Wedding Ruminitions, part the two
Okey dokey. Just a retelling of the events leading to the wedding, now that I've had a little time to think on things.
I finished my week's work on Thursday night, around 2 in the morning or so. Since gas was in the truck, and I was wired anyway, I just threw my stuff in the truck and headed out to go get Steven and Janet married.
Ran into more bugs and moths than I've ever seen in my life during those couple of hours on the interstate in the middle of the night.
Made it to East Tennessee easily enough. Went to the K-Mart, to buy the deodorant, which I was out of. I figured it was the least I could do. Went to the clothiers to pick up the tuxedo, a nice little deal: black, long tie, silver vest. Despite my earlier claims that I looked like a hot, overdressed Tommy, I think I actually pulled off looking rather spiffy. I tried the thing on at the store, pretty sure that we'd have to get something on the suit overnighted to replace something that didn't fit just right.
Clothes often don't settle and lay on me the way they should. Plus, I've got canoes for feet, so I was sure something wouldn't have measured out right on my feet, or on my body somewhere. I told Rodney, the tuxedo dude, as I've come to think of him in my mind, this little fact. He laughed politely, and wandered away to discontinue the conversation.
The tux fit. Rather well.
Called Steven, and told him basically what I'd written last Friday. That when I get married, it'll be t-shirts and blue jeans all the way.
"You ain't kiddin'" he says.
(As an aside, what I wrote Friday about how my Mom and Dad got married was basically true. There was no shotgun. That part was a joke. And it was a five and dime store they were married in, not a hardware store. But they were married in blue jeans and flannel in the back of a five and dime by Justice of the Peace Johnny Roddy. And during the actual ceremony, according to Mom, a decrepit little-old-lady towing six kids knocked on the door of the back room where they were getting married, and demanded to use the restroom. Johnny, a little angrily, explained that they were getting married, and that she'd have to wait--I wrote that little tidbit down because it's just too funny.
"I gotta pee."
"They'll be hitched in a minute--you just hold it in!"
But anyway, it was the early seventies, my Mom had seen her shares of big weddings with her friends and family, and money was a little tight for them back in those days, so they just got hitched in the most pragmatic way possible. That night, they went to a basketball game.)
The wedding rehearsal was that night. I wondered if there was a dress code, as some of these things tend to have. Steven said "Nope. I'm wearing shorts."
Steven speaks my language.
I slept. Not much.
The rehearsal was at 6 that night. Saw the other groomsmen.
I finally got to meet Benjy, a good friend of Steven's from way back. Steven's a couple of years older than me. We became friends through other people, ended up in college together, roommating with nearly disastrous results for a short while, and have since gone on to become the best of friends. But as a result of Steven's age, he's got a couple of friends that have moved away that I've never met, or maybe had met or knew of, but still couldn't place a face with a name.
At some point over the weekend, Benjy called Steven and asked about what shoes he was supposed to wear to the wedding. He said there weren't any with the tuxedo. He led Steven on for a while, finally letting him off the hook. I like Benjy. I think most of Steven's groomsmen were the personification of "with friends like these, who needs enemies?"
Benjy's got a hell of a personality. I liked him immediately. His wife and kid were, there. Benjy's girl has all the personality of the two of them combined. Neat kid.
Jimmy and I met each other a lot of the same way I met Steven. Through other friends. Jimmy and I have very similar personalities. Jimmy got married a little while back, and has started a family of his own.
Jonathan is Steven's brother-in-law. He married Diane several months back. Jonathan came in with a newly buzzcut head. Diane was fond of pointing out to me that Jonathan cut his that way because any other way is just too hot in the summertime. I cut mine that way to deflect attention away from the rapidly impending baldness.
Besides. I tend to think I'm not going bald. My brain's expanding.
Yeah. I don't even have a forehead anymore. It's a fivehead, now.
Rehearsal was strictly a "yes, sir; yes, ma'am" sort of thing. I just did whatever I was told, and did my best to remember it all. After a couple of hours, we felt like we'd gotten everything down.
Then it was time to cook out.
We all proceeded over to Shyam's place (she's a friend and a regular commentor here). There, we had steak, and burgers, and potato chips, and cookies, and potato salad, and more steak and marshmallows and (most importantly) beer. Kept cold in a canoe. The beer canoe. As it were.
A nice night. I got to meet several of Steven's relatives, including his grandmother and his cousin Mark (who's already commented once here), many of them again I was happy to finally put a face with a name.
There were fireworks. Hal and Jonathan were responsible there. I begged off. Tommy's not good with fires or explosives. We call him Big Stupid
Tommy for a reason. Of course, after the two had carted the stuff to the other side of the pond, we were entertained with bottle rockets and other explosives not shooting exactly upward. Across the pond a few times, yes. There were a couple that seemed go off not too far from where they were shooting. But there were no fingers lost or eyes put out, so we considered it a victory.
It was a nice night. Had a conversation with the future Mrs. West about whether I was to be censored in my speech the next night. I'd wondered with Steven whether the words "boobs" or "farting" would be inappropriate if sprinkled throughout my speech. Also, there was to be a Homer Simpsonesque scream and a night-terror cry about "Cobras!"
I was told that I was to be nice, and not too stupid.
We ended that night somewhere around midnight. It was one of those asleep before my head hit the pillow kind of nights.
