Tuesday, September 07, 2004

To Cana's Wedding Feast

Beautiful wedding on Saturday. I arrived at the buccolic church, toating my tux and an even shorter haircut which surprised/elated many of my relatives. "Jesus got a haircut!" I told my mother, whose still-life hyphen lips suggested that she was extremely unamused by the comment. My great Aunt Evelyn"Old gray mare" , who's 98 and looks like she's sixty, even kissed me on the lips, (icck!)...so if she mysteriously dies of mono in the next week you know who to blame.

The flock of family flew into town which made me happy. We're an ornery bunch, us Von Behren kin, and it's always nice when our path's coalesce and we get to spend time together, which usually entails copious amounts of laughter, classical music, sibling gossip, libations and dance.

It's customary that cousin Matthew (i.e. "MattMan") and I always wrestle (even though he ways about 100 pounds more than I do and always pins me in the first three minutes if we don't break anything first)...Matthew and I slapboxed before pictures in the church and tried to get one of the fellow grommsmen to officiate our 'one final bachelorhood blow' in front of God, only the priest broke us up after we inadvertantly backed into the baptismal fount. OOOPs. Tim, the best man, was supposed to referee, but he was out back, trying to lure a wayward goat into the bridal getaway convertible for a gag, to no avail.


My cool cousin Shawna who works for Yamaha in California flew in, sporting a chic black gown. Her sister, Brianna, the other 'insurgent' cousin drove fifteen hours straight from her Marine barrack in North Carolina. She had four recent tatoo's and a new pair of cowboy boots, skinned, she said, from a the hide of a terrorist she recently dispatched of.

After conducting surgery for fifteen hours my cool Kennedy-panache brother-in-law Dan made it down from Rockford just in time to stand up next to me in the mugshot line of fellow groomsmen. His wife, my sister Beth, former Miss Chicago to her brother's entropic blogging Universe, played a beautiful Bach cello sonato for a prelude and wore a classy gown that reminded me of Scarlet O'hara.

"Frankly My dear I don't give a damn," I jested during photographs before the wedding. "Wait, I'm sorry Father (cold feet) I mean, 'I do'. That's my line."

Beth's in her last year studying law at KENT and she has the whole Jessica Simpson blonde highlights, cinnamon toast-tan thing going on.

Since the groom is working on his PhD in classical music conducting in California, the majority of fellow Groomsmen were a picaresque bouquet of seleceted band geeks who graduated two years behind me in high school and who are now working on orchestral degrees in all things tonal and treble cleffed. Tim, the best man, looked like a lanky magician in his tuxedo garb. Andrew, another groomsmen, chatted inceassantly about his pending marriage and about his own dreams of orchestral greatness. It felt like I was being flanked by future Peter Schickele's and poor-man's Pavarati's. Although I have a profound appreciation for "the finer in things in life" and was a hardcore opera buff in high school (Hello Gorgeous cecelia Bartoli! NO wonder all the cheerleaders thought I was gay!) the best I can do when it comes to music is to bat out a jazzed up rendition of heart and soul followed by killer Chopsticks revival.

I kept making lame jokes in the back of the room prior to the wedding. Told the priest that at my own marriage I'd be married by Elvis and that if he wanted to he could play slot machines in the background.

"Do you David, take her to Hunka-hunka have and to Hunka-hunka hold as long as you both shall live?"

I accompanied a beautiful voice major named Michelle down the burgundy carpet center of the church. The hard-edged avenue of my elbow luring her wry lips in front of a full church and a pastel statue of Christ.

This was the first time I've ever been elected to quote "stand" up in front of the congregation. Robin, the bride, was rapturous as she flaoted down the aisle, her father's left arm attached to his daughter like a wounded wing. Robin sings opera and is bulit like a messo-soporano; saltine white skin; rotund torso, ample bossom, blithe countenance.

With the arrival of the bride my body shifted like a rudder into the direction of the altar, where the priest officated the service. Both Matthew and Robin employed their old professors from Wesylan to orchestrate the music. The first hymn bleated out of the aluminum veins of the organ pipes in a swift exhalence burst of joyful resonance. It was the old Lutheran hymn I grew up singing at Wedding's "Lord, When You came as Welcome Guest". It's lyrics are worth repeating here:

Lord, when you came as welcome guest
To Cana's wedding feast,
The bridal pair, divinely blest
Found all their joy increased.
Now give your presence from above
That these, by vowing true,
May show their pledge is like the love
Between the Chruch and You.

Preserve the vow these two shall make,
Tis circle round tehir life,
This golden ring that none may break
Which makes them man and wife.
Your daily mercies let them share,
All threats of harm destroy;
By this thier vow divide their care
And double all their joy.

On all who thus before you kneel
You joyous Spirit pour
That each may wake the other's zeal
To love you more and more.
Oh grant them here in peace to live,
In purity and love,
And after this life to receive
The crown of life above.

The pleasure of being so close to a "spiritual union" (or at least a ritual whose rudiments were rooted in a mytsic union) was all mine. Periodically I would avert my attention into the audience and gaze at the look of stuttered pride flanked across my Uncle's face like a state flag. Shannon Moore, frequent blogger and "Clit-Lit" cordinator, held out a digital camera in front of her face and snapped flashless vignettes as the couple verbally consumated their love through the curved hushes language.


A year earlier I was only a freaking usher at my sisters wedding. It was a weird time in my life. I had just moved in with Uncle Mike and I couldn't be around my mother without being completely shitfaced all the time. I was gregariously imbibed the day of the wedding when I continuosly querried "Bride or Groom," to second and third cousins whose name usually only appears once a year in the mailbox around Christmas.

I was sad. I was pulling 80 hour weeks and still couldn't get anywhere with my life. I tried not to look in the center of the Chruch as my sister Beth, simply immaculate, was escourted down the aisle by the hard acute-angles of Uncle Larry's elbow. I was pissed off at God that my father, my non-drinking, non-smoking, non-sinning modest father, wasn't even allowed to accompany his eldest daughter down the center of the church on the day of her wedding.

Attired in the stiff tuxedo, seated next to my best friend David Hale, I cried. I live with a mystic-prophet-medium (?) weirdo who's communicated with soul's who've passed only as he says, it's only a reflection, a shell of their spirit.

"If they come to you they ask for help. Say the prayer for the departed for them as you will help them." Uncle Mike told me once, his forehead smiling like sheen brass.

And during my sister's wedding, I swear (although I've never told anyone) I saw my father. He was seated by himself, in the far end of the church. The afternoon light streamed through the stainglass window so that he looked blue and perfect, almost like I was seeing his reflection in a windshield. That day, I swear, even though I was shitfaced and always dubious and practical when it comes to eerie supernatural concerns, I swear, I say him, standing there, the look of proud and modesty sewed onto his lips, adjusting his spectacles every now and then.


Congrats Matt and Robin!!!!!!


daku said...

D-Universe of Illinois, the chapel is booked in Vegas as you wished. Elvis and the limo are on backorder. Will hear more in next couple days.

David Von Behren said...

I thougt your wedding was in Bangladesh (he-he-he)....Thanks for your postcard yesterday, sweetie!