keep it positive and didn’t want to mention that you were Dad’s favorite suspect when something went wrong.”
“That’s not fair and you know better. Dad chose me to be the first member of his new family because he thinks I’m special.”
“Yes, if you’re using the word special in the same context as special ed and special Olympics, but we still love you, bro,” I said as I placed my arm over his shoulder.
“I was beginning to wonder about that.”
A few minutes later the DJ announced that it was time to cut the wedding cake, and once Pat and Tori did that, they shared the first piece. I was happy to see they were civilized while doing this and didn’t attempt to smash it into each other’s face, and when they finished they urged Dad to cut his birthday cake next.
A short time later, the DJ encouraged Pat to remove the garter from Tori’s leg, and it was done to the sounds of The Stripper playing in the background. Then, he tossed it over his shoulder to the single men, and that was followed by Tori tossing her bridal bouquet over her head to the single ladies.
After those activities had been completed, Ricky went up to the DJ and asked if he could say something. The DJ agreed, so he took the mic and got our attention.
“I have an announcement to make to the members of my family.” Upon hearing this, I was suddenly worried about what he was going to say after the ribbing I’d just given him. “While Tiffany and I were celebrating the Fourth of July, I asked her to marry me. She agreed and we’ll be getting married next summer in Philly. I just wanted to let you know in advance, because you’ll be receiving invitations in the mail as soon as we set a date and secure the church and reception hall.”
“Danger, Will Robinson. Danger,” Kevin shouted as a warning to Tiffany. It was a quote from Lost in Space, a corny 1960s television sci-fi series that was revived in 2018.
“Come into my web, said the spider to the fly,” Shannon followed.
“Ok guys, cut it out,” Ricky warned.
“We just want her to know what she’s getting into,” Andrew shouted.
“Oh, she knows,” Ricky shot back.
“But does she know the REAL you?” Vinnie replied.
“Yes, and that’s why she agreed to marry me.”
After this brief interaction between the brothers, we all went over to congratulate him and Tiffany. “We wish you all the best,” I told them, “but Tiffany, I suggest you sleep with one eye open.”
“I’ve heard all about his pranks and devilish nature, but I still love him.”
“That’s good, but I think we’ll give you a whip and a chair as a wedding present,” Dustin offered, which caused her to giggle.
“That might be a wise precaution,” she agreed.
“Kinky. I didn’t know you were into S & M,” Ricky quipped.
“I’m not, but I believe in training you to behave correctly, as well as punishment if you step out of line,” she retorted.
“A perfect match and she seems up to the challenge,” Brandon commented, with many of the others adding their agreement.
“I believe Ricky has met his match at last,” Sammy responded.
Gradually, things began to wind down and a few of the guests began to leave, but most remained and continued to mingle and dance. Eventually, Pat and Tori decided it was time to change so they could head out on their honeymoon, and once they departed everyone else began to leave as well.
We went out and got on the bus for the ride back to the hotel, and as soon as we reached our rooms, I told the boys to get ready for bed. After they showered, we went over to read another chapter to them, and then we tucked them into bed. We didn’t go from room to room to say goodnight to the others, because we’d done that on the way up in the elevator. We did, however, say goodnight to Elliot since he was sharing our room, and then Brandon and I got into bed as well.
Everyone woke up fairly early the next morning and dressed quickly so we could go down to the first floor and have breakfast. When we finished eating, we returned to our rooms, packed our suitcases, and did a quick check to make sure we weren’t leaving anything behind. We then went down to the lobby to check out before we loaded our suitcases on the bus and chose a seat for the ride back.
Before the bus got underway, Dad come back to where I was setting and spoke. “I just wanted to thank you for that wonderfully touching presentation yesterday.”
“Don’t thank me, thank the boys. It was their idea from the start and they told me exactly what they wanted to do. I merely helped them iron out some of the wrinkles and put it together. They’re the ones who emailed everyone else and got everything together.”
“Then I’ll thank them when we get home.”
It was another long ride as we headed back, and the bus stopped at a Zaxbys along the way for lunch. We weren’t exactly keen on having fast food, but there were salads available as well, so everyone found something to eat. When we finished eating, we got back on the bus and took off again.
Once we reached the high school, we took a few minutes to say goodbye to those living out of the area before we retrieved our cars. We shared hugs and kisses as we bid each other farewell, and then we told each one to have a safe trip home. We then hurried to our vehicles and headed out as well, because Elliot and Noah had to take off for their next destination. Thankfully, they had packed their cars before we left on Saturday, so they were ready to go when we got back to the house.
We asked if they wanted to eat with us first, but they declined saying they’d stop along the way, and then we bid each of them goodbye. We also reminded them to drive carefully and to stop if they began to feel tired, and they promised they would. We sent them on their way after they promised to call and let us know they’d arrived safely, and as soon as they were gone, the boys asked to go with me when I went to pick up Dobby and Flash.
“Ok, but let’s do it quickly,” I agreed.
I drove to my nurse’s house and the puppies were right behind her when she answered the door. “So how did they behave?” I asked as the boys were petting and playing with Dobby and Flash.
“My husband and I really enjoyed having them around.”
“Have they eaten all three meals today?”
“Yes, they finished the last one about an hour ago.”
“Do we need to take them out to pee before we put them in the carrier?”
“No, they did that too.”
“Any accidents while we were gone?”
“No, they were very good. In fact, I called my friend to see if there were any puppies still looking for a home. My husband and I have also decided to get a puppy.”
“So did they have any left?”
“Yes, no one took the runt of the litter, so I told my friend I’d pick that one up on the way home tomorrow night. I didn’t want to do it with your two here, otherwise it might be difficult for them to be separated again.”
“Yes, I suppose you’re right.”
The boys helped carry out the box with the puppies’ things in it while I was putting the puppies in the carrier and taking it outside. Once everyone was in the SUV, I drove home and we carried everything inside. We were finally home at last.
“No one felt like cooking, so it’s sandwiches, mac and cheese, and a green salad for dinner,” Dad informed us when we got inside. “I had a large pan of Stouffer’s mac and cheese in the freezer and thought this would be the perfect time to heat it up. It will be ready in about ten minutes.”
The boys all cheered when they heard what we were having, since they all liked mac and cheese and would have eaten it at every meal if we’d allow them to do so. We had Revin call home to let his mom know we were back, and then Dion, Trey, Brandon, and I helped to make the sandwiches. Once that had been taken care of, we all sat down at the table and began to eat.
When we finished, we told the boys to get ready for bed, and then we went up to read to them, and it happened to be the final chapter of Fudge-a-Mania. “So what’s next?” Wyatt asked when I closed the book.
“Double Fudge is next, and it’s the last book in the series.”
I heard some groans after I said this, so I made a quick comment. “That book has sixteen chapters, so it will be a couple of weeks before we’re finished with Fudge.”
That seemed to perk them up a bit, and then we tucked them in, kissed each one on the forehead, and said goodnight. Brandon and I then made our rounds quickly and said goodnight to each of the others, but no one had much to say, except for Holly.
“The wedding was fun and I’m glad you had me buy the dress to wear when I was there. Otherwise, I would have felt out of place.”
“We’re glad we did too, because you looked beautiful in it.”
“And I’m sorry about what happened between Ryan and Noah.”
“That wasn’t your fault. They’re both old enough to know better.”
“Yes, but maybe I shouldn’t have danced with either of them.”
“I’m not sure that would have helped, but at least there wasn’t any bloodshed.”
“I’m certainly glad of that.”
After we said goodnight to her, Brandon and I headed up to bed too. It had been a jam packed weekend and now we had to get ready to go back to work.