Amusement parks often have these wooden guardians standing by the entrance, letting visitors know that, “You must be as tall as Mr. Smugarse here to board this ride!” When you’re young these guys tower over you, mocking you and standing between you and the really good rides. You sulk around Kiddieland, dreaming of conquering the coasters that fill your horizon on every side. Then a couple of years later you come back and Mr. Smugarse is suddenly a diminutive little runt. He’s beneath your nose, and your notice. Full of pride, you strut onto the big coaster, ride it, and throw up the corndogs you just ate. Congratulations. You’ve finally come into your own.
|Your Humble Host, along with Mrs. Humble Host.|
Fifteen years ago marriage towered over me, casting an imposing shadow on my future. Was I up to this? Was I going to blow it like my dad did? Unlike a roller coaster, life doesn’t turn you away if you’re not ready for the big rides. Often it doesn’t even warn you. And when you screw up, you lose a lot more than a belly full of overpriced corndogs.
On Sunday I got to look at marriage again as my youngest brother took the leap. My own day looks small and distant in the rear-view mirror, but I could see it looming large in front of him and for a moment I could remember what it felt like to stand up there and say the vows.
Weather is important for a good wedding. You don’t want everyone to hide their rented finery under their frumpy everyday coats, and you don’t want them to roast alive in the sun during the Trial of Photography. Today, it was relentlessly gorgeous, like someone had taken a slice of early June and hid it away for us here at the end of September.
This wedding changed shape many times over the past couple of months. Originally Dan and Angela envisioned a massive, church-filling event. Then that dream was scrapped in favor of a simple, unceremonious trip to the courthouse, to be followed by an unspecified celebration at some uncertain date in the future. Unwilling to defer the day of joy like this, they finally decided on a small ceremony consisting of the Groom’s people, the Bride’s people, and our D&D group. You know. Like a proper wedding.
|Here you can see the D&D group that led to the creation of this very website. In the back is Dan, the groom. Next is Patrick and his wife, followed by Eric and Joe. Bogan, the final member of our group, didn’t make the ceremony but he did make it to the reception. Joe is showing off his tie. We’d decided that the red vertical stripe looked kind of like the Tower of Sauron, so we spent the rest of the day teasing him about wearing the “Tie of Sauron”. By evening this joke was a dead horse with many, many whip-marks on it.|
It was a perfect ceremony. There was a newborn baby that never cried, and children who were quiet and well-behaved. (Mine.) The bride and groom seemed to be vibrating with joyous energy. The pastor brought the right mix of Message and levity, so that everyone laughed and wept in in proper proportions and at the proper times. The men were dapper, the women were lovely, and all of them were effortlessly overshadowed by beauty of the bride, as was fitting.
|If the kids are awake at the end of a celebration, you have done something wrong.|
It’s a family tradition to bring out some childhood item of the groom’s during the reception. At mine it was my stuffed bunny. For Dan it was his ragged and threadbare blue blanket. I suppose in some families they do this sort of thing to humiliate the groom for a laugh, but here it’s a sort of bittersweet moment.
So that was a good weekend. I didn’t get a lick of writing done. I hope you weren’t expecting a lot of content this week. (Josh had health problems, and didn’t get a Shogun entry written.) We should have Spoiler Warning and more Autoblography according to whatever is passing for a schedule these days, but I don’t imagine there will be much else. Eating these leftovers is going to require a full-time commitment from me.
Best of luck to Daniel and Angela. Love you guys.
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