But it didn't last long. I was a little uncomfortable in my sleep, and I ended up awake before the crack of dawn. I got up. Mom and Dad were setting up for a yard sale. I helped them set up. Came home, made sure everything was ready to go. I took a short nap, and wandered over to the church.
Steven and Janet were enforcing the no groom seeing the bride rule pretty strictly. Anytime one had to leave a room to go another way for pictures or to finish dressing, an advance recon party was sent ahead, to make sure path and destination were clear.
The boys dressed in the basement, where it was cool. I made sure to bring water, because I'm a sweater, and I knew that, at the very least, I'd need some.
To a man, I think all five of us, Steven, Benjy, Jimmy, Jonathan and myself, looked rather spiffy. Perhaps even spiffier than most of us had looked in a long, long time. I can't remember if we got a picture beyond the professional photographer's venue of the five of us. We should have gone to Vegas, Steven. It'd be more like Rain Man than a Rat Pack movie, but I think it would have gone well, all the same.
I think the spiffy appearance was made all that more shocking when you consider that even though all of us hover in the late 20's/early 30's range, we all still dress like we're nine, and, speaking personally, like I dug through the hamper to find the least dirty piece of clothing. So, the tuxedoed groom and groomsmen ended up alright.
We photographed. The highlight of that was the ringbearer boys being completely unwilling to take pictures with anybody, and one regarding Steven with something between startled wonder and abject terror.
The ceremony itself was very nice. I was nervous, though I'm not sure why. I was afraid I'd start giggling or something.
I caught my friend Julie's eye once, and I grinned, and made myself look away. See, a long time ago, Julie's boyfriend and my friend Jason and I made a cartrip to our friend Lesli's wedding a trying one for her. We discussed the whole time ways that the outdoor wedding could have been disrupted, up to and including bee attacks, lawnmowers going next door, and fights and chases involving 2 x 4's and tree limbs.
Maybe it's one of those things where you had to be there.
But I was afraid if I caught Jason's or Bill's eye, I'd start laughing for some reason.
A piper played the processional. It was excellently done. I got as big a kick out of the bag pipes as I did anything else over the course of the day.
Here's what struck me the most about the whole wedding ceremony. It seemed like it was over in a flash. The processional took longer than the actual ceremony. I commented later that it was almost like the short, short wedding at the end of Spaceballs.
I don't think Steven has a memory of the whole event. It whizzed by that quickly.
We had more pictures, and then it was off to the reception.
Excellent reception. Good food. Just a nice, quiet meal. No alcohol. Beer permit and liquor license, apparently, needed to be applied for and approved. It was an unneeded hassle.
Nice meal. There was no particular drama anyplace that I was aware of. I managed to distract Steven long enough for Benjy, Jimmy and our friend Billy to go mess around with Janet and Steven's ride. I thought they did a rather nice job...notes of "finally married" and "Mr. and Mrs. Walden."
I had to give the toast. I'd been struggling with what I'd say for a few weeks. I'd joked that I'd wait until the morning of, since I've always done my best work, whether for job or for school, under the sweat of desperation. I didn't intend to follow through with that jest, but as time went on, I found that I was really struggling with the right words to say.
It had hit me Thursday afternoon. The seed, the inkling. Comedian Larry Reeb had been on the Bob and Tom Show, and one of his old comedy bits came floating back to me.
I never put pen to paper, except for a couple of notes on a notecard, which I ended up not even using. Winging it, as it were.
I don't know exactly what I said, but what I wanted to say, it went along the lines of:
"One of my favorite comedians has a joke. It says, your average lunatic and axe murderer, he's probably not married. The reason being, if a wife sees her husband wearing a ski mask in July, she's gonna make him take it off. And if he's carrying an axe, it had better be to chop firewood.
I bring this up, not because I think either Janet or Steven's capable of that sort of lunacy (I got bigger laughs with this line), but to bring to mind the idea that none of us is complete.
We're all come into the world with certain talents, abilities, and compunctions. And we all have a match somewhere, someone who can complement what we don't have, to help make us complete, to help give us mutual direction on the road of life. I think of it as the completion of the circle of life, the yin and yang, the perfect fitting together in the forming of a union.
We were lucky to get to see that today, because it's a special thing.
A match, a true match, is a rare thing. That's why it pleases me so very much to see two of my favorite people in the world, Janet and Steven, find that rare thing, and come together after so many years.
I don't have much else to say, so I just want to raise a glass to Janet and Steven, my friends."
I don't think it came out exactly like that when I said it. I need to say that. I think I got most of it out, though. I made it most of the way through without getting really emotional.
And I meant every word.
The rest of the night was spent chatting. I got some very nice words from Steven's grandmother. I liked her a lot, and I can see where a lot of the family's sense of humor comes from. According to Mark, I made quite the impression on her.
Janet and Steven danced to Storybook Love, from the Princess Bride.
I had to go clean the saran wrap off their chariot, before they left to a short stay at a bed and breakfast for the weekend. They'll be heading to England this summer as a proper honeymoon.
With a hug for both, I took care of Steven's tux, and was among the last to leave the shindig.
Wow. Long post.
I'll probably have a couple more thoughts, as I remember them. And hopefully a picture or two will come to me of the group, especially me in a tux, to post.
That was the weekend.
Just want to finish up again by saying I think Janet and Steven will make a lovely couple. They've known each other for years. I'm thinking they'll last a long, long time. I was proud to have been a part of it.