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Jim Junior's wedding took place a few days ago, and what a splendid event it turned out to ...
Well, the most significant event in my recent life has just occurred; my son is now married.
Jim Junior's wedding took place a few days ago, and what a splendid event it turned out to be.
For a start the wedding was conducted by a genial, eccentric, albeit slightly disturbing priest, who not only threw a few funnies into the service but also briefly interrupted proceedings to hand round a hip flask of brandy to the groom and best man.
Then, on exiting the church after the service, the mainly civilian congregation were treated to the sight of a party of immaculate young officers formed up as a guard of honour, complete with No. 1 uniforms and an archway of crossed swords for the newly-married bride and groom. An absolutely magnificent spectacle that made my eyes moisten ever so slightly. Oh all right then, quite a bit. (I think I got away with it though – I blamed it on hay fever.)
And to top it off, for a change the sun was shining. A rare event in these parts this hideous summer, and a welcome departure from the dismal greyness of recent months. It helped to make the day just perfect.
Then we had photographs in the sunshine, after which drinks and canapés were served before the wedding breakfast. Although why a meal at four in the afternoon is called a breakfast is still a mystery to me.
But before the meal there was the small matter of my speech. As I've mentioned in a previous blog I'd fretted about it for weeks beforehand, honing and refining the words in an attempt to convey everything I wanted to whilst still making it seem as if I was delivering a completely ad lib performance. I'd edited, re-written and finally rehearsed it as much as I could, always seeking to achieve the effect of a relaxed, confident delivery without the use of written or typed notes (although they were in my pocket as a back-up just in case my arrse fell out).
To my immense relief it came off.
At the relevant times people laughed, applauded or nodded as appropriate, and generally seemed appreciative of what I was saying. More importantly, at one point the military contingent drummed their approval at something I'd mentioned by banging on the tables. That unexpected accolade moved me beyond belief, and I'll treasure the memory for as long as I live. For me, the table-drumming expression of appreciation was the second highest pinnacle of my afternoon. The fact that I'd gained the approval of those people meant a great deal to me and always will.
But the real treat was the praise I got from my son and his wife, both of whom made some very kind remarks to me just after I'd finished speaking. In fact quite a few people said generous things, but it was the appreciation of Mr and Mrs Jim Junior that mattered most to me.
(If I've gone on too long about the speech I apologise; it's just that I'm typing whilst still full of joyful adrenalin at the memory, and I hope you'll forgive me.)
Anyway, it was truly a wonderful day. My son is now married to an incredibly intelligent, resourceful and downright beautiful young woman. In a way I can't adequately explain I feel that one phase of my life is over, and another has begun.
On another, possibly related theme, I also feel slightly hollow as I end this entry. For some reason the world feels just that bit more empty than it was a few days ago. I'd better leave that to the psychologists to explain. I don't think I can.