July 14, 2008

Thoughts After a Wedding

I have no memories of this church, so different from its precursor at which I served. This one feels more like a funeral or massage parlor, what with the comfort-sound of tumbling water (the Baptismal font) and colored windows so content-free that they could appeal simultaneously to either the grieving of any religious persuasion or the stressed housewife. It’s certainly a church desiring not to give offense, quietly whispering either “I’m sorry for your loss” or “your quads are so tight!”.

Except for a fine rendition of “Ave Maria” the music at the service was often uninspiring or unsingable and, in the case of one song in particular, cloying to the point of nails-on-chalkboard. But don’t believe me: four out of five Protestants will agree that music isn’t American Catholicism’s strong point these days.

But I digress. The priest is likable and enthusiastic and confident. And the purpose is prayer for the couple, and it feels like such a necessary prayer as they'll surely need it, as all couples do...

* * *

Wedding receptions with family I hadn’t seen in awhile can seem almost like high school reunions in which the preoccupation can be to be observing the varying effects of age on the human body. Unfortunately.

It’s July in Ohio and so therefore hot and humid (I hear them laughing in Texas), but this day not unbearably so. A mosquito bites me on the arm and I wonder if it’s West Nile.

There were people I hadn't seen before, specifically the Brahmins from Boston. One was originally named Bill who had renamed himself Will. But have you really successfully renamed yourself if other people (like Mom & Mark) mention that you were originally X and now you’re Y?

It’s funny but I never thought of renaming yourself an option. It would have to be a pain for future family genealogists. Like Will (I mean Bill) O’Reilly, I’m pro-parental rights, which includes the right to name their offspring whatever they want. Worse, it seemed changing his name was superfluous from a superficial point of view since he was the sort of handsome leading man who would've made Cary Grant envious. Slim and silver-haired and the brother of my now departed aunt. Mom told me about how aunt's eyes, in her last days, were so different, so cold and dead. It was because she was so warm in life that the eyes that the disparity was so startling. It reminds me of the vulnerability sickness incurs, and how I used to fear that on my death bed I would in a feverish haze uncontrollably say curse words and x-rated words, like those with Tourette’s syndrome. Now I fear different things. Given enough time you move on I suppose.

A family member succinctly described the dilemma alcohol presents when she got up to speak to someone she didn’t know well – saying you don’t want to approach them given how much wine you’ve had, but at the same time it’s the wine that gives you the impetus to approach them. Life is full of catch-22’s…

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