Marital bliss. It’s a glorious time to celebrate two lovely earthlings pretending to become “one”. Beautiful bridesmaids, dignified groomsman, two pious alter boys, a priest and an innocent ring bearer all bathing in the confines of a Christian laden church.
Six years old and wearing a powder blue tuxedo doesn’t make you cute. Neither does a white blazing hot afro. It was 1979. There was a wedding for my. sister, and I was forced to attend in a powder blue tuxedo. I was Mr. AfroTux. Being the ring bearer, I couldn’t decline. And then, when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, it did.
I’d never been fitted, or, fondled, up until that time. What was this guy measuring and why? Couldn’t I just borrow a hand me down tuxedo with patches from the fifties? No. That would be too classy. Declining wasn’t an option.
I was about to embark on the most ridiculously fun and contaminated wedding littered with debauchery of the nineteen seventies. To many, it was a ball with passed out bridesmaids vomiting and groomsman embarrassing their white selves on the dance floor. To me, it was a movie I wouldn’t be allowed to watch on HBO. For my parents, it was a 10 thousand dollar nightmare.
Walking down the aisle with a the ring on a goose down pillow, I didn’t know I’d be the butt of all jokes. I strolled down the aisle, not knowing the ring was sprayed with WD forty, and my hands were greased with extra virgin olive oil. While being dipped in sweat, the ring fell off my hands into the pew landing on an aisle close to the bride and groom’s parents, and everyone laughed. I was mortified. I didn’t expect or dream of the following. It was like a fortune cookie would determine the outcome of this wonderful, yet mind bending free-for-all-for-everything. “Cake. Booze. Pie. Booze. Cheese. Booze. Catholics. booze… Meat”….ok, we get it. That’s exactly what the fortune read. This was just prior to the wedding.
During the wedding, one of the maids of dishonor passed out while listening to the Lord’s Prayer. No big deal. A janitor swept her away like refuse and everyone allowed the procession to proceed, which it did with corny songs and sacred vows. At that point, my ring error was forgotten. We all fall asleep during the priest’s homily. (Usually, we’re just not intoxicated during the homily, just bored.)
Following the wedding, we were punished with obligatory pictures. I was a powder blue nightmare garnished with an explosive white disco hairstyle only a cartoon character from Mad Magazine could represent. Since I never looked in a mirror before the age of twelve, I didn’t really give a damn. It was 6 years later when I discovered the pictures, and said, “I could have used a haircut and a bath.”
My brother, Steve, entered the scene wearing a tuxedo, but was so uncomfortable with his platinum shoes sized too small, he wore red and white Nikes in the family picture. He borrowed them from the priest, presiding the wedding ( one of my father’s best friends) only to our father’s dismay.
The alter boys, brothers Tom and Greg, after disrobing from their black and white jerseys, then adorned Saturday Night Live Fever clothing purchased from the affluent J.C Penny for the reception. They looked like disheveled, crinkly like 1970’s porn stars not yet ready for prime time also not ready for dancing. On we went to the reception at the exclusive Knights of Columbus hall. That’s when many teenagers discovered America, and Spokane.
The beauty of living in Spokane, Washington is that the drinking age doesn’t apply to those below the age of 21. They only consider enforcement for those under 12. I was six, my next older brother was 10, and then the eldest of the lower third of my family was 12. I believe he had the best time of us all. The strange punch provided fumed his dancing skills, along with his breath, to levels accelerating to 12.0.
Cousins over the age of 11 began dipping, eating, dipping again, drinking and drinking again and staggering. It was a wonderland of fun filled pleasantry only a Catholic wedding could provide. Even Tiny Tim showed up and said, “God Bless Them….All of them…and a happy hangover to everyone.”
I suffered only from a cheese fondue hangover. Therefore, I witnessed things at the wedding only a sober party could remember. My father, paying for this magical procession of drunkenness, laughter and dancing, was defiant of the door which was required to be remained closed. According to our friend, Vic, it was well over two hundred and seventy nine degrees inside the sweat dowsed public place of glorious Catholic celebration. Therefore, when he suggested the door be left open, my father objected. Vic complied.
Vic said to my father, “I’m too drunk and you’re too old, and I have too much respect for you to fight.” The door remained closed, and the mass dehydrating continued.
I don’t properly know when the reception ended, but the residue still probably remains in the hallows of our family’s home. Vomit and clothing were strewn upon the bedrooms, laundry room, staircase, kitchens and basement….also a bedroom. There was so much confusion, and drunkenness, our guests staying at home didn’t know how to find their rooms. One of the cousins passed out in the laundry room, another on the staircase, two in each of our kitchens, and one in my father’s bedroom. This was before dad even entered the house, wondering if any stragglers, or. staggerers might show up next.
Along with mom and dad, my brother Tom and I remained sober and were capable of finding a place to sleep away from the others.
I remember, at age six, I hadn’t yet read the Bible, nor did I have any desire to do so at the time. I also remember seeing the Holy Bible kept in one of the rooms that night before falling asleep. It was then I thought, after the religiously matrimonial gathering accompanied by a raging party, this book may be a little more interesting than I had previously imagined.
Although reading many parts of the Bible through my youth and adulthood, I still haven’t found a story similar to what I witnessed that day and night.