Let me just go on record here: I LOVE a wedding. I love everything about a wedding. I love brides, I love fancy dress, I love vows, and processions, and boutonnieres. I love “signature drinks” and spending an hour meeting new people while the wedding party gets the pictures taken. I love matching dresses, whether it’s matching colors or matching styles. I’m less fond of both in combination. I love the burst of optimism that causes two people to declare they they commit themselves to each other until death. I love how the married people in attendance look at each other, and you can see them remembering their day in the sun. I love watching a newly married couple take that First Dance. Invariably they have things to say to each other. I like to think these things are saturated in romance, and they are things like “I love you so much!” and “You are the sun and moon to me!” but – from personal experience – I think they are usually things like “Thank god we made it through the ceremony without screwing something up!” or “Uh-Oh, Uncle Jack has been hitting the bar pretty hard already.” and “God almighty, my feet are killing me”. And, my personal favorite, “Oh, My God, we are MARRIED!!!!”
The one thing I do know about that first dance is that the couple is the absolute center of attention, and yet, no other person exists in the world for them, not for the space of time during which the music is playing.
And I love that too. All of it. Because, and I say this from my vast portion of personal experience, ALL of those things – from “I love you so much!” to “Uncle Jack” to “My feet!” to “OMG WE ARE MARRIED!!!” – these things are ALL vital, important, and regular threads in the fabric of marriage.
We attended the wedding of the first daughter of a friend of Roy’s of exceedingly long duration. This sounds a lot better, and is more accurate, than saying that she is the daughter of one of Roy’s oldest friends. She’s the same age he is, for one, and she looks a good 15 years younger. The wedding, soup to nuts, preliminary festivities through the rocking out on the dance floor, was a superb event.
Holy crap…I’m writing this while Roy has the tube on in the backround, and I just realized what it’s running is Close Encounters…and at the same time, had one of those appalling realizations as I said “Oh my God, is that Richard Dreyfuss?!?!” He looks like he’s 25 years old in this movie as he sculpts his mashed potatoes. And Teri Garr looks like Jail Bait.
This is not a complete non-sequitur. The DJ started rocking the floor with some ripping great dance tunes from the 80s. I consider this to be the pinnacle of Dance Music in Our Age, so I considered this a good move. Then I also considered the age of the bride, the groom, and their friends, and it hit me like a glass of ice water poured down the spine.
The DJ was playing these songs as Oldies.
My high school music is Oldies now.
Which means that I am Old.
I don’t feel that way, I tell you. One of the most valuable pieces of advice I ever received was from an octogenarian in a writing group of which I was a member years ago. One of the other young women asked her what it was like to be in her 80s. She looked around the group calmly, smiled at us all, and said “My dears, you are the same person at 80 that you are at 20. You don’t turn into a different person because you’ve aged. Some people get distracted and try to talk themselves into being a different person, but the person you were as a young adult will be the same person you are until the day you die.”
I, for one, considered this both to be a curse and the most reassuring thing I’d ever heard. The message, to some degree, was “You’d better learn to like yourself, because that’s who you are.” Or, in the immortal words off the immortal Buckaroo Banzai, “Wherever you go, there you are.”
Somewhere in there, the DJ rocks some hip-hop, then tells us “Here’s something for those of you over forty who have a hard time getting your freak on.” and he queues up Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing”.
I ran into him two minutes later at the bar and gave him a hard time over this. Forty? I asked how old he was. Thirty was the answer. Another ten years and he’ll be wondering what on earth he was thinking to say something like that. Time will deliver that Truth, just as it comes to us all.
That hubris and chilling moment aside, the evening went as well as any bride could possibly have hoped. It was enough to make me almost want to get married again. To the same person, just a second wedding, because the first one was so much fun.
In other areas, we got lucky with the weather, and had a crystal clear day with plenty of sun and a breeze substantial enough to discourage the insects. We shipped the bikes over to Chappy (Chappaquiddick) on the ferry, and had a delightful ride. Then we set out for “up island” which is really what most people would think of as “down island” to Roy’s favorite eating shack ever, The Bite. Or, as I think it was called years ago, The Bight. Or maybe it”s just The Bite on the bight. No telling, but what I do know is that they serve up an absolutely heavenly quahog (co-hog) chowder. This chowder is everything that a chowder should be. It is everything a chowder might be. Beyond that, I had a helping of the coconut shrimp. I will never order coconut shrimp from any other place, ever again. Except, possibly, in Jamaica. But no domestic place. This coconut shrimp was sublime. The batter was more coconut than anything else. It was fresh, juicy, shredded coconut. It was fried to absolute crispness with no hint of burning. None. The shrimp was large and juicy. No other coconut shrimp can compare. No other coconut shrimp deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as this coconut shrimp. This coconut shrimp defines the concept and practice of coconut shrimp. It is the coconut shrimp against which all over shrimp must be compared.
What more could a person ask? A scenic bike ride, a scenic drive, perfect weather, the freshest possible seafood, and a wedding. Nothing is lacking from this day. Nothing.