Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Our Flashy Wedding

Molly and I went to a wedding this past weekend. The bride was a friend of ours, a woman a couple years older than 1F, who is also a birth-mother of a six-year-old boy (her son, and his adoptive family, were at the wedding, and it was a personal highlight for me to meet them). Her willingness to share with us about her experience of birth-motherhood has been wonderfully helpful to us through 1F’s experience. And I think she has appreciated hearing about my experience with my birth-mother, as well.


Of course, I have many memories of our wedding day. I remember washing my car in the morning, more to kill a couple hours until I had to be at the church, than because my car was so dirty (this ‘what to do until you have to be at the church’ question is a major one for grooms; I’m given to understand that brides don’t typically find themselves at quite such a loss for how to fill their mornings. . .)

Once I arrived at the church, there really wasn’t all that much for me to do. All my groomsmen showed up in a timely manner, my brothers took their places as ushers, and I just took some chill time in the sacristy, as the guests started to arrive.

About a half-hour or so before the wedding was supposed to begin, my head-usher, a guy I’ll call ‘Tom’ for purposes of this story, with whom I’d shared a house while I was in grad school, came into the room where I was relaxing, a concerned look on his face. “Ummm. . .” he began. (I don’t know; it just seems to me that your head usher coming to you a half-hour before your wedding, saying “Ummm. . .” is probably not a good thing). “Ummm. . . there’s a retarded guy out in the parking lot, exposing himself to the guests as they arrive.”

I just stared at him, blankly.

“So, what do you want me to do?” he asked, as I contemplated the image of my grandmother being greeted in the church parking lot by a retarded flasher. The fact that it was a Catholic church parking lot is probably worth noting, because my family is not Catholic, and some of them, possibly including my grandmother, held less-than-flattering opinions of Catholics and Catholicism.

“Huh?” I replied, quickly grasping the gravity of the situation.

“What do you want me to do?”

“Tom,” I replied, with all the mellowness I could muster at that point, “I asked you to be my head-usher so I wouldn’t have to think about stuff like this. I’m sure you can figure something out.”

For a couple seconds, he stared back at me. “Right,” he finally said, and hustled off.

I’m told that the police were called, and our flasher friend was relocated away from the church parking lot before too many of our guests’ retinas were seared with images of his genitalia. The wedding proceeded without too many further glitches, Molly and I were well and thoroughly married to each other, and the rest, as they say, is history.


We like to tell young couples planning their weddings to not be too concerned that everything goes off perfectly, because every wedding has something that goes not-quite-according-to-plan. I was at a wedding once, where the bride’s veil accidentally caught fire when it brushed too close to the Unity Candle (a quick-thinking Maid of Honor averted catastrophe in that case). At another wedding we were at, the Best Man passed out cold, and spent most of the wedding being attended to by a doctor off to the side of the church. Those are both pretty good stories, and good examples of What Can Go Wrong at Your Wedding.

But our story of our wedding flasher always makes their eyes get real wide. “And besides,” we always tell them, “if things go really wrong, you’ll have a great story to tell. . .”


Trueself said...

Wow, I didn't realize how much management potential you have until reading this story.

“Tom,” I replied, with all the mellowness I could muster at that point, “I asked you to be my head-usher so I wouldn’t have to think about stuff like this. I’m sure you can figure something out.”

Wicked delegation skills = Definite management material!

lime said...

a flasher huh? that is quite the story!

our ceremony went largely as planned. it was the reception that got odd. we held it at an elks lodge. at about 10:45 pm the head elk came to us and said, 'at 11 we turn out the lights for a moment of remembrance for lodge brothers. light goes back on, no problem. just wanted you to know." our reception had only started at 9 so it was right in the middle of things but what were we going to say. we assumed it meant click...darkness for a moment....click....light again. nooooo, it meant that for 10 minutes in the middle of your reception we and all our guests sat in the dark listening to an extended tribute to dead elk brethren everywhere. definitely bizarro. definitely memorable.

FTN said...

I might just start using this line

Ummm. . . there’s a retarded guy out in the parking lot, exposing himself to the guests as they arrive

every time I go to a wedding.

Most guys definitely don't have the "run around and panic" thing going on before a wedding. I know I didn't at mine. I found a wheelchair at the church and my brother was pushing me around in my tux, doing wheelies and racing down the hallways, ala Tom Cruise in "Days of Thunder."

Until we got a dirty look from someone who must have been in charge of something.

Cocotte said...

