Go out on a limb. That's where the fruit is.
- Jimmy Carter
I went to see my niece get married last weekend. It was the first such ceremony for a grandchild of my parents, and we were all expected to make the trip through five states and a small snowstorm to be there, which we did.
I'm glad I went, because a wedding is remarkable.
Not so much because it brings two people together, but because it brings families together, as well.
They crowd into the church, finding a seat, filling the pews, then begin to look around and see - for want of a genetic term here - variations of themselves looking back.
We read so much about DNA and genes and clones these days, I still maintain a well-attended wedding will give you the most visible and valuable insights into where you came from and where you're going.
You notice, for example, how a nephew and a grandfather move the same as they amble down the aisle, only to be told later that you and your own son appear to sit with the same arms-crossed nonchalance during the ceremony's dry moments.
Everyone thinks this is funny, and so do you. And it secretly makes you happy because you know your line will go on - your mission to the species is fulfilled.
Not only will you be sending your hair and eye color to future generations, but also the same bemused tolerance of any ceremony that takes longer than five minutes.
I sat there in a big old church still beautiful with Christmas decorations and thought a wedding is one of life's three great events, possibly the best.
It is unlike birth, which, for all its anticipation, can come at any hour and for the most part remains a somewhat private affair. In one of life's ironies, the star of the event will retain no memory of it.
A wedding is also unlike a funeral, although both attract family and friends and usually involve church attendance. The mood for the latter, however, is rarely upbeat.
Leave it to a wedding to show us at our well-rounded best.
Youth is served, and age is rewarded.
Youth, because a wedding mixes the best elements of a Christmas morning's anticipation (gifts, friends, family, good things to eat, fun).
Age, because you get to see the finished product of all those years of runny noses, math problems and empty-parking-lot driving lessons come to a culmination.
Youth says, "We will."
Age says, "We did."
The couple says, "I do."
Now, who wants cake?
Reach Bill Kirby at (706) 823-3344 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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