It was a two-wedding weekend in the North Carolina mountains near Boone.
My great-great-nephew, Brad, and my wife’s great-great-nephew, Charlie, both took unto themselves brides in ceremonies on the same day.
My Florida son-in-law, Adam, deftly and smoothly courted the sharp, winding curves. Nevertheless, I was guilty of a few gasps along the way as I looked off into what seemed like an eternity of blue mountains painted on a canvas of blue, sunlit sky.
“I’ll bet Watauga has the lowest number of drunk driving arrests of any county in the state,” I thought to myself. “Only a fool would imbibe in either homemade or store-bought spirits before tackling these roads .”
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Brad and Kate said their vows on the porch of a rustic lodge perched on the side of the mountain. The bride could have spared her parents the cost of the wedding bouquet, as Mother Nature had already decorated the grounds with abundant clumps of rhododendron in full bloom.
Charlie and Skylar exchanged pledges of love until death does them part in the Banner Elk Presbyterian Church, where the sanctuary bulletin board noted that the past Sunday’s attendance was 248.
As a member of a church with a membership of 4,000 or more, I couldn’t help but imagine, and momentarily even envy, the “togetherness” of such a small congregation.
I was diverted from the preliminaries of the seating of the dignitaries and the march down the aisle of eight bridesmaids by a little boy of about 6 sitting just in front of me. He kept kissing the top of his baby sister’s head as the father sought to comfort the restless wee one.
Two weddings in one weekend can be pleasant as well as exhausting. Both events were hugging marathons.
Unlike some people, I don’t mind being hugged, even by strangers, as was sometimes the case during the two-wedding weekend. However, a friend staves off hugging by extending her palm for a handshake when someone approaches her with open arms.
In an e-mail, Jim Richmond, a reader of this column, noted that Southerners have a penchant for hugging.
Jim remembers that his third-grade teacher was an incessant hugger.
“She stood in her classroom doorway and hugged every one of her students as they passed through in the morning when they arrived. She hugged us in and out at recess, in and out at lunchtime, and hugged us out at the end of the day,” he recalled.
“She also hugged us on and off throughout the day . Because I couldn’t stand all that hugging, my understanding mother had me transferred to another Third Grade teacher.
“These days physical contact between an adult teacher and a child is discouraged, sometimes forbidden, even in Kindergarten. So, our Southern tradition of hugging each other may also be on its way out,” Jim concluded.
It’s not on the way out at Southern weddings, at least not yet. And that’s fine by me.
I felt soul-cleansed as well as sad as we wended our way homeward through the mountains. I concluded that the “amber waves of grain” cannot hold a candle to our state’s “mountain majesties.”
Letter to God
What did President Donald Trump write in the note to God that he left behind when he visited the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem during his international tour?
That’s none of our business. But curiosity not only kills cats. Curiosity also is an important if not vital aspect of the human condition. Breathes there a soul so dead that it is void of curiosity? I doubt it.
Considering all the furor and frustration that the president has faced during his brief time in office, I wouldn’t have been surprised if he had walked up to the Wall and had begun banging his head against it.
I also wouldn’t be surprised if the president’s note pleaded, “Dear God, please help me get through this mess I’m in!”
A friend, a Yellow Dog Democrat of course, thinks otherwise.
Noting the president’s overwhelming inclination to exude self-confidence in every task he tackles, my friend thinks Mr. Trump’s note more than likely read something like, “God, go take a long vacation. I’ll handle everything from here on.”