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by Eric Miller

Bud and Bliss Payton were surprised when their daughter Penny announced that she wanted to have her wedding and her reception in their backyard. Panicking, Bud hired a professional wedding planner, with whom he soon became disillusioned. Against the protests of his wife and daughter, he divorced himself from the planner.

Leafing through the Yellow Pages with one hand, and tapping Google searches with the other, Bud found tents and tables, a caterer and a florist, porta-potties and place settings, but alas, no band.  Finally, he found an accordion player and a trombone player, neither of whom had ever played together, willing to give it a try.

As the wedding day approached, Bud tethered himself to the Weather Channel to watch storm systems intent on raining on his daughter’s parade. However, when the awaited moment came, the clouds broke, the sun glittered, the guests arrived happy, the cleric spoke eloquently, the food and drink were fabulous, and the trombone and accordion demonstrated the principle of serendipitous synergy. Whatever that combined sound was, it sounded real good. Bud’s daughter was ecstatic. He felt like Queen for a Day.

Bud and Bliss had their retirement papers down on the boss’s desk at the plant before the last tent from the wedding hit the ground. They were both revved and ready to roll, and as they drove out of the plant parking lot, they were seen strewing 35 years of responsibilities out of the car window, as if they were merely ticker tape. As they headed into the sunset, they were blinded more by their dreams than the sun itself.

Bubbling over with happiness, Bud and Bliss opened a bottle of first class bubbly, a real deal Champagne, straight from Epernay. They clicked their glasses and celebrated being  blessed with quality real estate to sell. Bud picked up the phone and called their realtor.

“Let’s do it. Put that house for sale sign up tomorrow, so we can watch the parade of buyers start passing through,” he ordered, a bit too confidently.

The headline in the morning paper read: “Real estate bubble bursts.”

To the Paytons, the news sounded like a whoosh of water gushing from their water bed. The realtor told them to take whatever was offered, to stuff it in their saddlebags, and to ride their horses, at full speed, out of town. There was no parade, no offers made, and Bud and Bliss were stuck. They took the house off the market and decided to stay put. The very next day, a man knocked on their door and said that he wanted to buy their house. He offered a fair price, which they accepted. Although Bud should have been bubbly with relief, it was frustration that bubbled through his veins, as the buyer was a bit of a bubble-head with whom to deal.

When the Paytons opened the door to walk out of their house for the very last time, they were tickled. Bubbles have a nice way of doing that to you.