Spring has sprung, and a young person's fancy turns to thoughts of establishing an ongoing collaborative synergistic interrelationship with a hominine biped who is a member of the opposing gender. Yes, springtime is the season of romance.
My wife and I have reached an age where weddings have become a common occurrence among members of our family's next generation. Which is a good thing, especially if you happen to own an enterprise that caters to the bridal industry.
Sadly, my wife and I didn't have the foresight - or the funds - to get involved in the wedding racket. Which is too bad, because it appears that a person could make some serious money marketing all things matrimonial.
This is because many who become engaged are swiftly gripped by Wedding Fever, a malady that has inflicted untold amounts of misery on mankind. In extreme cases, it will even cause some ill effects for womankind.
Wedding Fever causes the Blessed Event to become an entity unto itself, complete with its own inescapable gravity field. The end result can be a wedding that involves approximately the same level of logistics as the D-Day landing at Normandy. The cost of such nuptials can exceed the GDP of Luxembourg.
Not that there's anything wrong with a colossal wedding. Such events are crucial to the economy; the entire Cute Shoe sector would collapse without epic weddings.
When my wife and I became engaged, I tried forestall the onset of Wedding Fever. I argued that the whole idea of a big shindig was silly and that what's important is our feelings toward each other. A small ceremony with a justice of the peace would make us just as married as an over-the-top blowout at Madison Square Garden. She agreed.
But then we started discussing who should attend this intimate ceremony. Our parents, of course, and our best friends. And my seven siblings and my wife's brother and grandmother. And we couldn't leave out Al and Lorraine and my aunts and uncles who live nearby, and my wife's cousin would be insulted if she wasn't invited and...
And things rapidly spiraled out of control. Various female friends and relatives became part of the process, and we were soon in the grips of Wedding Fever.
I was young and didn't know much, but I knew that a groom should simply stand back and let things happen once Wedding Fever takes hold. Every prospective groom could make his life infinitely easier by making frequent use of two key phrases: "Yes, dear" and "Whatever you think is best, dear."
As the guest list swelled, we soon realized that this was going to cost a lot more than a $10 marriage license and a modest gratuity for the judge. But we were broke, which meant that we would have to improvise. And by "we" I mean "my wife."
She slashed decorating expenses by constructing her own silk flowers. I suggested that we could have cut costs even further by purchasing seeds and growing our own flora. That suggestion was swiftly shot down.
Our cake was baked by a local farmwife who had a reputation as a superior chef. I told my wife that we could have saved even more dough had we followed my plan, which involved planting a patch of wheat that we would harvest and mill into cake flour. My flour idea suffered the same fate as my flower plan, so I simply began to repeat the aforementioned groom's mantra.
One of the details that we had to handle together was discussing our nuptial plans with our minister. Our church had just hired a newly-minted preacher named Pastor Stan. He was maybe a couple of years older than us.
We met with Pastor Stan at his office one evening. He decided that the first order of business was to conduct a bit of Lutheran premarital counseling, which went something like:
"So. You two want to get married."
"Yeah, I guess so."
"Do you have any questions? About anything?"
"Nope. We're good."
"OK, then. By the way, this will be my first wedding!"
"Really? Us too!"
My wife spent the day of the Blessed Event riding herd on innumerable minutiae such as decorating the church, placing candles, making sure that everyone had their rented tuxedoes and ensuring that the groom had checked his fly.
Seeing how stressed she was caused me to feel stressed. I took her to one side and whispered, "It's not too late. We can still go to a justice of the peace!"
She fixed me with a look that would have liquefied tungsten and replied, "We are going through with this whether you like it or not!"
Yes, dear! Whatever you think is best, dear!"