Friday, October 15, 2010

The Wedding

Well, you don't do that every day. Last Saturday I had the privilege of actually marrying my son and his bride. Pretty awesome. I'll tell you how it came about. Back in the winter he gave her a diamond and she said they would have a fall wedding. Then almost as an afterthought, they said "Dad, you can marry us." Well, yes I could. Maine, South Carolina and Florida allow a Notary Public to solemnize a wedding. Forthwith I submitted the paperwork to become a notary. Paid my fifty bucks and I was "official". Like so many young people these days, the kids were not into religion and merely wanted a simple nonsectarian wedding ceremony. I thought what I would want to tell them and then I searched for some quotes and writers who might fit the occasion. They had decided to be married at our very remote wilderness cabin. That also presented some challenges as the place is not easy to get to and has no paved roads, no running water and no electricity. The wedding party would be limited. Then they had the idea to get married on one weekend and have the reception on the next. Nothing like thinking outside the box. So that's what we did. When I mentioned these plans to my sister, who by the way is very religious, her immediate reaction was a question. "Can you do that?" she asked. "Won't that be a problem? Is that legal?" "Yes it is," I told her. I called the state bureau of statistics and records just to make sure and I was right. Everything would be legal and above board. So far so good.
But you know its kind of a funny feeling to take on such responsibility. I mean, who was I that I should have any authority or moral right to pronounce these two people husband and wife? What gave me the right? Well for one thing, they'd asked me. And for another I was Jeremy's father. And Jean and I owned the camp. In a way I was in charge. I guessed if a ship's captain can perform a wedding then so could I. I wondered if my Maine Guide's License contributed anything to the proceedings? The truth is like many young people these days, Jeremy and Shannon had somewhere in their past days together made a silent commitment to each other and for all practical purposes were husband and wife. My few words and signature on the marriage license would just make it "official". I thought how, in some ways, this whole process is backward. How its so easy to get married and so difficult to get divorced, and I wondered if maybe it should be the other way around. Maybe there were be fewer divorces if more work were done up front ensuring the couples were compatible and level headed about their enterprise? Last Saturday was a lovely fall day. We assembled on the beach of the lake in front of the cabin and we all smiled as the beautiful bride came down the steps to meet her new husband. I read from Anne Morrow Lindbergh's Gift from the Sea, and then a piece by Robert Fulgham called "Union" and then I asked them "Do you?" and "Do you?" And that was it. "By the power vested in my by the State of Maine I now pronounce you husband and wife." Then there was laughing, and whoops, and clapping and lots and lots of hugging. We'd done it. No, I warrant there aren't too many fathers who can say the did the wedding ceremony for their son. We have some friends who've done the same for their daughter. He and I commiserate over what a rush the whole thing is. Never to be forgotten. Can you imagine the story these kids will be able to tell their children? So, if you get the chance, do it. If your kids should ask you, do it. And if you don't happen to live in Maine, So Carolina or Florida; then maybe you'd move just so you could say "I now pronounce you husband and wife." I'll never forget the moment.


Bill & Kit said...
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Bill & Kit said...

What a great story and as usual told in an enjoyable and folksy way. I can relate.....officiating at the wedding of our daughter and son-in-law a number of years ago was a true joy and one of my fondest accomplishments. Best of luck to the newly minted husband and wife.....the best is yet to come. Bill and Kit (45 years and counting)