Friday, October 22, 2010

The Wedding

It’s begun. Young people in my older son’s social network have started getting married. This year’s wedding season kicked off in June and ended, with a bang, last night at the Ethan Allen Inn. It’s been a  delight to be included in these festivities at which I sit like a content matron—fingers entwined with my husband’s, smiling  as murmured vows and happy kisses are exchanged
Yesterday’s wedding, held on a picture-perfect day, united the lives of two sweet young people and, for a few festive hours, a roomful of very happy friends. It’s been a while since this group has convened for an occasion of pure celebration. There have been parties and gatherings but this involved pretty clothes, uncomfortable shoes and frantic last minute trips to CVS for pantyhose—surefire signs that something special was in the offing. Later, as I saw my friends streaming into the church, I reminded myself that, every once in a while, life gives you a chance to put away your daily worries and just be joyful.  
Behind the scenes at every wedding, however, exists the inevitable stress of planning. It’s a given—as certain as the fact that Seth will leap, cursing, from the car and run back into the house to remove the last bit of cat hair from his dark suit pants. But the moment  arrives when the cat hair has been sticky-rollered away, people are seated, the chaos is over and all becomes quiet. The music swells and the smiling guests crane to catch the first view of the bride, always lovely, always shy. It’s my favorite moment of the day.
Of course, the party follows. The news yesterday was that yours truly could be found on the dance floor throughout the evening. For many couples there is one member who loves to dance and one who pretends they don’t want to but secretly longs to cast off the shackles of their inhibitions and do the electric slide without a care. That’s me. I typically sit, tapping a toe and fingering the stem of my water goblet, as people push back their chairs and flock to the polished floor.  Seth sits loyally by, knowing not to ask-- for the thousandth time, poor bastard-- if I would like to dance.
What made yesterday’s wedding extra special was that I was surrounded by real friends. People I trust enough in front of whom to bust a move. It didn’t hurt that I also had a drink or two. Or  three. 
I rarely drink. I prefer to save my calories for dessert but Jack Daniels and I teamed up early in the evening specifically so I would have the courage to strut what little stuff I have left, saving my greatest bursts of energy for the familiar songs.
 I was sufficiently loosened up  to almost come to blows with a stranger who, I suspect, had also been socializing with Jack Daniels and  announced, as the first notes of “Sweet Caroline” blared from the speakers, that Neil Diamond hailed from Boston. Unable to allow this outrageous misconception—Neil Diamond is considered a national treasure in his hometown of Brooklyn, NY— to go unchecked, I slurred a few words at him about how Neil and I come from the same neighborhood but he would not back down. It was only out of respect for the parents of the newlyweds that I didn’t pummel him into submission right there on the dance floor. He doesn’t know how lucky he was that I am such a lady.
The effects of the alcohol remained with me well past the dancing phase of the evening and I have a fuzzy memory of shouting “Yankees suck!” into the doorway of the hotel bar which was crowded with a misguided group known as Yankee fans watching a game. I had the good sense to immediately dash out into the parking lot where Seth was waiting in the get-away car.
There are a few more weddings already on the docket for next year’s season but this, being the first, was probably the sweetest. As parents, we smile wistfully at the next generation’s optimism and excitement, remembering our own youthful passages as we congratulate them on theirs. Kids, may your lives be like your weddings—rich with smiles, friends, hugs, music and envelopes full of money.

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