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Tossing Pebbles in the Stream

This blog is my place to sit and toss pebbles into the stream. The stream of Life relentlessly passing before us. We can affect it little. For the most part I just watch it passing and follow the flow. Occasionally, I need to comment on its passing, tossing a pebble at it to enjoy the ripple affect upon Life's surface.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Marriage , eh!

It always surprises me a little to see couples still getting married, particularly when they have been a couple for years, with children, and a divorce or two in their background. Alas! it seems marriage still hold a lure for some in spite of Life's cynical reality. Too harsh? Well my cynical view of reality anyway.

The last census of Canada saw the number of people just living together ,"without benefit or clergy" or at least a government license, is greater than the number of people married. This new reality is particularly true in Quebec, once of fortress of the French Catholic church. This fact,says volumes of the profound nature of the quiet revolution in that province.

This past weekend, I went and officiated at a wedding in a town near here, as I do occasionally when asked and the couple can find me. I looked around the hall of Le Club Calumet, a francaphone social club and thought how typical this wedding is for me to be asked to be part of.
It is a wedding on the cheap for a couple already in fact married, with children. They feel some deep seated reason to formalize their wedding in a more or less traditional way. This in spite of Canada having the institution of "common law marriage". They lack funds and access to a church for while most are nominally Catholics divorce seems to still bar the door of the church to them. So I get tagged!

There are a few local halls around that can be used for a wedding. Besides Le Club Calumet, there is the Legion, the Knights of Columbus and an old school used as a community center. They are all the same: dreary with a bar at one side and pool tables or meal tables that need to be pushed aside and hidden in some way.

The hall is then decorated with chincey materials including the , oh so necessary, arch before which, or under which, the ceremony is to take place. I find these halls depressing, dark and smelling like stale beer. The are particularly dreary when early arrivals order themselves a beer from the bar which never seems to be closed. It is all very low brow. The whole affair and setting lack any real style.

When meeting with the couple ahead of time, I give my "best wedder planner" advice, ( not asked for but give) for I know what is coming and what works and does not work. My advice is ignored! I try to assure them that the wedding does not have to be grand to be done with style, meaning and some elegance. They assure me that is what they want but invariably cobble together ideas and elements suggested by friends and family that make it a faux affair, a poor imitation of a church wedding: recorded music, processional, recessional, little boy with rings on pillow, little girl with flowers and small version of bridesmaids dress. etc. The wedding I just did had all these. What struck me as novel was the child's "walker play table" set by the arch to put the flower girl, still in diapers, in. There was also the mother-in-law to watch over the child and see that she finally parades to the front. Of course, all these very young children involved does't work and never works!

I try really hard to do my part with dignity and grace with well chosen words specifically for the couple. I think I have gotten rather good at it over the years.

This time for the first time, I had to stop part way into the ceremony and tell them they had to turn up the lights as I was having trouble seeing my text. The icicle Christmas lights standing in for candle light, was not good enough for me to see. In the begining, I thought I could get by in the dim light, as I know much of the service by memory and newer elements were typed darker. Unfortuanatly it was too difficult. (Time to get my glasses renewed I guess.) I certainly will know better next time. My little glitch was minor compared to the three little children shuffling about. I was so thankful the service was short.

But you know, people liked it, the couple were happy, the kids were cute and the bride was "hot"! I guess the minister is not supposed to think that let alone say it.! People at wedding are very forgiving of little glitches and there are alway some.

It may not sound like it but I like doing weddings (perhaps i am not as cycnical as I let on) and getting to be part of a couple's happy moments.

Gee! was my own wedding, done on the cheap in a hall, as bad as some I have done. . . . . . .
Probably! Besides, it was to the love of my life and "shacking up" was not an option for us, back then.

For the lyrics and translation of the soulfull tune "Ne Me Quitte Pas", the tune playing , drop by here Sting - Ne Me Quitte Pas (English) Lyrics


At 4:06 p.m., Blogger Old Wom Tigley said...

Jane and I have lived together just short of 21 years now, we never married, or felt/feel the need to. We have seen mant folk who took 'vows' fall by the wayside.
We have raised to lads, both have flown the nest now, when our youngest was at infant school he was the only one out of 30 children who had a dad living at home. All his school friends had a collection of so called uncles or just plain 'dead legs' as a male role model.
Jane and I do discuss the issue now and then but the out come is always the same... why try to fix something that's not broke

At 10:55 p.m., Blogger Navigator said...

I got married a second time, to a divorcee, after divorcing my first wife. I had two kids from number one and my second wife had two kids from her ex. There were no plans to further perpetuate the species. We lived together for about 8 years before marrying. Right from the beginning she would have liked to have walked the aisle but did not press me because of my strong belief that marriage was the death of good relationships; as "old wom tigley" says "don't fix what isn't broken." However, as time went on, I realized I was putting her in a bad position with her very large and very traditional family. Also, she nursed me through a life threatening health crisis (a great sign of commitment, I felt), since I believe my first wife would never have put up with the "in sickness" part of the vows. A couple of years later I returned the favour when she had her health scare. At that point, I felt completely at ease in the relationship, and saw no reason why I should not do something that I knew would make her very happy. So I proposed. We have been married now for about 5 years and I don't regret remarrying. With respect to a lot social and legal situations, life is just a lot simpler when you can claim "this is my wife."

At 7:08 a.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thoroughly enjoyed this post and savored the truth in it. I don't much like the slap-stick comedy called "wedding" as done in huge cathedrals and monumental churches supposed to be the abodes of god.

I do, however, like getting married for a variety of reasons.

Patty and I got married in 1955 by what we call a Justice of the Peace. My best friend and the justice's wife were witnesses. That was 52 years ago. I am glad we did it.

At 8:01 a.m., Blogger Renie Burghardt said...

Enjoyed reading your thoughts on marriage, and officiating at a recent wedding, with a flower girl still in diapers! I think women usually hanker for proper weddings more than men.

I was surprised about the census in Canada, showing more people living together without the benefit of clergy, than people actually marrying. I don't know if this is the case in the US as well, or not. Will have to read up on that, since I'm curious now.

I had a proper church wedding back in 1959, and have been happily divorced now for 30 years!

At 2:49 p.m., Blogger Tee said...

I never had a proper wedding. We just had it done at the court house. At the time it was mostly for financial reasons, but I've never been much of the wedding type. The idea of planning all those details, the stress of it, makes it not worth it to me.

My Mom always told me, "It's not the wedding that makes the marriage."

At 9:33 a.m., Blogger possum said...

Trying to catch up on my reading... I do enjoy your thoughts on life and how much we have in common! I am VERY anti-war, anti-Bush, and used to be anti-politics, but have gotten involved because of the Idiot in DC. I, too, am a "student" of religions, am a Unitarian, think I am more Buddhist than anything, but have lived in the Middle East and have a love for moderate Islam as it feels like home, but really have trouble accepting the tribal god type thing.
I really enjoy the pictures of your animals. I used to work at a wildlife rehab/ sanctuary. Have shared my house with all kinds of critters, yeah, even some 2 legged non-featherd ones!
Glad I found your blog.


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