|Tall Paul and his height-challenged entourage!|
We haven’t been guests at many “destination weddings.” Now mind you, we’ve never traveled in the circles where lots of happy couples tie the knot in Paris or on Maui, so it hasn’t come up often. But when we haven’t been able to attend a distant marriage ceremony, we have always regretted it. However, our circumstances are changing these days, and suddenly the impossible (or at least improbable) is happening.
I’ve known Paul Spellissy since we were both in high school in Atlanta. Paul and his girlfriend Kathy married in New York City in the summer of 1984, and very sweetly asked me to sing a solo at the wedding. Sheridan was not quite three months old, a nursing baby who had never been apart from his mama for more than an hour or two. But it was such a lovely request that we determined to make it happen. My Aunt Rosemary agreed to mind him at her house in Rye. I left her with two bottles of mother’s milk (Sher had never taken a bottle, but we were hopeful), and off we went.
Beautiful wedding, great reception. We hustled back to Westchester, but it was still almost five hours before we showed up on Aunt Rosemary’s doorstep. She greeted us with a smile, albeit one with slightly clenched teeth. Turns out, not only had my infant refused the bottles, he’d done so while screaming for nearly the whole five hours, only pausing when he was walked up and down the halls. Though my aunt was a total sweetheart about everything, I felt SO guilty, certain that God was punishing me for attempting to enjoy myself.
Fast forward many years, to September 2018, and the wedding of Paul and Kathy’s daughter Nora. They were to be married in New Hampshire, on the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee, seven hours north of Oreland. Though it was quite a schlep, our schedules were clear, so we decided to go. Besides, no one really needed us at home for anything (rather mixed emotions about that).
It was a terrific weekend, with picture perfect New England autumn weather, and a rare chance to reconnect with folks we hadn’t seen in many years, as well as dear ones we see more frequently. In addition to the various wedding festivities, there was time for a cruise on the lake with John and Louie, two very close friends, as well as time to poke around in the local general store, which happens to be the oldest store in the country (1787!) We headed home after brunch on Sunday, very glad we’d made the trip.
In the years to come, no doubt, the next generation will be finding forever partners, and we look forward to celebrating them. That weekend, Steve and I got a taste of what our lives might be like as we get older. Fewer obligations keeping us homebound, more freedom to pick up and go. Enjoying ourselves, without any guilt.
We could get used to this.