I have no good stories. We got hitched without a hitch!

But that is some story you have to tell, Desmond. Was there a group home near the church or something??

Tulipsanticipation said...

I loved your comment to your usher, that is so true. Especially as the bride, you just have to essentially let go and trust that everyone else will handle things.

It was funny at my friends wedding recently. The two mothers of the couple lit the unity candle instead of the other two candles the couple were to use to light the unity candle themselves. A couple of groomsmen discreetly blew out the unity candle and lit the other two.

F2 said...

A flasher? For real? You and Molly have the most interesting life! :D

for a different kind of girl said...

On our wedding day, in the midst of photos prior to the ceremony, my soon-to-be husband and his best man were no longer needed for a brief time. I bid him farewell, assuming he'd stay behind in the santuary to watch me have photos taken, basking in the glow that was me and all our love filling the room on this, the most special of days we were sharing as a couple.

A few photos later, I realized that neither Tool Man nor his best man were anywhere to be found. This was affirmed for me by several people who came up to me and say "Tool Man and his best man are nowhere to to found!"

About half an hour later, in saunters then-not-Tool Man and his best man, eating delicious Blizzard-like treats (not DQ sanctioned!) from the ice cream shop next to the church. His was ice cream was massive and loaded with delicious peanut butter cup goodness, and he was eating it with the biggest icre cream-eatin' grin I'd ever seen. Please bear in mind I'd not eaten for hours and up to that point, assumed I'd not eat for hours more. I sashayed up to my fiancee and asked how he got the ice cream. I also asked where mine was. He grinned, said he went next door, and "the guy at the counter took pity on me in my tux when I told him I was getting married today, that he gave this to me for free!"


If you ask him today, less than a month from our glorious 14th wedding anniversary, what the highlight of October 15, 1994, was, he will not tell you how beautiful he thought his wife-to-be was, but instead how delicious and gloriously free that psuedo-Blizzard was! I swear to you! In fact, I feel like calling him right now and asking him, just to prove it!

Desmond Jones said...

Truey - Gee, thanks. . . I didn't realize you held such a nasty opinion of me. . . :)

I'm usually not a very great 'delegator'; but on my wedding day, I just didn't want to have to think about 'stuff'. . . And, by golly, 'Tom' handled the situation quite well, as a matter of fact. . .

Lime - I'm sort-of imagining a couple guys up in the control room, snickering to each other about "I can't believe they swallowed the 'tribute-to-dead-Elks' bit. . ." I can see how that would stick in your memory, tho. . . ;)

FTN - Somehow, I have no trouble imagining you and your brother playing 'wheelchair races' down the church hallway. I'm a little surprised that an officious dirty look was all it took to get you to stop. . . ;)

Cocotte - Awww, no glitches? How sad for you! ;)

I think there was a group home in the neighborhood. But, my memories of the guy (admittedly, from 28+ years ago) are not that he was really 'high-functioning' enough to be living in a group home. . . So, I'm not really sure exactly where he came from. Not, of course that it really matters. . .

Tulip - See, you understand. The task of the bride and groom is just to smile (radiantly, in the bride's case), say 'I do' at the appropriate time, and get thru the day. . . Somebody else should be taking care of the flashers in the parking lot. . .

("OK, Ed; did you arrange for the parking-lot flashers? What? You DIDN'T? Well, that's just GREAT!")

F2 - Well, you know, there's an ancient Chinese curse to the effect of having an 'interesting' life. . . But I'll be damned if I know what I ever did to any ancient Chinese people. . .

faDKoG - You know, what's almost as galling as not-yet-the-Tool-Man not sharing, is that they ice cream guy gave it to him as an act of pity! I mean, this is YOU we're talkin' about! This should be his Lou-Gehrig, 'Luckiest Man on the Face of the Earth' moment, and he's getting a 'sucks-for-you-dude' free ice cream.

And I haven't even mentioned the KAR which was soon to become a permanent feature of his own young life. . . ('cuz, you know, we're tryin' to elevate the tone around here. . .)

(*snort*) (*chortle*)

(sorry; I shouldn't try to keep a straight face on stuff like that)

Therese in Heaven said...

A great story indeed!

We had so much drama at our wedding, that it ended up with me breaking down bawling in front of all our guests. I still can't think about our wedding day without mortification because I HATE when people see my cry. (sigh)

Desmond Jones said...

Therese - Gosh, I don't remember you ever telling any stories about your wedding. Did I miss it, or should I start prodding you to blog about it?