It seems to me that at my time of life I shouldn’t be getting myself into predicaments, that is, those conditions or situations which are, “difficult, unpleasant, embarrassing, or sometimes comical,” (Webster’s) – yet somehow I manage to do so. To understand this latest one we have to go back several years.
On a whim, you know, just for the fun of it, I decided to go online and check out one of those “You, too, can be a minister” sites. (One of our sons had kinda egged me on to do it but it was my choice – nobody twisted my arm.) Anyway when I logged on, it looked interesting so I signed up, complete with the required fee. Sure enough I got a package with my credentials showing I was an ordained minister. Well, to see just how valid these credentials were, I forwarded a copy, along with an application and check, to the Secretary of State of Ohio, and guess what? I got back a certificate titled: “Authority to Solemnize Marriages” stating I am “…hereby authorized and Licensed to Solemnize Marriages within this State…”. How about them apples?
Well, I put all that paperwork away and hadn’t thought about it until it resurfaced in an unusual way. What happened was that we have a grandson who has had a girlfriend for several years – a young lady we really like. From time to time I would give him some grandfatherly advice such as, “Don’t let her get away. She’s a keeper.” About a year ago I told him (with her within earshot) “When you two decide to get married, let me know. I’ll do it for free.” Oops!
You guessed it. A few months ago they called my bluff and told me they wanted me to officiate at their wedding. They had already set the date and reserved the venue. All I had to do was to perform the ceremony – right! The immediate question that popped up was, “What ceremony? I don’t know anything about conducting a marriage ceremony.” What a predicament.
As it turned out they (meaning she) had some specific things to be included and while others were definitely out so I did get some guidance, but I was still expected to come up with an appropriate service. After due consideration I scrapped what I was thinking about for my opening announcement, “If anyone here figures there’s a reason these younguns shouldn’t get hitched, speak up now or keep your trap shut later.” Probably needed a bit of polish, doncha think?
One difficulty has been that they live quite a ways from here so we have to rely on e-mail, an occasional phone call or Skype, and even the US Postal Service snail mail for some exchanges. To further complicate matters they both have jobs – she on shift work and he in a supervisory position which means he may have to work late on occasion or be called back in. Yep, trying to get all three of us together has been challenging, but most things have worked out – but not all.
Most weddings have a rehearsal at the wedding site where the various participants do a “walk-through” to get a feel for how the ceremony will proceed – you know, “at this point the bride will hand her bouquet to … at this point the bride and groom will turn and face each other” and stuff like that. The object of the rehearsal is to reduce the probability of confusion and possible embarrassment during the actual ceremony. Unfortunately, the logistics preclude this step so there will be a certain amount of “winging” it – but I’ve been “winging” it for years – it’s just that folks don’t realize how much.
Well, one nice thing is that all the wedding participants and guests are members of the families of the bride or groom. Yep, there will be the parents of the bride and the groom, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, cousins, an assortment of in-laws – and to top it off the presiding minister will be the groom’s grandfather. After the “I do’s” are said and I pronounce the couple man and wife, the entire group will be just one big family related somehow by blood or marriage.
By the time this is published the event will be over with the happy couple being on their honeymoon and our being back home recovering from both the celebration and the multi-day trip. I expect we’ll take some time to contemplate everything that’s happened – including gaining a very nice granddaughter-in-law. I imagine we’ll also think about how I might avoid these predicaments I keep getting myself into – or if we even want to. Kinda adds a bit of excitement in our otherwise rather humdrum lives and even at our age we can still manage a bit of excitement. At least that’s how it seems to me.
Bill Taylor, a Greene County Daily columnist and area resident, may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.