by Steve Lancaster 12/21/18
My wife and I just returned from a 2200-mile road trip to attend the daughter of a friend’s wedding. The groom is an engineer and owns a pizza restaurant here in Fayetteville. The bride assumed my wife’s job as a financial analyst in the Chemical Engineering department of the University of Arkansas. The planning for this day began when they announced their engagement about one year ago.
These days formal weddings are not the thing among the younger crowd. To have any kind of ceremony at all is unusual but the whole deal with a rehearsal dinner, reception dinner and party and a brunch the day after is so traditional as to require comment. The wedding was in Charleston SC. Even in the winter a gorgeous location. I can’t say much about the venues except that they were beautiful Southern locations. The low country and the tidewater add a special grace and charm to the proceedings and by themselves made the trip worthwhile.
Wedding are a special commitment for friends and family. These two young people will face challenges in their life together, but I have no doubt that they will persevere and prosper. It is not entirely due to the wedding ceremony, but it is a major element, with friends and family standing by the couple that, if nothing else, provides emotional support to them. A community endorsement of their commitment.
At other times in our culture, when things were leaner, a wedding might be formalized with the bride and groom jumping over a broom. In New England it was not uncommon for a new bride to give birth 6 months after the marriage. Apparently, premature births were easily cared for in Puritan communities. Fertility was a prized asset in the 17th century.
The acceptance of the relationship between two people has always been one of the strengths of not only Western culture but all human cultures. As we have degraded the importance of marriage, we have also degraded the importance of child rearing and community life. Perhaps in the future marriage as an institution will arise to the important place it holds in our culture. It was a privilege to attend this wedding, for all it symbolizes about our collective past and all it means for the future.
My wife and I had a whirlwind tour of Charleston and Savanah on our trip. I wanted to visit Parris Island RD, but weather and time prevented that. We did have lunch at the Lady and Son restaurant, owned and operated by Paula Deen. The drive home through South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and Arkansas was long and tiring. I doubt we will make another long road trip. One of the nicest stretches of the Interstate system is I-22 between Birmingham and Tupelo. If you have the opportunity you can catch up with the Natchez Trace in Tupelo and visit the birthplace of Elvis. • (95 views)