Faithful readers, I must apologize for not reporting earlier on my Dad's wedding of last week, but I was hoping someone would send me some photos . . .and now I'm kinda glad they didn't
( as family truly is the root of all embarrassment ).
O.k., The day started with your monkster freakin' out that his black Dockers no longer fit ( ie. broken heart creates flabby butt), but I figured my nice new $20 Walmart jacket would cover any unsightly bulge. Then I went for a quick walk with God, and prayed for my selfishness to be removed, and asked our Blessed Lady and St. Rose to pray for me.
Driving up to Baltimore ( say Bawl -mer) I tried to write the perfect Best Man toast - one with laughter and a tear or two, and a reminder that marriage is about two people helping each other get to Heaven (and if you know us McCleary's, we need a LOT of help). Naturally my father called three bazillion times during my ride up to see where I was (O.K.,he only called twice, but I love to say Bazillion), and as odd as it sounds for those of ya that know me, I actually was on time!?!
Driving into the parking lot of the very church I was baptized and confirmed (actually on the same day . . .those wacky Protestants), I noticed the Boy Scouts were having a fund raiser and were selling fertilizer, which I thought was a perfect metaphor on how us McCleary men gets our women.
As I entered the church, Pastor John graciously asked if I would do the reading during the ceremony, and naturally I agreed. He then also asked if I could do the blessing at the reception, to which I also agreed, as well as asked if I got half his pay for the day (heh, I was doing a lot more work than he was).
I quickly changed into my suit, and ran to my car to get my reading glasses so I could in fact read the Bible verse (although it was 1 Cor 13, the wedding standard, and I had it almost memorized anyway). Outside, I greeted family and friends, and quickly changed the subject when folks tried to bring up MY wedding.
After getting the ring, I kidded my step mom that I was off to the pawn shop, which was a joke (pawn shops are closed on Sunday, silly). I said another prayer before the altar, again asking for my focus to be on my father's happiness. My dad looked great, as did my new step mom, and pretty much everyone else. Quite a lovely day actually.
I found it odd that this old long hair wanted to desperately now give my brother a haircut and shave. His long black hair, mixed with a gottee, is a rather sinister combination, but I must say, he did have a rather stylish suit on. I also found myself feeling a bout of self pity, as although my brother's lifestyle (shackin' up with someone he ain't married to) is basically him choosing daily to spit in face of the God he once loved, he does at least get someone to share his fractured life with.
O.K. um, so the service starts, the pastor mentions a few words about best friends (which does describe my dad and stepmother), and than yours truly reads all of 1 Cor 13 (only mumbling a couple a times), and then the rings are exchanged. I must admit, the feeling of having that ring in my hand, and the memory of last summer's engagement folly, was ripping at my healing heart like a thousand razors (but it ain't about me, now is it). Then Pastor John introduced the couple as Mr. And Mrs. Richard McCleary, and bam!, I had's me a new mommy (O:
As per usual, my beloved niece and nephew chose to ride to the reception with me afterward, and asked if we could go to Starbucks first (they know their uncle sooo well!). I am at this point still trying to figure out what the heck to say for both the toast, and the blessing, as well as trying to figure if I can/should make the Sign of the Cross at any point (as I am da only Catholic in my familia, and some folks still ain't all that happy about it). I am not ashamed of my faith in any way, but this is my Dad's day, and I needed to be mindful of that.
The Hall was an old place just outside of da city, where as a kid I would open doors in the hopes of a tip, so as to feed my Twizzler addiction. This was of course the first time I had ever been inside, and it was pretty much as you'd expect any wedding hall (big open rectangle, cheesy chandeliers, and mirrored walls). Then Mr, DJ-guy informs me that I do the blessing and toast together, and in five minutes . . .Lord give me strength!
O.K., I do the "tap tap tap" on the plastic glass (plastic glass?), to get every ones' attention, and start by apologizing to them for having to listen to me yet again. I then ask my brother and sisters to stand, and start with us welcoming our stepmom into our family, and to also say that the limo doubles as a getaway car if she is having second thoughts (just a kiddin'). I mention that love is seeing the person behind all the "stuff", and loving that person despite the "stuff", and that there is a greater Love that you should constantly point the other to. This was my segway into the blessing, to which I began with a reminder of Who the real Best Man is. I begged invitation from our Lord, that He would come join us for this wedding feast, and bless the couple with His presence all their days. In Jesus' name, all God's people say "Amen!"
I sit down, and then the DJ reminds everybody to actually do a toast , as with the whole toast/blessing thing, I kinda forgot that little detail, "Doh!"
The food is served, and sadly there was only Coors beer served, so I drank water (on Monday, I promptly told my pal Josh, that a six pack of "good" beer must be at his wedding , where I also be the best man). I walked around and mingled with my dad's coffee buddies, with their stories giving me a different view of a man I had little in common with, except blood. All told me of things he had done for them, of his love for Dotti, and surprisingly his pride for me (he was proud of me?, wow, I no longer needed that, but it sure felt good anyway).
I also made the mistake of telling a table of my relatives that I was discerning a religious vocation, which left several speechless (an unheard of trait in the McCleary clan). My aunt did respond by saying "but you're too cute!", and I told her I would bring up that detail to my spiritual director (as he had never pointed out that particular revelation).
My sisters danced, I danced (yes even sober, some white men can dance), everyone danced. They even danced to my only requested song "the Chicken Dance" (you can keep the "cha cha slide", just give me some polka anytime . . . .a polka "cha cha slide" hmmmm?).
All in all I made it through the day, and will always remember the smile on my dad's face, as I imagined the smile on the face of our true Father.
A little side note, a good friend pointed out that the fact that I went, and even played such an important role, was evidence of how far our Lord has taken me.
Thank You Jesus! Praise His name forever!