From the book Spider’s Big Catch
by Gary E. Anderson
As June wraps its arms around us like the warm hug of a favorite aunt, I begin to think about weddings. I've been a musician for thirty years, and I've played at scores of weddings and receptions, sometimes more than once for the same person. It was a way to make a living—the money was good and there was usually decent food.
As a wedding soloist, I’d sit off to the side, watching brides in white dresses and grooms in rented tuxedos promise to love each other forever. But somehow, I couldn’t shake a sadness that always hung over me as I watched, knowing that one in every two marriages will fail.
I can’t explain it, but over the years, I developed an eye for knowing whether a couple was going to make it or not. There was just something about the way the bride and groom related to each other—the look in their eyes and their body language—that offered clues as to how their marriage was going to turn out.
Then one afternoon, while our band was playing for a large reception in a small town ballroom, I casually looked across the vast sea of people. My glance moved from table to table, until I saw the bride and groom, sitting alone in a corner. They were sitting in total ease, holding hands, saying nothing.
Her flowing white dress and his tuxedo seemed out of place, but their happiness and comfort with each other was totally apparent. There was no question that those two people belonged together. They would’ve been sitting there in those same two chairs, still holding hands in exactly the same way, if they’d been wearing blue jeans and overalls at someone else’s reception.
They were at a party, to be sure—a big, loud party. But the party was really for the benefit of everyone else in attendance. They were totally comfortable just sitting in their corner, out of the limelight, watching the people they loved having a good time.
As cynical as I’d become over the years, something struck me at that moment as I watched that couple. I realized that weddings actually represent the triumph of the human spirit. Every marriage is a public statement by two people, letting the whole world know that together, they choose to believe that their union will be the one-in-two that lasts.
When thought of in that way, every wedding really symbolizes a victory of hope—in the face of all odds. Sure, it’ll take all their courage and strength to succeed, but no matter what, couples continue to try.
They know the statistics are against them—but they look straight into the eyes of the odds makers and say, “So what?”
And why not? Throughout history, people have staked their fortunes, and sometimes their very lives, on less than a 50-50 chance.
Maybe that’s why we hold so many weddings in the month of June. It’s a month that can be unpredictable—full of warmth and promise one minute, and then suddenly becoming stormy and filled with uncertainty.
As for me, since seeing that couple, holding hands at their reception, I’ve begun singing my wedding solos with a renewed hope—embodied by two people at the altar, vowing to face their future together, in spite of overwhelming odds.
© 2004. Gary E. Anderson. All rights reserved.
Gary Anderson is a freelance writer, editor, ghostwriter, and manuscript analyst, living on a small Iowa farm. He’s published more than 500 articles and four books. He’s also ghosted a dozen books, edited more than 30 full-length manuscripts, produced seven newsletters, and has done more than 800 manuscript reviews for various publishers around the nation. If you need writing or editing help, visit Gary’s website at www.abciowa.com.
Gary E. Anderson