“I was speechless.” It is a term you hear often; usually from people who just won’t shut up about whatever it was that happened. I am rarely speechless; for teachers that is an understandable occupational hazard. Voluble, garrulous, talkative, and verbose: I have been called all these things, and they are all unfortunately rather more true of me than I would care to admit. But last night, dancing with my daughter, I was truly speechless. I couldn’t even manage, “You look beautiful tonight.” I couldn’t manage a word. It was like I had been transported to another planet where speech was redundant. I wanted to just soak in every glance, every smile, every gesture, and speech would have been an interruption.
The whole day was like that: it was one happy moment after the other. From walking down the aisle to wishing them well as they waltzed out the door it was all so wonderful. Liz seemed to know exactly what she wanted the venue and the day to look like. She wanted an outdoor wedding, and chose the old courthouse in London, trusting that the day would be fine. It was, despite the fact that a hurricane was at that moment lashing the east coast of America. Liz superintended the decorating of the hall until it shone with a warm lustre. The caterer, who does hundreds of weddings, said she had never seen the place look so radiant. The wedding party arrived exactly on time and the grandchildren, Ben and Abi, performed their respective roles with admirable poise. Liz was serenely gorgeous in her ivory gown with burgundy flowers, drawing audible gasps of admiration as she walked down the aisle. Greg began to wilt a little as his said his vows; more due to the heat than nerves, but the minister smoothed things over with a touch of humour in his lyrical Irish brogue. But Liz brought everyone to the edge of tears with her heartfelt and moving declaration to Greg. Passersby were crying on the sidewalk as she voiced her vows from her heart.
A time of pictures and visiting with friends followed. My cousin Ros got to meet many of her Canadian relatives and my brother Wyn showed up to express his best wishes to Liz and Greg. Lil and Stewart, fresh from their own 60th wedding anniversary were there, along with her daughter Sandra, Pam’s cousin and oldest friend. My oldest friend John was there with Bonnie, his wife of nearly forty years, and of course many of Vern and Holly’s families. Then there were all of Greg and Liz’s friends, obviously a younger generation, along with the sons and daughters of the families. It was great mix of people, all united by our common bond of affection for Greg and Liz.
To get the couple to kiss at the reception, couples had to kiss themselves. However they kissed, that was how Greg and Liz would kiss. Pam’s nephew Jesse Carter and his girlfriend Sarah stole the show by kissing while Jesse did a handstand. Not to be outdone, Greg did exactly the same. They also provided one of the highlights of the evening by doing a Johnny Cash and June Carter song “Long-Legged Guitar-Picking Man,” on guitars, soon to go viral when I get back to KL and upload it on Youtube. It was utterly charming.
They were many other highlights as well: Liz’s friend Chonie singing “Fire and Rain,” a song she had learned a scant 20 minutes earlier as I walked her through the lyrics; Greg dancing with his father Vern; our son Dave dancing with Greg’s mother, Holly; speeches that were meaningful and humorous. But above all it was Greg and Liz’s clear delight in their relationship with each other, and their desire to make of their wedding a gift of joy to all that family and friends. And it was so abundantly that; a day of such kind consideration and happiness and that will shine in all of our hearts for a long time to come.
Tomorrow at some ungodly hour Greg and Liz will arise to begin a long series of flights to their honeymoon destination in Hawaii. We wish them every happiness as they begin what everyone hopes will be a long and blessed marriage. If any couple deserves such happiness it is these two, who have sought for and laboured to bring about such joy in the lives of all who were fortunate enough to have been present at their wedding. God bless you both.