On Sunday we went to a lovely lunchtime wedding in a park

I reckon for many of us it’s about a decade. It begins in your mid-twenties and drops away as forty looms like a stop sign. I speak, of course, of weddings.

 

I attended lots of great ones in little country churches surrounded by paddocks of waving wheat; on golf courses; by the beach in Victor Harbor; at large suburban places of worship.

 

The receptions have been in country footy clubs with the catering done by the matronly pillars of the community, no nonsense women. Pubs, backyards, function centres and more than I can count have been at Ayers House, in the middle of Adelaide which I think is somewhat compulsory if you live here.

 

One Saturday we had four weddings and as we’d both been given a duty, I went to the one in the Barossa and Kerry, another in the city. She was a bridesmaid and I was asked to do a reading from Corinthians 13. You know the one-

I may be able to speak the languages of men and even of angels, but if I have no love, my speech is no more than a noisy gong or a clanging bell.

Sunday’s affair was special. The boys were invited, and it was their first. The last wedding we’d been to was in Singapore over three years ago at the Fullarton overlooking the harbour and the heat.

 

It was in a park along the Torrens with the reception in a community hall. It was one of those great days where the sun shines and everyone enjoys it knowing it could be the last time before winter’s rain and cruel wind forces us inside.

 

The ceremony was lovely and people smiled and took photos on their phones but also held hands and cried when the groom choked up as he said his vows and I paused and thought of the many things for which I should be grateful.

 

Max sat on the grass right at the front listening intently and drinking in the language, and his special treat of a can of lemonade while Alex sat on the nearby wooden fence looking about the trees and sky but also concentrating.

 

After the knot was tied the new bride sang along with Tina Turner’s “Simply The Best” which will weld these two together whenever I hear this song. This is the job of a song.

 

Central to the catering was that most 2017 of experiences, the food truck. Parked on the fresh bitumen behind the hall, folks lined up and ordered Argentinian burgers. We had the steak, the chorizo and the chicken. They were great. Alex had some pumpkin soup, but it wasn’t as good as Nanny’s.

 

People sat inside or out in the sun on plastic chairs. There was music, mostly from the sixties. I’d finished my lunch and was talking with the celebrant about St Albans and London. On her second glass of Bird In Hand bubbles, from across the table my wife winked at me. They then played one of my favourite all time songs, the Bee Gees, “To Love Somebody.” I wiped a tear from the corner of my eye.

 

There were other kids and pregnant women and older folks too. A widower got in my ear with lots of detail about the vans and dogs he’s owned, but I didn’t mind. There were reminders everywhere of the richness of life. Max and I went for a walk along the linear path. Alex flopped his gangly self about the playground. For the last hour we sat in the sun on an ornamental rock with old friends who’d visited us when we lived in England.

 

Around mid-afternoon we drove home through the lazy Sunday traffic and I took the dogs down to the Old Gum Tree where there were two or three gently swirling groups also enjoying life’s landmarks.

 

It was a wedding. A gentle, affirming wedding.

 

About Mickey Randall

Favourite film: The Shawshank Redemption Favourite song: Khe Sahn Favourite holiday destination: Gold Coast Favourite food: steak Favourite beer: VB Best player seen: Dogga Worst player seen: Frogga Last score on beep test: 3.14159 Favourite minor character in Joyce’s Ulysses: Punch Costello

Comments

  1. The 60’s music seems like a lovely touch, Mickey. Well played.

  2. Gorgeous Mickey. St Paul is on my 5 people you would invite to dinner list. Corinthians 13:1 and 2 are among the most beautiful and honest pieces of philosophy ever spoken. You don’t need to be christian to understand their truth.
    One of my fave films is Kieslowski’s “3 Colours Blue” featuring a young Juliet Binoche (swoon!) She is the wife of a famous composer and is the only survivor of a car crash that kills him and her daughter. She decides attachments only bring you pain, so she sells everything and cuts off all connections to live anonymously in a small Paris apartment. The film meanders along with her having no friends or life – but Juliet has to borrow the neighbour’s cat because of her fear of mice. The neighbour is a stripper who sees her father in the front row at the club and rings Juliet to return the favour by bringing clothes to smuggle her out.
    Just when I am about to give up on this Gallic obscurity the screen goes black and it says “If I have the gift of prophecy and know all things, but have not love, I have nothing”.
    In pre-google days I vaguely remembered something from Sunday School and eventually found the verses from St Paul’s letters that you quoted at the wedding.
    The beginning of wisdom.
    “There’s a light
    A certain kind of light
    That never shone on me….”
    (B Gibb – not Carlton)

