I love weddings. My own in 1983 was a dandy - I married the lovely and strong Mary Elizabeth Cleary at St. Mary's Church in Kankakee, Illinois. My tall red-headed French/Irish bride was stunning in an old fashioned bridal gown that might have been worn in the 19th Century by a French bride in Martinton, or L'Erable. Mary was crowned with a garland of white flowers. My God she was beautiful. Lisa Goodman, of Brides Compleat in Kankakee decked me out in a cut-awys black tux, but I still managed to look like Riddles Barlow. My massive southside Irish family arrived by the bus loads from Chicago and packed the tiny Church on Washington Street, behind the Dean's Ice Cream plant and south of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church.
My cousin, Father Bart Winters officiated along with Fathers Ken Yarno, and Irwin Savela of the Viatorians. Follwoing the Sacrement of Marriage and the wedding Mass we repaired to the Knights of Columbus, St. Viator Council across the street from the Kankakee Court House for a wedding party that danced well into the following day. It was reported that several guests maintained the festivities for a good 48 hours. My Kankakee and Chicago families merged and bonded in way that launched fifteen of the happiest years of my life. Mary went home to Christ in 1998. My three kids periodically brouse the wedding pictures.
Tomorrow, I will attend the wedding of my friends Doug and Christine who will be blessed in the dual Jewish ceremonies of the erusin and the nissuin - the former sanctifies the couple and the later launches their life together. This takes place under the Huppa -the Bridal canopy. The last Jewish wedding I attended was between my cousin John and Robin. That one raised the bar on fun and beauty.
Doug is Jewish from birth and Chritine was bpatized a Catholic but converted to Judaism. Christine was from St. Justin Martyr, over the tracks at 75th Street from my house in Little Flower, and hung out with the 69th Street Loafers. The beautiful woman who allows me to be seen publicly in her company sings Choral Music with Doug and Christine.
Tomorrow the wildly happy couple bonds with God, family and friends. Any God centered activity launches a happy outcome - happy in the purest of meanings - not Charlie Sheen happy. Happiness requires effort, humility, and selfless love. we are most unhappy without those virtues, it seems to me. God blesses our pain, as well as our pleasure. The Seven Blessings recited by the rabbi and friends seals the deal. Doug will smash the wine glass with his right foot to approving shouts of Mazel Tov, in remembrance of life's twists and turns and the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem by the Romans. "If I foget thee, O Jerusalem . . ."
Not a chance. Mazel Tov!