Archive for June, 2010|Monthly archive page
On the longest day of the year, the summer solstice, I drove ten hours straight back to the western edge of Minnesota from Marquette, Michigan. Stopping only a few times, I managed to leave the Upper Peninsula by 9am Eastern and arrive back at the big house in Moorhead by 6pm Central. But here is what happened first.
I left for my solo adventure Friday afternoon, excited to be a part of Zach and Ashley’s wedding and a bit nervous about having so much time on my own with my wife and children back at home. Would they miss me? Of course they would. But would I miss them?
National forests and tailgating were my constant companions as I drove through northern Minnesota and Wisconsin. I felt compelled to lay on my horn at two different points: once for a deer and once for a der-der. Six hours later I pulled in to the Bad River Lodge and Casino near Ashland, WI where I was awarded the last available room, a jacuzzi suite. There I found a genuine Jacuzzi, but it was not so sweet. More of a jacuzzi sour. The relatively bare room featured an oversized bathtub near the bed and an unobstructed view of the 13″ television which made high pitched whining noises on every channel above 13.
Thinking I might enjoy losing $10, I walked to the attached casino and took in the flashing lights, smoky air, and unfriendly atmosphere. So much casual desperation in such a small space caused me to return to the solitude of my suite where I spent the night flipping through the channels in my big bathtub. I missed my wife and kids.
Saturday was to be my easy day on the road, only three and a half hours to Marquette so I could check in to the hotel in plenty of time for the rehearsal and groom’s dinner. It was easy, but that did not stop me from missing a turn and adding an extra forty-five minutes to the trip. D’oh!
The hotel, The Landmark, was eight floors of stunning old school beauty, blending modern amenities and the understated elegance of classical furnishings in each room. My room looked like my mother had been given an unlimited budget to decorate her dream guest bedroom, then added a Gideon’s Bible in the desk drawer to give it that touch of hotel flair. The view was also much better than the casino parking lot of the previous night, an angled but still awe inspiring view of Lake Superior complete with a massive and currently unused loading dock. I had a chance to meet some of Zach and Ashley’s relatives during the rehearsal and dinner, they were very welcoming and charming people which helped me to be more confident about how the ceremony would go.
After the dinner, I walked down to the park near the shore to juggle, bringing along my iPod speaker cooler busking bag. Feeling free as a bird, I turned on the tunes and broke out some moves, working up a sweat and channelling the breakdancer from that Dirty Vegas video, you know the one, about the guy who dances every year to bring back his lost love? Most people pretended I wasn’t awesome, but three teen boys were brave enough to come over and say WTF? so they were rewarded with my best moves.
Five years ago, my good friend Brian asked me to marry him. To his fiance.
I said, “You’re crazy,” he told me how to get myself ordained and registered with the county, and the end result was a beautiful ceremony at Frontenac State Park near Red Wing, MN. I thought this was a one-off, but it turns out there is a market for my ministerial duties. Friends and acquaintances began contacting me and asking a very personal question. “Will you marry us?” I have now helped more than a dozen couples celebrate the beginning of their married lives.
On June 5, I had the honor of officiating an intimate ceremony for Ramsay and Amanda at Glacial Lakes State Park near Morris, MN. This was perhaps the smallest and most personalized service I have ever witnessed. The wedding took place along a path surrounded by natural beauty, and there was no audience as everyone in attendance was a vital part of the ceremony.
In addition to my official duties I was asked to wield a microphone back at the reception to address the hundred or so attendees, introducing the happy couple, raising a glass to toast the future, and clearing the floor for their first dance. I enjoyed the microphone so much that later in the night when “Bust A Move” started playing over the sound system it was a small step to ask the DJ for the mic and start rapping and dancing karaoke style.
My next gig is a destination wedding in beautiful Marquette, Michigan. It is a ten hour drive so I will be traveling solo for this one. No two weddings are exactly alike, much as no two couples are exactly alike. People get married all kinds of crazy ways and I am happy to be of service.