Sunday, December 16, 2012

On Officiating the Wedding of Friends

There are moments in your life that, no matter how clear and ready you tried to be, nothing is as real as the moment when it is actually happening.

On Saturday, around 4:10 PM, I looked at my friend Julia, just absolutely radiant in her wedding dress, and Bill looking sharp in his suit, and the 80-people out in the white chairs on the lawn, and I realized I had the microphone and the script to the wedding and, holy smokes, I'm marrying my two good friends.  Me.  This is happening.

There's no part of the story about how it went wrong.  It went off without a hitch.  The dinner was even really good, and normally wedding dinners are the thing you swallow and pretend to like because, oh my gosh, this place isn't cheap...  but in our case, it was all excellent.  And Bill is a Belgian Ale snob, so you couldn't say one thing negative about the beer selection.

Eventually, Jamie and I even cut a rug on the dance floor.

I am not a man of great adventure, but I don't turn down new experiences these days if they seem mostly legal.  And while I thought I had a pretty good idea of the import and weight of what Bill and Julia had asked of me, and I think we all hit our marks, the tremendous honor of getting to be the one joining two people in marriage was a gift I don't think they realized they were giving me.

The gift they did know they were giving me, a bottle of 15 Year Glendronach, is also deeply appreciated.

Yes, I was nervous, and I had to fall back on old stage-fright techniques from high school drama and the public speaking I do at work.  Just remember: slow down, breathe, focus on a few people, and you're good.  But it was hard looking at Julia and Bill, and especially looking at Julia and not wanting to get a little choked up, because they're a good couple, and they're good people, and I do want the best for them.

Afterward we headed back to the Menger Hotel where much of the party was staying.  It was built in 1859, which is about as old of a building as you'll find standing in Texas, and is famous as a drinking spot for the Rough Riders before they shipped out for Cuba and gaining fame as the heroes of San Juan Hill.  Rooseveltian imagery is everywhere.  I was pleased.

And, by the way, San Antonio is a fantastic city.  In my head, I know this, but I don't always appreciate what they've got going on there.  Architecturally, historically, culturally, it's a pretty great town.  We're already talking about next year's trip down to enjoy the Riverwalk and eat until we sweat queso.

With tragedy in Connecticut and flags at half-staff, it is a bit odd to proceed and move on with the events that make up a life, but I was glad that the tragedy, even when present in people's minds, could remain at the periphery and the milestone moment of which we were all a part perhaps stood sharper in relief as a good moment.

As the man says:

And I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, 'If this isn't nice, I don't know what is.'  

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