You know, I've always been one to play favorites. That's probably going to be bad news for a relationship or two with my future children, but hell, I can't help the way I am. I don't believe people can change, so why bother to try? In fact, I'm going to get it over with right now. If I have two children and one of them is a boy, the boy will be my favorite. I love you, son.
Anyhow, I have a favorite when it comes to cousins, too. The rest is something of a faceless rabble with whom I happen to share common ancestral roots. Other than that, they're pretty much indistinguishable, one from the other. I'm sure they all have names, but I can never seem to remember them. Mostly I'm forced to interact with these people on holidays and special occasions, but I usually spend that time imagining I am somewhere else, far, far away.
Well, one of those special occasions was just a couple of weeks ago, when my favorite cousin Abby got married, and believe you me there was no other place I would have rather been. The man to whom Abby has bound herself for all eternity is Silas, a genial fellow who shares Abby's commitment to protecting the Earth and whose laugh is vaguely reminiscent of a mad scientist's. Best of all, he has a beard! This was my first time meeting Silas, but certainly not the last. By default he is my new co-favorite cousin. Or maybe I'll call him Cousin 1-a. Silas, I look forward to getting to know you better. I would say what a wise decision you've made in marrying Abby, but by now you know better than me how awesome she is. Welcome to the family and let me take this chance to offer you both a hearty McBoneulations!
The marriage itself was an outdoor affair that took place at my aunt and uncle's sprawling, 40-room lakeside palace in New Hampshire (imagine all the opulence of the Shining combined with the rustic charm of Camp Crystal Lake), the very spot where Abby and I spent an amazing summer together back in 1994. In those days the living quarters consisted of a humble cottage--straw mats to sleep on, and, with no functional cooking apparatus, can after can of cold beans and franks. But Abby and I had each other, and I know that when she told me at the end of those three months that she never wanted to see my stupid face again, she was only half-serious.
Well, Aunt Gail and Uncle Don have really spruced up the old place since those days. Gone is the roofless cottage (though, curiously, the outhouse remains!) and on this glorious Sunday afternoon friends and family converged from far and wide on this woodland Xanadu. By noon the place was infested with countless half-breed Armenians and, I swear, you've never seen so many unibrows in your life.
After a ceremony that was lovingly written by the bride and groom themselves and featured a slobbering dog with whom the obliging bride managed a quick game of fetch, it was time to celebrate.
Music was provided by the outstanding bluegrass group, the Goodtime Stringband. Beer and wine were in abundant supply, but Dad, Jeff, Graham and I raided the liquor cabinet for bourbon. What's a wedding, after all, without getting blind drunk?
Aunt Gail took care of the food herself. Armenian was the logical choice, so we feasted on cracker bread, rice pilaf, homemade tabbouleh with fresh cut garden herbs, and utterly scrumptious kebabs made from a lamb raised and slaughtered by Silas and Abby themselves. Perhaps most amazing was the authentic Armenian guacamole!
Speeches were made, and the food was devoured. Dancing followed, and then came the inevitable game of King of the Dock, where it's every man and woman for themselves and no holds are barred.
Fortunately, death and serious injury were avoided on this happy day.
Well, I'd be lying if I said I could remember any more. In all, it was one of the finest times I've had in my life, worthy of remembrance and certainly the start of a long, happy, loving union between two beautiful people. The marriage of Abby and Silas certainly merits the official McBone Seal of Approval, which I stamp here most ardently: McB.
Photos reproduced without permission.