Sunday, 26 August 2007
July 21st, 2007
Outside my parents’ window is a perfect summer day and I breathe a sigh of relief and a prayer of thanks. Down in the field are two white tents framed against a blue, blue sky: not a cloud in sight. Today Emma and I are getting married.
My Mom Frances and my Step-Dad Don have very generously agreed to host the wedding at their house in the Ontario countryside and this is where Emma and I are now, an hour and a half North of Toronto. Friends and family are converging on the house and some folks are already down by the tents setting up tables and tablecloths and centerpieces. I plunge into work, rolling round tables across the grass.
My Groomsmen arrive and plunge in, too: stringing up lights, carting boxes of booze down from the house. Margie (Mother of The Bride, Mother-In-Law-To-Be) comes down from the house with a basket of freshly made sandwiches, which we gobble down gratefully. More people arrive-- The Photographer, The D.J. Time blends by and the wedding grounds miraculously transform, a full banquet hall emerging from piles of random gear like a butterfly emerging fully formed from an old cocoon.
An army of caterers arrive and fan out, taking care of the finishing touches. My best man Iain hustles me and the other groomsmen back to the house to get dressed.
Inside the house people are everywhere, rushing around and getting things done: The Quartet, The Florist, a madcap flurry of coordination and logistics. Emma and her Bridesmaids are getting their hair done and the photographer is snapping off shots. Best Man Iain shelters me from the activity and leads us down into the basement. We emerge about twenty minutes later to meet The Minister for the Wedding run-through which is like an Abbot and Costello routine: “Wait-- who goes first?” But The Minister is very patient with us and we get it all worked out.
And then it is time. My Best Man nods to me. “Let’s go.” Outside The Quartet is Quartet-ing and guests are piling into the Ceremony Tent, dresses and light summer suits glowing in the sun. The Minister, the groomsmen and I pause a few feet from the tent and Emma-- radiant, glowing-- and her bridesmaids come down from the house.
The Quartet kicks into the wedding processional and we walk down the aisle. At the front of the tent Emma and I turn to face each other: wide eyes and smiles. Ring bearer Ji (who you might remember from The Tulip) in his tiny tuxedo very solemnly brings the rings. Do I, Adam, take this woman to be my lawfully wedding wife? I do. We kiss among the applause and the Quartet plays us from the tent.
Then photos, cocktails, dinner. The caterers have put on a magnificent spread. Smoked prime rib, BBQ chicken, veggie pasta. Em and I make the rounds: handshakes, hugs and backslaps. Everything and everybody looks great. I can’t stop smiling. We dance our first dance: “You Are Adorable” by Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry. We won’t be going on ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ anytime soon, but we have fun.
The seal broken, folks flood onto the dance floor: my cousins, my brother and his fiancee and my Dad, boppin’ around the dance floor in his sunglasses like a 1940s Jazz Hipster.
Hours go by. In the corner of the tent there is a rustle of catering activity and folks start lining up for The Midnight Snack. Originally Em and I wanted a poutine truck AKA a chip wagon AKA a concessions truck to come rollin’ in around midnight to be greeted by shouts and cheers and much rejoicing from the crowd but alas, the caterers’ concessions truck was already booked so we got the next best thing: hot dogs, hamburgers and poutine, the fresh-cut fries deep-fried on the premises. As my buddy and fellow Burger Quester Beau put it: “I saw somebody walking by with poutine... I’m not such a poutine fan. Then I saw someone with a hot dog and thought, well... maybe I’ll get a hot dog. Then I saw someone with a hamburger and said, “they have HAMBURGERS?!?”
Yes, indeed we did. I wish I could say that this burger was IT, that mythic perfect burger from my Texas childhood, the best hamburger I have ever eaten. I wish I could say The Quest ends here at my wedding-- the classic Shakespearean ending-- but alas, it does not. This burger is lukewarm, cooked from a frozen patty, the kind of burger one wolfs down while walking the midway at the fairgrounds, heading for the whack-a-mole game or the bumper cars. Burger fuel: a sustenance burger. Still, I munch it happily. This burger is not about the mythic past or the distant future, this burger is about The Now. I am in the middle of the moment, a huge grin on my face. I am married to the woman I love and we are surrounded by family and friends, wrapped in a swirl of love, hope, happiness, hamburgers.