Thursday, March 28, 2013

Warning: I Cry at the Weddings of Strangers

A wedding to take place just beyond our hotel room's balcony!

I'm the designated cryer of happy tears at weddings, graduations, christenings or brises. Hey, in every group, individuals have roles: leader, follower, prankster, peace-keeper, slacker, worker bee, and so on.  A cryer isn't called upon often, but I'm there when needed.

Earlier this week, Hubs and I fled Houston for two days on Lake Travis. Our room had a balcony overlooking water, and when we stepped outside to admire the view, we spied the set-up for a wedding. Hooray! For me, a wedding ranks much higher, amenity-wise, than HBO and fancy toiletries. We settled into deck chairs and prepared to watch the ceremony. I did not, however, grab tissues. This was, after all, the wedding of strangers. I had no memories of the bride and groom as toddlers, sulky teenagers, or young adults with their first full-time jobs. Someone else would weep on cue.

Wouldn't you know my eyes filled long before the bride appeared. The flower girl, who'd been skipping across the lawn moments earlier, froze when it came time for her to walk the aisle. Her daddy had to carry her plus her tiny basket of rose petals. The task of scattering the petals also fell to him since his daughter had wound her arms around his neck and buried her head between his neck and shoulder. 

Next, the mothers of the bride and groom walked the aisle to the tune of Simon and Garfunkel's "Bridge over Troubled Water."

It's not a typical processional, and I couldn't remember all the lyrics, but what I recalled told me these two moms had been there, really been there, for their kids. I saluted them with tears. 

"I'll take your part
When darkness comes
And pain is all around
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down."

Later in the ceremony, the moms stood beside the bride and groom. His arm looped over his mother's shoulder, and the bride held her mom's hand. I sniffled.

Throughout the ceremony, the writer in me made up stories. One of them may inspire a novel.

My take-away: 1. Weddings, no matter where, no matter whose, are magical. 2. Tears function as a canary in the coal mine--an early-warning system that indicates emotion is bubbling under the surface. As a writer, I want to tap that emotion. 3. Story ideas materialize in the most unexpected places. 

Do you cry at weddings? Make up stories about strangers? Arrive early to pick up friends and family at the airport so you can watch the people milling around baggage claim? 

Superlative news: Lark Howard, who started this blog and had to quit it due to her day-job responsibilities and evening writing schedule, made the finals of the Golden Heart, Romance Writers of America's prestigious contest for unpublished writers.  Yay, Lark!


Anonymous said...

Hi Pat,

Airports always make sad in some strange way (having spent nearly a life-time in them travelling for business).

I always realized that whenever I travelled, (even if it was for just a short time interval) that I was leaving a loved one behind and that always made me somewhat melancholy.

Always made me think about how ephemeral life is and the realization that someday people we love (especially those older than us) just might not be there anymore. Because that's the way life is.

Whenever a seatmate on a return trip would ask me what part of the trip I enjoyed the most I would always say: "Right now".

- Pat

Jennette Marie Powell said...

No, no, and no. But if it's my daughter's wedding or graduation, all bets are off. :)

Congrats to Lark!

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Hi, Pat,
I understand that feeling of melancholy you describe. I also know distance can help us see more clearly and appreciate those we left behind. Wouldn't you like to take all those you care about on your next trip? I know, I know it's impossible for lots of reasons, but the best experiences are the ones we share with those we love most.

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Hi, Jennette,
Remember you posted the video of your daughter's choral group singing at Omaha Beach? I bawled.

Liz Flaherty said...

I don't cry much over deep, dark hurts, but give me a nice wedding or a good commercial or a kid who's either profoundly happy or profoundly sad and I'm a three-hanky girl.

I enjoyed the post--and the wedding of strangers.

Liz Flaherty said...

Oh, and congratulations to Lark.

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Me, too, Liz! I turn stoic when things go bad for me but don't hold back on the happy tears--or tears for kids.

I am thanking my lucky stars I got to see that wedding. Bridge over Troubled Water for the mothers' processional? You know there's a story there. I call dibs!

Lark's on a roll!

Coleen Patrick said...

Yes, yes, and maybe. I've been known to cry at commercials. Even my kids seem to know what will get me, and often are looking at me the moment I get that tickle in my eye that signals the tears. :)

Coleen Patrick said...

Oh and CONGRATS to Lark!

Lynette M . Burrows said...

Yes, yes, and yes. I even cried when I read the mother's processional was Bridge over Troubled Water. :) I'm grimly stoic when it's my trouble, saving my tears for my problems for a private moment. But I have been known to cry at a stranger's wedding, commercials, movies, a beautiful sunset, and more. I am definitely the designated crier in my family. :) So glad you had a beautiful getaway time!

Congrats, Lark!

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