This Saturday, I rode with my parents, an aunt and uncle, and two cousins down to the Philadelphia area. There, we all attended my cousin Melissa’s wedding to Brian. It was a pleasant day and an enjoyable weekend.
My parents and I left their house around 8:05 that morning. Our first stop was to pick up Uncle Roger, Aunt Marlene, Rhonda, and Elizabeth. Elizabeth is Rhonda’s daughter, who was not actually going to the wedding. We were just taking her to meet the family she would be spending the night with while her mother was away. After that, we swung by Sandrra’s house to pick her up, thereby completing our little entourage. After that, the meat of our four hour trip began.
The trip itself went quite well, the worst part being the horrendous traffic on Route 309 when we hit Quakerstown. Of course, there was also the minor issue where we missed our turn onto the Pennsylvania Turnpike from I-80, but we recovered from that quickly. Fortunately, no cop was around to notice our illegal U-Turn just a couple hundred yards from the exit.
I have to admit that I was a bit concerned about spending that much time with family in the van. I was particularly worried that the discussions would focus on religion and politics, two subjects in which I hold radically different views from 99% of the rest of my family, which means I either have to remain silent or risk starting a confrontation. This is certainly something I would’ve wanted to avoid, as it would’ve certainly affected everyone’s disposition at Melissa’s wedding. And I adore Melissa.
Fortunately, my concerns proved unfounded. I failed to consider that the lively religious and political discussions are mainly initiated and continued by the men in my family (particularly the husbands of a couple cousins). My aunt and two cousins (Uncle Roger was mostly silent or talked with my father) were much more interested in discussing the studies, extracurricular activities, and general well-being of their children and other family members. Of course, this also made me painfully aware of just how out-of-touch I have become with most of my family. After this weekend, I’m not so sure that’s a good thing. It’s something I will have to ponder later.
Sandra did inquire about my work, and quickly rediscovered why most of the family doesn’t inquire. As a software engineer, my job is quite technical and discussion of it in any detail tends to quickly go over most people’s heads. But it was certainly nice of her to ask.
At any rate, the trip down passed without any major mishaps or strife, and we made it to the church about seventy minutes before the wedding would start. As we hadn’t eaten, we decided to go look for someplace to eat. After wandering around lost for about five minutes, we found a helpful police officer who was able to give us directions to a plaza that had a McDonald’s, a Subway, and a few other options. We decided to go with McDonald’s.
After eating, I decided to change into my clothes for the wedding. I had worn my dress pants on the drive down, but chose to wear a nice tee shirt with it, figuring it would prevent the chance of me getting something on it (like ketchup or barbecue sauce) when eating lunch. So I put on my undershirt and the blue dress shirt I had chosen for the wedding (I’ll have to see if anyone has a picture of me in the outfit and get a copy) and exchanged my sneakers for dress shoes. Sandra told me I looked nice, which made me smile. Then we made our way back to the church.
The wedding itself was simple, yet beautiful. There were certain elements in the wedding ceremony that I have only seen in one other weddings — James’s. I found myself wondering if they were specific to Methodist Weddings, as James is also a methodist. (Though I should note that he and Michelle got married in a Wesleyan church.) And Melissa looked fantastic in her wedding gown.
After the wedding was over, we had some time to kill before the reception, so a large number of us (including a few more aunts, uncles, and cousins who came by themselves) decided to go to Dairy Queen. This is the point where I also got to see my cousin, Robin. I haven’t seen her in over a decade, so it was a pleasant surprise. We both commented that we hope we see each other sooner next time.
After finishing our ice cream and chatting for a while, we decided to go to the fire hall where the reception was to be held (after running back to the church to pick up those who wanted to stick around and take photographs, of course). The reception itself consisted of a dinner served family style. The chicken was absolutely delicious. The DJ they got for entertainment played some great music (though we left before the dancing got started, so we didn’t hear much of it). At about 7:30, everyone in our group decided it was getting time to head home, so we all piled into the van for the four hour or so trip back to northern PA.
Overall, it was a fantastic day.