Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Something Old, Something New

I Do!

Over the weekend I traveled to Western Pennsylvania to attend a wedding. The bride is the daughter of an old college buddy, Brad, and his wife Deb. You realize what this means? No amount of Grecian Formula can hide it. I am Old. My friends and I have aged to the point where we don’t just have kids. Our kids are getting married and they’re having kids. My friends are still in their 40’s. Don’t you have to be, like, 78 before you can be a grandparent??

The Ceremony!

I search a crowded church. It’s a gray sea of familiar Old faces. I see the Finalles, the Millers, the Balls, the Murrays, the Kriners, Brad Anderson, Ken States, and the Hoffers. All of my Old friends fill the pews. And once again, Old is the operative word. Look at those wrinkled faces, receding hairlines, and ever-expanding bellies. The playmates of my youth now look like a casting call for a Metamucil commercial. I am saved from this horrifying realization by the first strains of the Wedding March.

The ceremony starts promptly at 5:00pm. The bride, Kacie Jo, is radiant in white. The groom, Daniel, is dashing and debonair. They are sooo young. They are clearly overcome with thoughts of matrimonial bliss. The entire bridal party seems strangely unaware that it is surrounded by the Depends crowd. I don’t remember hearing any promises to Honor and Obey. Only us Old fogies said things like that. There isn't a dry eye in the house. It is a beautiful, moving ceremony. In other words, it is short. We are back on the street in 35 minutes. It is time for,

The Reception!

Two words. Open bar! This is the gold standard for any wedding. If you can get the parents to pay for an open bar, you are a rock star! The families being joined together live in a small town where everybody knows just about everyone. It’s the kind of town where wedding receptions are always held at fire halls and community centers. Dinner is buffet-style. The chow is very good but never too fancy. No Veal ala Especiales in Vichy Brandy Glaze. And thanks to that open bar, the cuisine, the atmosphere, and even the air, tastes better and better as the night wears on. The wedding cake is served. Delicious. I feel my own belly expanding in wrinkled excitement.

In towns like this, musical entertainment is always provided by some DJ known to all as “Magic Mel the Music Man”. Mel is cranking ‘em out. The kids go first. It’s the classic Chicken Dance! Then everyone starts line-dancing. The music is different. But the steps look familiar to my ever-aging brain. It is The Macarena.

I call to the flower girl, Madee. She is a darling. A bright-eyed nymph with ultra-blond ringlets cascading down her shoulders. This innocent child looks up at me, a wheezing, aging Old man. And then, she runs for her life.

Slowly. Very slowly. The geriatrics hit the dance floor. Mel blasts out “Shout!” that immortal "Oldie" from the Animal House movie.

Say that you love me
Say that you need me

We’re all out there, lurching around like a pack of crazed senior citizens whacked out on Geritol.

You know you make me wanna Shout!
Kick my heels up and Shout!

With each chorus of “Shout”, my buddy Dean and I throw up our arms.

Don’t forget to say-ay-ay-ay-ay

Say you will

Say it right now baby

Say you will

Shout! Shout! Shout! We fall to the ground with our hands and feet flailing skyward and wriggle around on our backs just like John Belushi did in the movie. My friends’ children laugh nervously. Maybe these old geezers are having seizures? Maybe somebody should dial 911? Dean and I hobble away. My hernia is acting up. Dean reveals plans for a total knee replacement. Yes, he is balding too.

I look around the dance floor. Now, it’s wall-to-wall teenagers, stomping through a haze of hormones. It is amazing. I was there when these children were born. I used to tickle them and chase them around, giggling as their diapers drooped. Suddenly, they are nearly grown up. I see young women brimming with poise and promise. Their fathers are filled with pride. And terror. Those fathers undoubtedly would like to lock their daughters in a closet until they're 35. Teenage boys are getting too close for comfort. And worse, the girls seem to enjoy it.

The mother of the bride takes over for the bartender. My beer is suddenly filled with foam. Somebody knocks over a candle at the bridal table and the centerpiece bursts into flame. I heroically sacrifice my over-sudsy brew and douse the inferno. The bride and groom are safe.

The End!

My wife Trina and I are among the last to leave. But the teenagers are still reveling in their near adulthood. We leave them still dancing. Their parents sitting. Watching. Gasping for breath. For the record, I would never lock a teenage daughter in the closet. The garage is probably a more secure spot.

Copyright 2008

All rights reserved

No part can be reprinted or reused in any way without express written permission from the author

Photos Courtesy Trina Bauer Photography

1 comment:

bfinalle said...

Great blog Steve thanks! And, thanks to everyone who attended. The family and friends in attendance made it the success it was. We love you all. One minor correction I have to make. The open bar was compliments of the (POG) Parents of the Groom. Thanks Mike and Denise.

FOB (Father of the Bride)