At important junctures, Connor is known to become, shall we say, absurdly serious. Here, he and Jess confront the awful spectre of a wedding cake. She remained calm. He later explained that the most terrifying moment of the whole day came just before the wedding began, as he convinced himself that he was going to trip and break his nose on the marble church floor. 2005:08:06 16:36:18
In Zanesville, Ohio, this weekend for the wedding of Jessica and Connor. Foundational members of many of the interlocking cliques making up the extended Mathews House circle -- that motley crew I refer to here nebulously as the Chicago gang, somewhat dispersed though they are now -- they were by far the longest-dating of our couples. The phrase, "Last of the Supercouples," was uttered more than once, with minimal caveats. So it was entirely fitting that as the tented reception wound down, bride and groom bolted for the getaway vehicle through a sparkler smokescreen to REM's It's the End of the World. We're going to have to find an excuse besides weddings to round up the cohorts.
The wedding ceremony was a beautiful Catholic service, fairly traditional but quite relaxed. Celebrating was Fr. Mulhill, imported from the Hyde Park parish in Chicago, and the jovial character reminded me of yet another reason to miss the neighborhood. A self-described and quite smug "good heretic" his sermon, among other things, went into the history behind the number of recognized sacraments (today there are seven; St. Augustine argued for hundreds, but Fr. Mulhill informed us that modern theology posits only one, and that nobody knows what it is). I think he considers Connor a bit of a pet project, and feels that he's done quite well at that. So smug is excusable.
Jess managed to get around admirably in her wedding gown, once the voluminous train was properly bustled up, although she did elect to sit out the group performance of Connor's rather bouncy "Waiting At the Bus Stop" dance. Here, though, she tears up the dance floor with a Connor much closer to his usual self. Except for the suit. Even the priest teased him for wearing real clothes. 2005:08:06 18:45:06
The Catholic marriage service tends to annoy many modern couples, who understandably feel constrained by the proscribed vows, limited selection of readings, and other dictates of form. However, a creative couple partnered with a like-minded priest can, as we saw this weekend, conspire to circumvent much of this. Reading choice and translator's license dispatch the usual and obvious feminist objections to the traditional liturgy. Moreover, as an option that I've too rarely seen exercised, nothing prevents the couple from exchanging personal vows in addition to those liturgically specified.
While thought had clearly gone into them, neither pulled out notes or attempted to recite a speech composed beforehand. Connor waxed ardently philosophical in an intricate metaphor about rings and cycles and love and eternity. Jess admitted conversationally that she can't explain how she knows that their love is real and right, and happily announced that certainty is enough. In their completely divergent styles, each was extemporaneous, earnest, and completely in keeping with their respective personalities. There were many tears among the guests. At least one (who did not know Connor well) was heard to inquire whether the groom might be high. Some proclaimed that their faith in love had been restored. All were moved.