We had a great wedding. The source of the greatness is our family of blood, our family of connection, and our circle of friends. We were surrounded by love, and I felt love pouring out of my heart. My stunning, talented daughter Laura sang her superb song; my handsome and brilliant son Daniel was there with his woman friend, Dilek; my best man Eric Brandt gave the homily and my wonderful brothers stood up for me; our niece Sophie Barry, the wedding's official artist, choreographed the dance steps; Scott Turow was the rabbi with the mojo; both my bands (Los Train Wreck, a band of the finest musicians, and members of the Rock Bottom Remainders, the finest authors but lousy musicians) played; and my beautiful, beloved fiancée Kathi became my wife.
However, I don’t mean to suggest things went off without a hitch. Before a wedding a groom really doesn’t’ have much to do. Kathi was downstairs getting her hair done, her dress adjusted, a reading from a psychic—all the things that brides do before a wedding—while I had absolutely nothing to do. Well, no, I had one thing to do: change. Clothes, that is. I would have come dressed in my suit, because that’s what I do—I get dressed and then I go places. But Kathi’s assistant (being the bride, she had one) had, in a moment when she gave me some thought, said that I should go in casual clothes and change at the hall, so I would be fresh. So there I was, pacing around with nothing to do in my jeans and T-shirt and Converse All Stars, and I decided, an hour and fifteen minutes before the wedding, that I should put on The Suit. It didn’t take me long. Then I looked down at my feet, and I looked at what I had there in the groom’s room—a six pack of beer, my crumpled T-shirt, my jeans, my Converse All Stars—and I realized that I had forgotten the handsome Italian dress shoes that Kathi gave me for this very day. I was at the Swedish hall and they were back at the house, probably watching TV.
When I was a pastor in Omaha I used to tell the couples who were getting married with my assistance that something always went wrong at the wedding. I usually said this after a little something went wrong to reassure them, thinking superstitiously, that the rest would go right.
For a moment I wondered if I could pull off walking down the aisle in the Converse sneakers. After all, who’d be looking at me? But then I went and confessed to Lisa and David Golia, the two people who were pulling the wedding together. David found me a pair of loafers that were too big and could have worked, but I knew what I had to do. I ran to Sullivan’s Funeral Home (we rented out their parking lot for our wedding), got in my car, and sped off to Mexico.
No, seriously, I drove all the way home, which seemed like halfway to Mexico, dashed upstairs, changed shoes, had a quick peanut butter-on-cracker snack, and then headed back. While I was driving Laura called me to say she had to give me my wedding gift before the ceremony. We arranged to meet at the door, she brought me inside, and there was my son Daniel, who I hadn’t seen in two years! Last I knew he was somewhere between China and Turkey and couldn’t make it. Overwhelmed with happiness, and wearing my shoes, I went upstairs to the bride’s room, which had morphed into the family and friend room and was basically a pre-wedding party (the six pack remained alone upstairs in the groom’s room) to show off my elegant attire, at which point my brother Dave pointed out that I still had the price tag on the sleeve of my suit. He took a picture and immediately blogged about it (see Dave’s blog and scroll to June 12), and then we all went out and Kathi and I got hitched.
PS When are you really married? Is it when the ceremony concludes? Is it when you sign the license? Is it when the state gets the license and files it? No, it’s when you change your status on Facebook, according to numerous friends of ours. I just got a notice that said "Kathi said on Facebook that you two are married. We need you to confirm that you are, in fact, married to Kathi." So I guess it's official.
[A note from the publisher: Reports from The Daily Sam will be intermittent to nonexistent throughout the remainder of June, as Sam Barry will be on assignment as our war correspondent in Paris and Northern Italy, which are, if you look at a map, not that far from Afghanistan, Iraq, and Iran.]