Thursday, April 27, 2017 - Updated: 10:07 AMWeddings in the Wills family have always been low-key affairs. That is, until the younger generation came along.
This past year, Carolyn and I had the pleasure of traveling around the eastern United States attending family weddings. While these weddings were not huge, flashy affairs, the parties around them were large and exciting. They were quite a step up from my mother and father’s. They got married at the pastor’s house and then sat down and had breakfast.
The first wedding of the year, was in Connecticut. I was expecting that we would be in a very urban area. But no, we ended up way out in the boonies. The wedding site was barely in Connecticut, just across the state line from the Hudson River Valley. Driving up there was about 1000 miles of great sight-seeing, but when we crossed out of New York, it was like driving from Metropolis to Vienna by way of New Columbia.
We stayed in an old traditional New England resort on a beautiful lake. The bride and groom, and many of those attending the wedding, were from New York City, only 90 miles away.
The ceremony was certainly a family affair, with one brother playing the guitar and my great-nieces and nephews coming down the aisle like a gaggle of flower girls and ring bearers.
Following the wedding, we all moved to a huge tent for a meal. Then the band began and the dance floor was opened up to people of all ages. The little people seem to have just as much fun dancing as the thirty-somethings did. I’m not sure how long the music lasted, but it went on past my bedtime.
Headed home down the Hudson Valley, we visited the small town of Hyde Park, New York, the birthplace of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. While the Roosevelt family was extremely rich, their home there along the Hudson River was not nearly as grand as I expected. But it was very nice.
While Hyde Park only has about 3000 people, there are many mansions.
We felt the historical significance of standing in the room where the famous president was born. An oddity is that I have also stood in the room where he died in Warm Springs, Georgia. Studying, and writing about, his life between those two times has kept some people busy for many years.
Our stop at West Point was a little disappointing in that it was so foggy we could barely see the buildings and the Hudson River, which is said to be so beautiful there.
Our second wedding of the year was a little closer to home — Chicago.
It was another nephew tying the knot with another young woman we had never met.
Since we would be staying in downtown Chicago, where a car is of little value, we took the train from Carbondale right into the middle of the city. We have found this sometimes works very good, and saves money by not paying exorbitant parking fees. Unfortunately, proposed federal budget cuts may force the Carbondale to Chicago passenger train to shut down.
My nephew and his bride designed a very interesting wedding ceremony which involved both Jewish and Catholic traditions. They also had to overcome language barriers. The bride’s family is originally from Brazil so about half the people attending did not speak English. I caught myself trying to speak a little Spanish to the bride’s mother, and then remembered people from Brazil speak Portuguese, not Spanish.
To accommodate the language barriers, there was a program for the wedding which had readings in both English and Portuguese. That way everyone knew what was being said.
Following the wedding was another big party, this one featuring Brazilian rum.
At the third wedding of the year, we could all understand each other, we were all southern. It was a Florida beach wedding. It included two nights of partying.
The wedding itself was on beautiful Pensacola Beach, with most of the people barefooted. Unfortunately, the weather was cooler than expected, and the wind much stronger than it should’ve been.
The important thing was that the bride and groom had the type of wedding they wanted, and everyone enjoyed the beach atmosphere.
We think our wedding trips are over for a while, but you never know when love will strike again.