It's hard to believe that it was only one week and a half ago that I walked my daughter, Vanessa, down a very long aisle--it was down a grassy hill--for her wedding. Despite much concern during the preceding week, when the weather had been, at best, changeable, that Sunday turned out to be a glorious day.
As my eminently practical spouse, Eileen, put it, most directly and accurately, everything worked. To me, it was a miracle, and in the words of Thomas Heggen's Mr. Roberts, not a very small miracle at that. Much of the ceremony and reception had been planned by Vanessa and Dave: the band, the string quartet, the photographer, the florist, the chuppah, the rabbi, the "signature" cocktails. Truly, I had seen none of the above before the day itself.
What had I had anything to do with? I had happened to join the pair for one of three scheduled cake tastings and lo and behold, that was the one they picked, with my enthusiastic concurrence. They had tasted the first candidate's product without my being present, and it turned out that none of us made it to the third. Terrific cake--I know, what's the big deal about the cake, but when did you last taste a wedding cake that was distinguished?
Yes, I did suggest that the men of the wedding party wear white jackets, dark trousers, and cobalt blue bowties to match the bridesmaids' dress color. And yes, I recruited my friend Noah to help the ties get tied, as well as to bring down the house later with his rendition of "It's Delightful, It's Delicious, It's De-lovely." And I agreed to escort the bride to the accompaniment of Motown's My Girl.
Somehow it all clicked. Most important was that everyone seemed to be having a great time. I'm still not quite sure what goes into their drink, the Middletown Mule, but it tasted fine, reminiscent of the gin gimlets the better half and I used to enjoy. In my dotage, I've come to welcome the non-alcoholic special offering, an Arnold Palmer, more often, although my golf game still hasn't improved since I gave it up in my teens.
Everyone who wanted to was filling the dance floor, and the band played a nice mix of music from across the decades. They even lowered the volume from the opening roar so that we might hear ourselves converse at the tables, well, at least the ones in the back where we were. I only suspect one guest was prompted to depart posthaste by the initial loudness--not too bad for a fairly large party.
Was it worth it? Well, not only did the exuberance of the happy couple go a long way toward assuring me that it was, but it appeared that everyone else was also having a fine time, including me. Perhaps in the end, it was the weather most of all, but the rabbi exceeded my expectations--admittedly low based on my experience of many abysmal officiants at previous nuptials--and the band did too.
Everyone enjoyed the quartet playing outside during drinks, even if they couldn't always be heard above the din. I thought for a moment of the scene in John O'Hara's story, The Flatted Saxophone, where the narrator describes that perfect sound of an instrument at a wedding party that puts you in just the right mood of happiness, comfort, and, yes, appreciation.