Today my son married.
Sitting here in his town; just sitting in reflective quietude with the juice of the peat in hand, I know that what had just occurred had made for the best of days.
There were doubts it would be thus at day’s dawning. This little place, fastened on the western shore of Anderson Bay, was holding its collective breath for all knew of the couple’s plan. It was an audacious plan – but the rain was then tumbling down in scuds. All comprehended if it continued to do so the plan would have to be scuttled, to use an apt nautical term; the desire to create an occasion, that would linger long in the mind’s eye, would be undeniably somewhat spoilt, but certainly not irredeemably tarnished. How could it be?
The ‘Bulldog’ was central. It was intended that later this day the sturdy snub-nosed barge would carry its first substantial cargo, a human one, on arguably its most important journey. For on board there would be a bridal arch at the prow and a beautiful bride aft, waiting for her moment. With a red carpet stretched down its main (and only) deck and weighed down tables for succulent seafood treats, convivial signs had been strategically placed to urge all to ‘Eat, drink and be married’. If the rain moderated, that would doubtless occur around the main event. What would be celebrated was the culmination of two separate journeys, not always calm sailing, coming together in the ether at first. Then my son moved to the little town to commence building a relationship and a vocational life. The place he now calls home has become a sort of second abode for this relaxed old fella as our couple caught the travel bug. They saw me only to happy to attend to their two beloved canines, not to mention one defiantly independent cat. To me the little town is a place the sun always seems to shine. Would it also shine on their day of days – this day?
The tides had been figured out long before and the decision on the date was fixed accordingly. The vessel, named in memory of a treasured workmate, taken well before his time, had been sweated on by my son with a posse of other workmates for long hours to make her ship-shape for the day. As this day in question proceeded, the scuds diminished in frequency and power. Then, just before the appointed hour, out came the sun. The blue-hulled barge looked splendid as family and friends gathered dockside, ready for her departure. As the Bulldog escaped the confines of the river, fine samples of local product from the briny were served from the tiny galley and a piper took his place, playing Hebridean airs. Our vessel faced into the swells of the open sea, turned and headed along the coast to a sheltered spot abutting the old pier. It laid anchor, the drawbridge forward was lowered and my son took his place, to wait, against background of sunlight dazzling off Anderson Bay.
Back aft the bridal party assembled. At their head, for the procession down the red carpet, a little girl made ready for her role. At times, in the lead up, she had felt overwhelmed by the awesomeness of her responsibility. Who would hold her hand? Where were Mummy and Daddy if there was a problem. But, one thing was for sure, in a gown sewn with love, she looked exquisite. The appointed time came. Hands were offered to help her on her way to spread rose petals afore her Auntie Shan and her gorgeous bridesmaids. Although her small valkyrian heart was beating so loud, she knew exactly what was required. She garnered together all the courage an almost four year old could muster, politely refused the hands and strode out amongst all those people she did not know. She did her task to perfection as her Poppy became misty eyed with pride and love.
My son took a deep breath, turned and faced his bride as she approached. He flushed a little as he noted the beauty of this woman to whom he would attach his future, as she would to him.
Two venerable grandparents, one from each side, watched the procession and taking of vows, also with swelled hearts. They had seen many a wedding during their long years, but none surely so unique and so carefully executed as this. Out in the element that helped sustain the little town, the Bulldog gently rocked as a mint new married couple made their way back along the carpet to begin their mingling and to receive the congratulations that were their due.
The Bulldog, successfully discharging its duty, raised anchor and sailed back to port, being gazed on by townspeople who lined the shore. Proceedings continued at the home of this family who have taken in my son, valued him for his many attributes, but at the same time ensuring he was firmly grounded in the culture of their calling and of the town. It is an amazing family he is now son-in-law, brother-in-law and husband to. My son made a speech – and he made a fine fist of that too. Looking on, his Dad couldn’t possibly be happier for him. So happy, in fact, that after some libation, his father took to the dance floor later this evening with his oldest mate and did some very fine moves and sprightly gyrations as the band pounded out a hip version of ‘Ring of Fire’.
Sipping now on my Glenfiddich, I can reflect how perfect this day has been. At the festivities this evening I was seated with aforementioned mate on one side, the woman I adore on the other, with my daughter and that brave little flower-girl opposite. Now I am content with the wonder of it all. I know that She up there beyond the silver lining will smile on this union, as Bulldog will do likewise from his spot in the constellations. Best of all, I have a daughter-in-law to cherish.
Yes, today my son married.