November 10, 2013
Sunday, 8:00 p.m.
Letter #303: Wedding Memories
It has been said that life is a stage, and we are but performers on that stage. The person who said it is anonymous only because I don’t have Google or Bing or Siri to tell me who said it, but it sounds smart. If no one has actually said it before, then I said it, and I’m the smart one. In any case, the bigger the life event, the bigger the stage, and for those of us who love the stage, funerals and weddings are the Super Bowl Halftime Shows of life.
Most of my family knows the many tales of funerals gone wrong—wrong music being played; wrong name of the deceased; the priest, while speaking Latin, tripping on his robes in English; not enough dirt to fill in the grave; and oversized funeral directors with toupees and oversized egos.
And I’ve witnessed many tragedies that are weddings in disguise. I love a good wedding. I’ve been ring bearer three times (when I was young and adorable), usher and candle lighter a few times, groomsman a few times, and Master of Ceremonies twice. I’ve played piano at several and sang at even more, but you know what I haven’t been all that much? A guest. And I’ve never “crashed” a wedding, showing up uninvited to a wedding of people I don’t know. Yet. But I’ve certainly seen my share of interesting weddings, with fainting or cake-throwing. Awesome!
A good friend of mine I’d worked closely with in ministry was getting married several hours from my home, so I drove, hoping to help make her wedding special. I forgot to bring a gift, but I didn’t forget to bring my jet skis and all my water toys, just in case I could make a weekend out of the trip. The weather was hot and stuffy, but I was certain there would be cake to make the drive worthwhile.
The wedding ceremony itself was nice, a big affair with everything scripted and programmed, but you could still feel that joy, so compelling when God brings two people together. A full banquet followed, with cake, so I was prepared to give the wedding overall high marks. The video montage of the happy couple was touching, and I was still on board until they attempted an overly-romantic sendoff of the bride and groom.
The venue overlooked a large pond in a housing development. As the sun set, tea lights were floated out on the pond. The bride and groom got into a small rowboat with a designated rower and everyone made a grand scene of it, with lots of hugs and tears and bubbles and pictures and carrying on. It wasn’t that exciting, people! The sun set just as they reached the center of the pond, the bride and groom still waving royalty-style to the waving crowd straining to see them from the dock with bubbles and tea lights. My rating for the wedding was plummeting like a priest at a funeral.
Suddenly, a black form arose, Lockness-style from the middle of the pond near the romantic rowboat and its startled occupants. It began trashing about violently, furiously throwing up large amounts of water like a possessed lawn sprinkler. The bride screamed, the groom yelled out to save her from the monster in the pond, and the designated rower began earning his pay, faster and fathers toward the now-visible car prepared for their getaway. Never before in wedding history had the term “getaway vehicle” held so much meaning. Ah, now we have an interesting wedding! I quickly gave it my highest-ever rating.
They safely made it to the other side of the pond and took off with a bit less ceremony. The police were called to search the pond and its shoreline, but they were unsuccessful, and the wedding guests dispersed. I stayed around to help with the cleanup efforts from the banquet, doing dishes and stacking chairs. Once my hair dried, I retrieved my wetsuit from the edge of the pond and drove home. Exit Stage Left.