  3. Smokie- While I’m not a fan of the brothers Gibb disco output I reckon many of their previous songs are fantastic. They really knew how to write and perform a pop song.

    PB- Juliette Binoche is certainly luminous in this and other films. Haven’t spotted her for a while. Corinthians pops up frequently in all sorts of places, doesn’t it? Notably read by Tony Blair at Lady Di’s funeral. B. Gibb!

  4. Mickey – I can’t remember going to a bad wedding. Its like attending a celebration after your team’s just won the flag. Everyone is in the right mood. Its an important day. A precious day.

  5. Dips- I agree with you about the joyousness of a wedding although a few years ago I worked with a bloke who was also a celebrant. He had a few stories to tell including this one- possibly involving members of a motorcyclists’ organisation. No sooner had the groom uttered “I do” when the bride socked him with a big roundhouse and editorialised, “Right! Now make sure you start to effing behave!”

    With these confusions cleared up, I’m sure the reception went smoothly.

  6. Neil Anderson says

    A perfect antidote story after the horrors of London bridge on the weekend. We need to hear about the softer side of life more and more. Thank you.

  7. Rulebook says

    Well played,Mickey at a wedding at Ayres House to say that a female was keen on a mate sitting next to me was a mild understatement,Gordo smiles shrugs his shoulders a few of the other guys at the table not quite as quick on the take realised about a half hour later and the info is quietly passed over that it’s the best mans girlfriend so Gordo and myself thought it was time to see if we could get beers at every other wedding at Ayres House that night,3 out of 4 not bad ( a memorable night)

  8. Thanks Neil. I reckon if I could go to a wedding every 5 or 6 weeks for the rest of my days, I’d be happy!

    You’re a wedding crasher Rulebook! Luckily I’m sitting as I type this. Standing on the Ayers House front lawns, enjoying a pre-reception drink in the late afternoon sun is a particularly South Australian rite of passage. Sneaking through the laneway to the Exeter after the reception is another! Cheers.

  9. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Well played Mickey. Four weddings in one weekend! We haven’t been to four this century.

    I must be the only South Australian who has never been to Ayers House. I’ve been to the Beach House, is that something similar? Went to scores of weddings in the 80s, not many since. There needs to be two food vans, one serving beef, the other chicken.

    I’ve also never worn a tuxedo, although I’m thinking that I’ll wear a blue one, Steve Martin style if I’m ever father of the bride.

    The Wedding Singer always gets a full viewing at our place when it’s on, but I guess it’s DJs only these days, more’s the pity.

  10. Thanks Swish. My observations tell me that there’s better behaviour at the Beach House (a kids’ amusement/ water-slides/ mini-golf complex) than at Ayers House. Certainly after hours.

    While I’ve also never “donned a tux” as the phrasing seems to run, an old girlfriend got married down at Mt Compass in a cow paddock, resplendent in rubber boots and wedding dress. I’m unsure what the cattle thought. Probably very little.

    For introducing a new generation to “Love Stinks” (Showtime by the J. Geils Band one of my favourite live albums) the Wedding Singer has made a contribution. “Do You Really Want To Hurt Me?’ goes well in this context (the original an underrated tune, too).

  11. Luke Reynolds says

    Great stuff Mickey.

    With you and Swish on The Wedding Singer.

    The majority of recent weddings I’ve been to have fortunately featured a live singer/band instead of a pill popping jukebox.

  12. Thanks Luke. As it also features “99 Luftballoons” TWS gets points. One of the great Germanic one-hit wonders.

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