I listened to CDs the entire drive down, partially to not have to deal with seeking new radio stations as I moved from city to city, and partially to avoid having to log entries in my Arbitron diary. I would imagine they have skews "factored in" for this phenomenon.
On Market Street in Wilmington, I thought it would be neat to check in by phone with Joe as I passed by the IHOP we'd been turned away from a couple of weeks ago in the wee hours of the morning. We ended up continuing to talk as I traversed downtown Wilmington, where I promptly missed a turn to stay on 17S, and ended up wasting a half-hour to 45 minutes driving around Wilmington. Grrrrrrr!
The traffic wasn't bad between cities, but through the big cities on the way down, especially Myrtle Beach, it was a bitch. Bumper-to-bumper, slow, too-fast cycling lights, and people on vacation without a care or rush in the world. Bastards. :-)
I checked in by phone with Robert as I approached Charleston, and we talked about trying to get him to the B&B from the hotel he was staying at with his family, but we couldn't make it work without it making things too rushed for getting to the church on time for the wedding.
I checked into 4 Unity Alley at right around 3:00, I guess.
"Donald" was the host, and the place was just lovely. We had to have had the coldest room in the place, which suited Robert and me just fine. Before leaving my room, Donald said, "Sometimes this room gets colder than you have the thermostat set to, and you can't warm it up. If that happens, please don't turn on the heat. Just open your [front] door. Breakfast is at 9:00 in the morning."
This was our room:
I unpacked, and relaxed just a little before it was time to get ready to leave for the church, which was on Sullivan's Island and within about 30 minutes of where I was in downtown Charleston.
The wedding took place at 5:30 at:
I was seated on the second row with Robert (uncle of the groom) and his mother (grandmother of the groom). Fran (mother of the groom), and her husband Dick, sat in the first row.
Robert did the second reading, A Reading from the First Letter of Paul to the Corinthians:
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor, and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.and he did it flawlessly. I beamed with pride from my seat.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
The preacher, whose title was listed in the program as, "The Very [emphasis added] Reverend John B. Burwell," gave a sermon with a good message, if not without somewhat of a flamboyant delivery.
I spent a lot of time wondering what he'd had to do to get his promotion to "Very," and if his next one wasn't going to read, "Promoted to Glory," which I've seen several times in the obituaries. "James R. Carlton, 69, was promoted to glory, on June 5, 2004."
This preacher had an interesting way of emphasizing words, such as when reading the vows that the bride and groom were to repeat, "And Jennifer, do you take him to be your..." and then, "Bryan, do you take her to be your..."
I couldn't help wondering, if in the midst of all this gay marriage drama in the U.S. today, he wasn't making some kind of tacit statement. Then, again, it might just be that weddings, "by their very definition," come across to me as perhaps the biggest example of "shoving their heterosexuality in my face." If the wedding doesn't do it, then the reception surely will.
During the endless pictures taken after the ceremony in the church, I was invited to take one with Robert and the bride and groom, which was very thoughtful and inclusive. Perhaps that picture will be labeled, "The Bride and Groom with Uncle Robert and Uncle John," or simply, "The Bride and Groom with the Funny Uncles." But I digress.
Right before snapping the picture, the photographer said to me, "Would you do me a favor, and just button the first button of your suit?"
I replied, as I buttoned the button that had no business being buttoned, "Oh, in front of all these people, you asked me to button this button; how cruel." I'm sure it will look like I'm holding my breath in that picture, or that I'm about to burst out of that suit. Fortunately, though, it's not about me.
The reception followed immediately at the Citadel's McCormick Beach House:
The reception at the beach house was wonderful. Bryan and Jen are two of the most authentic, thoughtful, loving, and just all-around beautiful people you'd ever want to meet. There was an open bar, with the hottest bartender in history. There was a fountain of appetizers to nibble on, which mostly held fruit and cheese, and some chocolate fondue.
Once dinner was ready, there were three buffet stations from which to choose: one with pasta, one with seafood, and one with meat (roast beef and turkey). Other than not having any knives, everything was perfect.
After dinner, there was a lot of dancing, but I wanted to dance with Robert and couldn't... well, didn't. One never knows at these things, the consequence of a simple action like that. My feeling is that Bryan and Jen wouldn't have minded, but who knows about all of the friends and relatives on both sides... besides it was all being video taped, and who wants to take the risk that the thing everyone will be watching for in the years of playbacks is "those two guys dancing together."
On the one hand, it sounds entirely self-centered. On the other hand, it's thoughtful. It was their party. My take on these situations is that I would only do it if the bride and groom themselves came up to us and said, "Please feel free to dance."
Following that, came the other ever-awkwardness for gay men at straight weddings: the throwing of the garter and bouquet. Are we single men? Regardless of that, do we really want to catch a lady's garter? Oh, we could easily "go along with it," but then what? What if we catch it? The awkwardness of people, saying, "Oh, you're next to get married..." or more awkward, knowing they "can't say that," and everyone just turning away. "So, how about that CAKE!"
I would be remiss in not stating that all of this aside, this was a fantastically warm and wonderful event that I wouldn't have missed for the world. As I wrote on the "picture board" to Bryan and Jen, "Could you two be any more beautiful? And you look good, too!"
The happy couple:
In addition to them including me ceremonially, Robert's sister, the groom's mother, said to me several times how glad she was that I was there, and even acknowledged me in her incredible address to the crowd at the end of the reception. Robert's mother said as much during the evening, too. It really warmed my heart, and made me feel like a part of the family.
This is what my Arbitron diary consisted of today: