A few years ago, I met up with another book loving friend at Barnes & Noble for coffee and ... books. It was near Valentine's Day, and I didn't manage to leave the store without buying books: a collection of true love stories related to the Titanic and a collection of great historical love letters. It was in this second book that I read one man's opinion that marriage is just friendship on a more exalted level. I'm sure my newly married niece Amanda and my nephew-in-law -- I've decided he's my nephew-in-law -- Ben, would agree with that thought. They've known each other since preschool and dated for seven years while Ben earned a degree in pharmacology.
The wedding service was performed by Amanda's maternal uncle, a minister. He gave a short sermon to the couple with a message very similar to that expressed in an earlier blog, emphasizing patience, forgiveness and bearing with one another's faults. Some of his words were directed at Amanda and some at Ben. Once in a while, during the message to Amanda, I caught some comical looks on Ben's face, and if I can read body language like I think I can, his expressions seemed to say, teasingly, "Are you taking note of this, Amanda?"
I noticed my sister-in-law wiping some tears from her eyes, but I did not think that would be a problem for me. Later, at the reception, I saw my brother Dan dance with his daughter. Remembering what a Papa's girl Amanda is and how Dan longed for a little girl even before she was born, I felt a little emotional too.
Amanda had the perfect song choice, "I Loved Her First" by Heartland.
"But I loved her first and I held her first and a place in my heart will always be hers. From the first breath she breathed, when she first smiled at me, I knew the love of a father runs deep, and I prayed that she'd find you some day, but it's still hard to give her away. I loved her first."
It was also touching to see Amanda dance with her husband and witness how content and happy they were together.
They also had the perfect song for their childhood friendship turned to romance, "Lucky" by Jason Mraz.
"I'm lucky to be in love with my best friend, lucky to have been where I have been, lucky to be coming home again."
The wedding cake consisted of one small cake and lots of little airy white cupcakes frosted in purple and white. I sat by brother Tim at the reception who insisted that purple tasted better than white. Halfway through my little cake, I decided purple tasted like almond. There was a distinctive almond flavor in the frosting. (It turns out white tastes like almond too.) Tim also noted to the father of the bride that the little cakes were full of mini pearls (Minnie Pearls.) Clark men like their puns.
The cupcakes were circled with filigreed papers. The women at my table all noted this and enjoyed them. The filigreed papers matched our dinner plates, made of lightweight plastic but with an open lacework pattern in the rims. Tim joked that it was best to avoid getting any tomato sauce on that part of our plates or we'd make pretty stenciled patterns on the white tablecloth.
At the event's finale, just before the bride reemerged in her more casual lace sheath dress, I joined up with the father of the bride, standing beside him with my tube of bubbles, practicing in case I forgot how to do this childhood activity. Dan and I looked across the path left open for the bride and groom to our senior parents who looked they were having a second childhood and a little too much bubble fun.
After the couple boarded their getaway vehicle, brother Bruce and my father decided it would be fun to blow bubbles directly into the open passenger car window.
I don't think the happy couple minded.