Wedding trip conclusion

November 7th, 2011 | Tags: , , , ,

This weekend has been an exultant blur. Everything about the wedding lined up right–the well-planned schedule, the things that actually coincided with it, and everything else that was off-course but still managed to be right. I am proud to be an official participant in generating documents of historical record as signatory witness to Rob Carlson’s marriage. I helped make it legal. And 200 years from now, barring societal collapse or natural catastrophe, my name will still be in there along with the excellent Jenn Haltmann (Maid of Honor), blushing bride Caitlin Mahoney, the worthy Rob Carlson, and his father, William Carlson. OK, it’s small potatoes. But as a historian, it means something to me :)

Some observations and a hairy story follow below the cut!

I finally cracked 35mpg in the Aluminum Falcon. The leg from northern New Jersey to Ellicott City, MD was the most efficient by far, peaking my overall efficiency at 36.6mpg. It hovered around 34 the whole time, but the turnpike really seemed to be the best place to drive. I got 35mpg going up it, too.

I can’t even begin to address the totality of the excellence of my time this weekend; so many people would be left out, and I would (even with the omissions) be sitting here all night writing. But we made enough beer, and I even got to take a couple of cases back home to finish off and share with friends. The families of the bride & groom in particular were simply extraordinary. I have never, ever, ever been part of a wedding ceremony that was so full of love and warmth. Nearly the whole time, the entire group in the church was cracking up. Including the groomsmen, the bridesmaids, the groom, the bride, and the minister. The sheer mirth of the audience was a reflection of the joy present in the union of Rob Carlson and Caitlin Mahoney, and it was polished to a keen brightness by our shared bonds of family and deep, enduring friendship.

I am also grateful for the way in which the event re-connected all of us who have been spread to the four winds. Dear and cherished friends reunited and picked up conversations as if they had not missed a beat. Without Kathleen Ellis, I would have been a little less on point; her calm support helped me bull my way through all the rigors of being the best man. And boy, was it rigorous. I didn’t have time to sit and chat with everyone I wanted to, but keeping the focus on the important things meant that I was able to see more than I might have if I had instead been flubbing things and needing to spend time fixing them. As it was, I had my own little wedding “emergency,” and I only managed to solve it with the good grace of a complete stranger.

Thursday, I tried on my tux pants. (I happen to own a tux.) Well, they fit in August…but that was about 20 pounds ago. ;-) So I brought a pair of black slacks just in case, and headed up loaded with beer. I hit town in time to bring the decorations and beer to the reception hall, check in to the hotel, shower, change, meet up with one of the other groomsmen, and drive out to the rehearsal. But only just. So after the rehearsal we made our way back to the hotel. Time was getting on–I ended up calling the Men’s Wearhouse in the nearby mall about 15 minutes before closing. One young lady answered, and I proceeded to throw myself at her feet.

I was ready to do anything; I was even willing to buy a new pair of pants. It’s not as if I’ll ever see size 32 again, realistically speaking. But she brushed off all that nonsense, and committed herself to helping me set things right without paying a cent. The problem, she explained, was that she wouldn’t be at the store the next morning–her hard-ass manager would. So she detailed for me the exact phrasing I needed to use with her manager. The important thing was to give off a palpable sense of urgency so that the manager didn’t look into the bag; if she looked into the bag, she would start asking questions, and then the game would be up and I would probably get charged through the nose. I thanked her profusely and hung up with a feeling of elation and a vast unworthiness at a stranger’s generosity.

The next morning, after a refreshing night in the hotel hot tub with the other men and some other close friends, I woke up early, put myself together, and arrived promptly at 10am (the store’s opening time) as my co-conspirator had directed. The manager arrived slightly later than I, which helped set the stage for the transaction. And she was definitely not someone I would have been able to convince to let me borrow a set of tux pants without laying out some serious dough. She was short and severe, and her tone brooked no BS. Fortunately I was armed with the right words, and I employed them like a correctly timed set of C4 explosives. “I have a tuxedo emergency.” Boom! “The young lady (name supplied) set it all up with me last night. It’s in that red re-order bag, right there behind the counter.” Buh-boom! “I’m the best man, and I need to be at the site in thirty minutes.” KRAK-KOOM!! She took my name and number, and with a smile wished me luck. I am so unworthy.

To make a very long story short, we went on to make Rob & Caitlin’s wedding a raging success. I grew as a person over this last year, and it is attributable to the inspiration that they provided by asking me to be their best man. It is with deep and profound reverence that I express here how glad I am to be their friend, and to be able to continue to grow with them in this crazy thing called life.

  1. Kathleen
    November 7th, 2011 at 19:05
    Reply | Quote | #1

    Wait wait, you were a size 32.. just in August? Duuude that was not so long ago. Don’t consign yourself entirely to a lifetime of hopeless fattitude. You’re not 60 yet.

    Anyway. It was a great weekend and I loved every second. Thanks for writing this wonderful follow-up post, for managing everything so well, and for all the more good memories that we have as friends.

  2. Steve Killen
    November 7th, 2011 at 19:35
    Reply | Quote | #2

    Well, I fit into them in August. I won’t go so far as to say I was a size 32 in August. ;-)

    Keep rocking out, rock star!