In the summer of 1981, I hadn't attended too many weddings. I was eighteen, about to turn nineteen, and I was steering myself out of the rut that was my "gap year" into my return to college. I saw this as a step toward adulthood. That's why I so readily accepted my position as an usher in my older brother's nuptials. I was told that I would be wearing a tux, which would up my total on that particular account to three: Two senior proms and now a wedding.
It was a brilliant, sunny day in Boulder, Colorado. The ceremony was held in the church where I had gone to Sunday school and my older brother had been confirmed before our family had given up on that whole place of worship thing. Now we were back. All of us, and we were about to welcoming another one to our midst. After years of having two brothers, I was adding a sister to the mix: in law.
I wish I could tell you about the ceremony, but it has been decades now, and since I need a photo album and a guest book to remind myself of all the people who came to my own wedding. The photos of that day in June help me recall that most of our neighborhood showed up. The kids we had all grown up with on that dead end street filled the pews and later crowded around the bar at the reception. It was the end of an era and the beginning of a new one. This was notable perhaps most readily by the fact that I had a date. It was the first time I started to wonder about what my own marriage might be like because people started to ask me. I was very aware of how much my own path had followed my older brother's. I felt the urge to rush headlong into that next phase of my life.
I was also very aware of just how much more together my older brother's life was. He was ready. I really wanted to be. I was always in a rush to catch up to my big brother. I wanted to see what he saw, do what he did. On that pre-summer day way back when, I wondered what the view was like from where the groom stood.
Years later, when it was my turn to stand in the center, my older brother and his wife were there to cheer me and my incipient wife on. My brothers stood up with me, and in a day-saving gesture, my older brother came to the rescue. Along with forgetting my pants down the mountain, which my father was able to remedy with a pair of his own and a sturdy belt, the rings had been left behind as well. How could we go ahead with the ceremony without rings?
That day, my older brother and his wife loaned us their rings, carried to the makeshift altar in the meadow by our trustworthy ringbearer in his clenched fists. The pillow on which the rings were to be carried had been forgotten as well. When my wife and I were pronounced as such, we wore the rings that had bonded my brother and his wife back in the day. Something old and something borrowed, all in one. It was that kind of day.
Today is the anniversary of the wedding of my older brother and his wife. The magic of that day continues. In ways I never would have imagined. Mazel Tov.