Those of you who know Patrick will know how momentous that sentence is. His passing from the freedoms of the bachelor life into the bonds of Holy Matrimony marks the last of our group of four close friends to tie the knot. He did hold out the longest, whether that was his intention or not.
And it was a pretty cool and elegant ceremony. They were married in the same church Bethany and I were, though it was much hotter today. Everything went just about as smoothly as it could have gone. I found myself enjoying being on the other side of the camera for this one. Sure, the tuxedo was hot, but I looked good in it and it was an honor to be a groomsman. I'm pretty happy to say that of the three close friends I've grown up with, I've been in (or was supposed to be in if life hadn't exploded that week) all of their weddings. I count that among the things in my life that I'm proud of.
I enjoy weddings. The ceremonies are always something pretty to watch. You don't quite get the best view when you're taking part, though. Since the groomsmen were lined up by height today and I'm naturally the shortest of the six groomsmen, I had to stand at the end of the line. So I just stepped to the side so I could see what was happening. And before that there was the incident with the acolyte stick.
See, I'm a baptist (I think. I don't know. The idea of denominations is irritating. Christian is good enough for me.) and we don't have acolyte sticks. They're nice though. They're the long, golden candle lighters that have two curves, one ending in a bell to snuff the candles and the other ending in a wick to light the candles. At rehearsal Friday I was told that I wouldn't have to light anything. I showed up today and was handed a shiny stick with flames and told to go light the candles on either side of the altar, six total.
These are fancy candles with wicks that are recessed inside a plastic cap so that the candles melt evenly all round. I've never used one of these acolyte sticks and I was too short for the job anyway. The first two candles on the left I could reach. The third I had to stand on my tip toes and try to lengthen the wick and even then I still couldn't get it lit. So I stood up on the little red velvet cushioned step that was there. I really hope it wasn't something sacred that I wasn't supposed to step on. I'm not an episcopalian. I don't know these things. I'm just a guy with a shiny gold stick that has a flame on it and who's trying not to look like an idiot who can't light a candle in front of a church full of people.
I lit the three candles on the left and repeated the process with the three on the right, including stepping on the little cushioned step on the other side. Everything else came off without a hitch.
At the reception, Dick, who works at an accounting firm, made the discovery that each of his has been with our wives for nearly 25% of our lives, if not a little more in some cases. That, of course, made me thing. If I consider that a quarter of my life has been spent getting me to this point, what have I to show for it?
The answer, of course, is a wonderful wife, a great home, family and friends who are a great part of my life, a couple of novels...
But what have I seen of the world? I've never been outside the country, nor I have I been to many of these United States (or been old enough to remember than I've been to them). I am a home body and there's no denying that. But when I set down to write my memoirs in my golden years I want them to be worth reading. So maybe it's time to wander a bit.
I don't think I could be like Patrick's brothers, Andrew and Robert, who wander the world at a whim pursuing various projects. Andrew just returned from teaching in South Korea. Robert leaves Thursday to return to his graduate work in the Alaskan tundra. But with Bethany, I think I could wander comfortably and enjoy having her to share my adventures with. Europe...the Northern Lights...Seattle...
Maybe we'll start with the French Riviera next summer...