Biff’s summer of love
Vail, CO, Colorado
The bride beamed like a woman who was marrying the man she had known since childhood, treasured since her teens and had waited for through college, law school and war. Mixed with the love and pride was relief that her husband had returned from the Middle East unharmed and mostly unchanged. The joy we all felt watching them walk down that aisle was magnified by the realization of what might have been.
When the couple walked off the altar, fists in the air, I imagined that gesture to mean: “Take that! We are no longer pawns of a government, military, or foreign policy. We are safe and surrounded by those who love us.”
It was one of those times when good things happen to good people.
When James, my nephew, and Julie kissed, I was bawling like Paris Hilton on “Sloppy Joe” night in prison ” and the bar hadn’t even opened yet.
This was your typical Boston, mostly Irish, Catholic wedding. Many of those attending had known the couple since before they were born. The parents wore expressions of love and liberation, the bridesmaids looked like satin angels, and one of the groomsmen sported a black eye from a fist-fight from crashing another wedding the night before.
I sat with my five brothers and sisters. There was love, history and a fair amount of wrinkles and scars at that table; I would not have it any other way. My mate was attending a family reunion, so I was on my own. Luckily, I had my sisters to dance with, none of whom would allow me to lead. My sister Martha and I were moving like a couple twice our age when we slipped and crashed on the dance floor. Luckily, the only thing we injured was our clothing.
This was the second of five weddings I will attend this summer. The first one my wife and I crashed.
We were traveling in Southern Colorado when we heard that many of our friends would be celebrating the union of two gals. Though we didn’t know either the bride or the bride, we thought that they would really like us, so we showed up.
Monk and Angela’s wedding was as counter-culture as my nephew’s was traditional (they spray-painted their wedding dresses black). That said, there was much in common: love, dedication and the good wishes of those attending. Just like Julie and Jimmy had to overcome the odds of time and war, those two women had fought and won the battle of intolerance. When they kissed, I remember feeling grateful that I live in an era where all types of love can be celebrated.
I don’t think it mattered to anyone attending that wedding that our government does not recognize the union; our government knows as much about love as it does about nation rebuilding.
In love, all things are possible.
With two weddings down and three to go, I find myself thinking of the marital institution.
Every celebration I’ll attend this summer will reflect the personalities, faith and history of those involved. My best friend – an eternal optimist – will marry for the third time; I’ll officiate the ceremony. My sister-in-law, after two master’s degrees and one doctorate, has found time to marry a man she met online and who all agree is a perfect match for her.
And finally, my niece – born in China and raised in Boston – will wed a man who loves her enough to marry into my crazy family.
Each culture, faith and family have their own and distinct marital traditions and superstitions. What all have in common is the optimism that this marriage will endure where many others have failed.
Before I got married, someone told me being married “changes everything.” I told him I hoped he was wrong. He was.
Whether it is for 15 minutes or 50 years, love is the most elegant aspect of the human condition. And though a “marriage” is no more necessary to love as a squirt gun is to hunting, the institution to me is a declaration of faith – not necessarily in God, but in each other.
And when you put friends, families and a couple in love in one room and throw in good food, music and an open bar, a wedding can be as much fun as the honeymoon. Just beware of a slippery dance floor and a partner who has been drinking.
Jeffrey Bergeron, under the alias of Biff America, can be seen on RSN TV, heard on KOA radio, and read in several newspapers and magazines. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Biff’s book “Steep, Deep and Dyslexic” is available from local book stores or at Backcountrymagazine.com.
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