I'll go with thee to the lane's end... I am a kind of burr, I shall stick. Shakespeare, Measure for Measure

I write not to teach but to learn. Rebecca West

drew's writing:

  • "Always Forever Now," Ideomancer volume 13, issue 2
  • "Black Sun," Black Static # 32
  • "Bread or Cake" and "Pride/Shame,"2nd Annual Philadelphia One-Minute Play Festival
  • "Copper Heart," Polluto Magazine issue 5, A Steampunk Orange
  • "The Accomplished Birder's Guide to Overcoming Rejection," Last Drink Bird Head, edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer
  • "Another Night With the Henriksens," Player's Theater Halloween One-Act Festival NYC 2008
  • "Hating the Lovers," and "Pipe Down!" Geez Magazine: Thirty Sermons You Would Never Hear in Church
  • "Beth/slash/Nathan," Paper Fruit Blogiversary Contest

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

jane is the girl of the hour

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Brad and Angelina can't have been photographed more than Jane and her bridegroom were last weekend. My camerado and I went up to our friend's wedding in Northern Tier Pa, to the small town where the groom's parents live. Jane's parents live one town over; her cousins went to school with the groom's siblings, and though the families have known each other for years, the bride and groom only met two years ago--at the funeral of a man who was a friend to both families. So he was the invisible guest this weekend.

(Wiktionary says guest and ghost are etymologically related, if only hypothetically.)

The bridesmaids were supposed to be, according to Jane, sexy, in tiny bowler hats, fishnets, and short cocktail dresses (in autumnal colors). Only one bridesmaid, an athletic Christian girl, wore a really short skirt--a Christian who is willing to look like a tart for her friend's wedding is the kind of Christian we need more of, even if she doesn't remember meeting me (I think because we were both so heavily focused on disliking Jane's erstwhile boyfriend the day we met).

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I got to be a bridesman, in black pants, purple shirt, olive suspenders, and the shiny patent-leather Chucks I wore in my cousin's wedding. (Reader, I have been in ten weddings: ring bearer x1, reader x2, bridesman x2, groomsman x3, violinist x1, best man x1.) The bride's aunts lobbied hard for me to wear a tiny bowler hat like the bridesmaids, and if you know how obsessed I am with my hair, you will understand how very funny I found this.

It was the weekend of my camerado's birthday, and we thought we would accomplish some hiking of the Northern Tier and lolling around--but we were enlisted to help first with the bridal shower, and then with the preparations for the ceremony, which was in a tent in the groom's parents' back yard. The preparations were intense--a group effort that gave us all a sense of having personally made the wedding happen. After the reception, the wedding party and lingering guests had a marshmallow roast on the back patio; I savored those marshmallows, feeling that they were well-deserved, and that their warm, gooey, celestially-white sweetness was the substance of our high-flying hopes for the bride and groom, our euphoria that the day had gone so beautifully, and our joy at being there.

When I say the preparations were intense, I'm referring to scenes like one below, where you see the groom building a bridge from his parents' back yard to the parking lot behind their house (adjacent to the municipal building):

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Spanning a gully, the bridge allowed guests to park in the lot. That this was a DIY wedding made it one of the better ones I've been to. If we're the people who will support this couple in life, we may as well be mustered up front, on the first day of their marriage, in a sacramental--which to say, physical, and connecting way.

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Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. (James 1: 27). So: pitch in, be a pal, don't let the world make you too much of a cynic, and voila! you have all the religion you need. Sacramental. I still like James.
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The camerado and I helped set up the tables, and generally followed orders, and got lunch at a sandwich place where we eavesdropped on locals who were gossiping about us: An outdoor wedding! on a chilly October weekend!

After lunch we got duded up and went to the inn where the bride and bridesmaids were dressing, and Jane gave me a hip flask; I always wanted my own hip flask. An aunt gave me a ride to the ceremony and joked again that I should be made to wear a tiny bowler, I'm laughing as I type this. My job in the wedding was to walk the moms in--steering around the poles that held up the tent--and then stand there. The bride and groom got through it all without blubbering. Laudable.

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See the groom's checked tie? Unlike the bride's team with our Bob Fosse idiom, the groom and his guys had an 80's theme, complete with Converse sneakers: this bodes well. There was mead (!) at the reception, and hot apple cider; Jane's friends are cool and her relatives welcome me as one of their own. A melange of Christians, hippies, and Christian hippies, Jane's family is much like mine, so I show up and immediately understand the cultural topography.

Jane also has smart, beautiful cousins on both sides who would murder for her:

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Sunday morning we packed up, and had breakfast at Jane's parents' house, and hit the road, taking local routes so we could see my beloved natal state in greater detail. Pennsylvania is a sideways rectangle, like a tasteful, soothing painting of a bucolic scene in a doctor's waiting room, or an ant farm. As we progressed from town to town I had the sense of slowly dropping from a great height, finally coming to rest on the Delaware Valley's coastal plain. I saw many towns I had never seen before, but nevertheless loved, as part of my home state. This animal devotion to place is baffling to the rational part of my brain. Is this patriotism? Or something like it? I should love Pennsylvania less because--after having helped hoist ten of my friends and relatives into the privileges and protections of marriage--I can't marry here. But strangely, I find I love my state no less for this failing, significant as it is.

So let me say that when all are free to marry in Pennsylvania, I will love my home state that much more.


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