Thursday, June 28, 2007

June 28, 1997

It was the third most exhausting day of my life.

I was 23-years-old... I woke up on the floor of my apartment... with about 7 other guys layin' around... in various stages of hung-over. It was about 7am I guess... which for this particular Saturday... was late.

First things first... shower... shave... far more primping than is otherwise acceptable for a male... but on days like this we make exceptions. Everybody but my buddy Josh went their separate ways. Josh was my wingman today. He'd never leave my side. Thank God.

Things started off calm enough considering... we made it over to mom and dad's house to see some of the family that had come down for the festivities. There was breakfast of some form had... its all a blur to be honest. Then it was time for Josh and I to go pack and head into Nashville.

The plan was to check into the hotel on the way to the church... easy enough... except.. as always... we were running late. The situation didn't get dire of course. We had plenty of time after we ran up to the room and dropped the luggage off. Well... we had plenty of time... until Josh's car decided it was a good time to not start.


I have to be at the Church in like... an hour... and my best man's car won't start. Thankfully a fella at the hotel was able to jump it... and we were on our way... oh but the fun was just getting started.

We arrive at the church late... not insanely late... but late enough that I greeted several guests while I was still wearing shorts and a t-shirt. ugh. I would say that we had no reason to worry... except that Mom and Dad still hadn't arrived.. and they had all the tuxes.

All of them.

I love weddings.

Anyway... roughly 40 minutes before the ceremony was supposed to start they showed up with the tuxes and we could finally suit up. This was an event unto itself. I mean.. we had like 8 guys in this one little room trying to change into tuxes... and most of these guys have only worn a tux once in their whole life.

You can imagine.. my brothers... my friends... dressin' up in penguin suits in hurry.

It was a spectacle.

The whole thing degenerated into a perpetual game of grabass... punctuated by JAC strutting around claim to be the "prettiest". The Father of the Bride was speechless. It was in fact this little episode that moved him to pay me a great compliment... one that is still referenced by my kin folk to this day... He told his daughter after the wedding, "Nathan's a good man. He was just raised rough."

Raised rough.

I still like the sound of that. I suppose I'm getting a bit ahead of myself... now where was I? Ah yes... getting dressed. It was during this mad dash of a dressing that we noted that Dr Who's dad was carrying.

Now I don't know about y'all... but in the south its unwise for one side of a wedding party to be armed whilst the other ain't... so we did the proper thing... and shortly before the music started... we armed ourselves.

I guess that about gets us to the wedding... The music finally started... I tell ya'll... ya can't beat a good Methodist wedding. From the time the music started... to the time the last person was escorted out of the sanctuary... was a total of 16 minutes.

Beat that!

Anyway... I could go on for days about all the things that went wrong...

The day before the wedding the photographer called and cancelled... he was sick. The organist never showed up for rehearsal and played the wrong music. The prick played "here comes the bride" instead of what we requested... which was Wagner. Jerk.

Anyway... One thing I remember about the ceremony was looking at her. When our eyes met.. it was just... With us... I don't know... it was more like the whole time we were sharing an inside joke. It was definitely a, "can you believe this?" sort of experience. This wasn't some whirlwind romance... this was my best friend... and we'd been together for almost 5 years at this point.

I'm sure every wedding has a thousand stories that go along with it... and I've left out more than I've included... I mean... just having all the families there in one church... especially a Methodist church... it was just... I don't know. Most of the day Julie and I were half expecting world war three to break out.

See.. ya think of weddings as a joining of two families. In fact.. there are 4. Bride's mom's family. Bride's dad's family. Groom's mom's family. Groom's dad's family. On top of all this... you have all the friends.

In our case... this was a volatile mixture.

My dad's family is die-hard catholic. His mom has told me and my brothers on several occasions that we're going to Hell because we aren't Catholic.

Contrast this with Julie's Paternal Grandmother... who told me I wasn't a Christian because I wasn't Church of Christ.

Then on my maternal mother's side ya have the Fire and Brimstone Baptists... which mix very well with Julie's mom and immediate family... who at the time were charismatic.

And it wasn't just religion... Julie's family is huge on academics... Both her parents are teachers.. and her paternal grandfather was chair of the mathematics department at a decent sized university. That was fine with my dad's family... who are all various forms of entrepreneurs and engineers... but then... my mom's family... are largely a bunch of good God-fearin' rednecks.

This is even more strange when you consider that my mother is as prim and proper as the day is long... and my dad is a redneck truckdriver. Something is bass-ackwards there... but yet again... I digress.

So on top of this culture clash... Let's say that there was added pressure... in that someone's mother wasn't exactly supportive of this little enterprise. In fact at first she declined to attend at all.

Believe it or not... in spite of all this... there was no bloodshed. There were a few awkward moments... but those are just something we can all laugh about now.

I'll tell ya this though... I've never been happier to see a long white limo in my whole life... It offered escape from the chaos... rest... and finally a chance to be my wife in peace.

We were exhausted... but she was so excited. I hadn't yet told her where we were going on our honeymoon... so on the way to the hotel I explained that we'd be getting up at 4am to fly to the Caribbean.

Ya know looking back on it... its funny how that day sort of sums up our whole marriage. With us... it always seems like there is some kind of chaos around us. Family and friends stirring up various troubles and drama... people thinking we're nuts for the things we do together... for the way we organize our life... for the decisions we make and the timing of those choices... the pressures and screw ups of all kinds from the outside world... but at the center all that, almost isolated from it, ya find my wife and I... content as we can be... sharing that same old inside joke.

On this... the tenth anniversary of our wedding... I'd like to thank God for insulation.

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