There’re times when blessings rain down like, you know, rain.
Our youngest daughter was married last Saturday.
Here on the farm.
On October 10.
Have I ever mentioned we live in the place with the worst weather in the world?
When I learned of the proposed wedding date, I was a little dubious. Over the years, many of my life’s plans have been shattered by October weather, but it wasn’t my decision. I figured that if the weather went completely south, we could huddle under a tarp with the judge and still send the young couple down the road married.
That’s what a wedding is, you know. I’ve attended a number of weddings where the main purpose seems to have been forgotten; the wedding became an excuse for a trip or a party. Hey, I like both trips and parties, but a wedding is a big deal - a solemn, joyous public commitment between two people witnessed by the folks who care most about them.
Once we had the judge lined up – not easy to do in these Covid times, but I swear there was no blackmail involved, (he’s just a nice guy) I relaxed a little. The wedding ship was going to sail.
But this is our baby, and I wanted her to have a celebration, too. As the virus news just kept getting worse and worse, plans kept changing, along with the weather forecast. People who were invited were second guessing, people we cherish and wanted to be there really needed to stay away, we were trying to be responsible…
We ended up with less than one fourth of the original guest list - just enough to have what was possibly Big Stone County’s smallest ever wedding dance.
I started watching the 10-day forecast about thirty days out. It looked good, but that means absolutely nothing in our part of the world. I had almost 66 years of justified weather pessimism on my side. Plus, this is 2020.
I was wrong. It was a gorgeous, absolutely perfect day. The groom was stalwart and snappily dressed in tweed, the bride beautiful in green velvet. The judge was charming, the music was wonderful, and we were able to live-stream the wedding to the guests who were unable to attend. I was paranoid about the technology working, so I started the recording three hours and forty-seven minutes before the actual wedding, which I’m sure some people found very confusing.
After the ceremony, there was a flurry of activity getting people into the tent for the festivities. I’m always more comfortable when I’m working and I scurried around for a while, but then it was time to give a toast. I’d been thinking about it, of course, and what popped into my head was an old story about John Lennon. He was asked what he wanted to be when he grew up and he said, “Happy.” They said he didn’t understand the question. He said they didn’t understand life.
I told that story looking at my beautiful daughter and her new husband and battled mightily to keep from choking up. They’re both good people, doing good work in the world. That’s not easy. We live in times when goodness isn’t rewarded as much as it should be, and there’s a fair chance it never has been.
Earlier in the day, I was showing one of our guests around. She made a gracious comment and I replied, “Yeah, I’m a fortunate guy. I’ve spent my whole life living where I wanted to live and doing what I wanted to do. I’ve never made a lot of money, but hoping to go three for three seems unlikely.” I really believe that, most days. It’s nice when I don’t need to worry about whether a check is going to clear the bank, but I’m not willing to make some of the changes that would make that a regular thing.
Still, it was a wonderful day. One of my sisters and her family is stuck on the other side of an international border, but the one was there, with her husband. My 94-year-old father attended, carefully masked and isolated. As many family members from both sides attended as seemed prudent, along with a smattering of the bride and groom’s closest friends. It wasn’t the wedding they’d originally planned, but it was as perfect as good friends and good fortune could make it.
On Sunday, I wandered around with a full heart, aching legs, and a reoccurring yawn, cleaning up the post-party debris. Exactly 24 hours after the wedding ceremony kicked off, we had a sudden, violent storm, with horizontal hail and half an inch of rain in a very short time. One day earlier and it could have been catastrophic, but sometimes you’re just lucky.
Although, when I think about it, I’ve been lucky for a long time.
Copyright 2020 Brent Olson