The fact is I love weddings. Absolutely adore them. Why? Because they are celebrations of two things that I and my chosen philosophy are all about.
We're getting to an age where we're probably more likely to attend a funeral than a wedding. But Eva and I have these twenty-something friends that have somehow accepted our forty-mumble selves as part of their in-group. It started with Glitch (and yes, that is his real name)...a man I worked with at Walmart who is now a good friend. He introduced us to some of his inner circle of friends: Brinn and Coralee...and Ashlea and Jeremy.
These are strong, smart, storied people with whom I enjoy spending time. I haven't spent enough time, online or off, with any of them, and yet again...somehow...Eva and I were invited to a ceremony at Kitchener city hall for "family and a few close friends". That really touched both of us.
KITCHENER CITY HALL, AUGUST 13, 2016
The weather is not exactly fitting for bridal dresses. I joked on Facebook earlier that it's "muggier than a guy stealing your wallet": 28 degrees C with ridiculous 89% humidity giving a humidex of 41C (106F). The cloud cover is heavy and oppressive. The ceremony is set for 2:00 p.m.; the skies open up briefly at 11:45, dumping a bunch of extra humidity into the air; it remained dour and louring.
All of our friends are in the wedding party...Brinn and Glitch by Jeremy's side, Coralee on Ashlea's. Glitch's son Gidget--one of the more well-mannered kids I've met, and a credit to his single dad--is the ring bearer. The guys are kilted and dashing; the women are lovely.
Especially, of course, the bride.
Ashlea's been telling me for a week now how nervous she is. Tripping seems to be her major concern: she claims to be the queen of it. But when it comes time to walk down the aisle she's surefooted and radiant.
I spent more time selecting music for my wedding than I did on all the rest of it combined. Music means a great deal to me and it's the first thing I hone in on at a wedding, coming in just ahead of the vows themselves. Ashlea and Jeremy have gone with a wedding processional that is well off the beaten path and yet so appropriate:
with this kiss...
And -- I'm not kidding -- just as the couple was formally introduced....Ashlea and Jeremy Hill...the sun broke through that heavy, heavy overcast. The symbolism seems trite and overdone, but in this case...no, it's not. Ashlea made note in her personalized vows of how she likely wouldn't have been around if Jeremy hadn't come into her life. She wasn't being dramatic about that: simply stating a fact.
(We'll dismiss the weather as a metaphor for life presently, since there was a monsoon-type rain and a tornado warning a couple of hours later; a tornado did in fact touch down a bit over an hour away.)
Their first dance tune was even more unique, something that gets played a lot at some weddings, no doubt, but not often at weddings where a man is marrying a woman: Same Love, by Macklemore and Lewis, and there are reasons for this, too. (Anybody who disdains hip-hop and thinks it has nothing positive to offer the world really needs to take time out of their lives and listen to this song.)
Ashlea and Jeremy asked for "wisdom, advice and pictures" to enjoy, and provided crayons and placemats. Eva and I consulted...we have sixteen years and many shared sources to draw on.
"Never take each other for granted."
"Make each other laugh every day"
"Go on dates. They don't have to be special. Run errands together."
"Forgive and forget: married life is for giving AND for getting"
"Budget the luxuries first*"
"Rub her back**"
"Love is a verb"
"Be each other's strength AND each other's weakness"
*'Budget the luxuries first' is advice for a happy marriage from The Notebooks of Lazarus Long, by Robert Heinlein
**so is 'rub her back', except there it's 'rub her feet'...Ashlea has a revulsion of all things foot, so I changed it
I'm especially proud of that last piece of advice, which probably isn't original to me but which I don't think I've ever actually heard.
After the father-daughter dance there was a special dance in memory of Ashlea's mom, and it was here that I lost control of my emotions a little. Partly, of course, in memory of my own mom, but also...there was something so...verklempt... about watching the bride completely enfolded by her closest friends on the dance floor.
I couldn't stay as long at the reception as I would have liked. My guts always seem to pick the most inopportune moments to act out, and they were roiling something terrible before we even left home. But both Eva and I are honoured and overjoyed to have been a part of the first very special day of a very special marriage.
Ashlea and Jeremy, may you always find yourselves in each other, and may you never lose each other to yourselves.
Ken and Eva