A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Friday, February 09, 2007

Cupcakes and Harmonicas

Fifty years ago today, my parents were married near Philadelphia. It was not a large affair and there wasn’t enough time to sew a wedding dress or arrange flowers. Dad was scheduled to report for active duty in the Navy in a few days. The nuptials had to happen quickly before he shipped out.

I’ve never seen any photos or movies taken that day; in fact, I’ve never heard of any photos taken on this occasion. I don’t know if everyone present forgot to bring a camera, or whether it happened so fast that no one thought about preserving the ceremony. We would ask Dad about it and he would joke that he played the harmonica and they had a reception of Tastykake cupcakes. I always laughed at his story because he never owned a harmonica in all the years I knew him, but he very seldom gave any other details.

The few other details I have heard leads me to believe it was not the happy day that my Mom could have had, or deserved. For example, I’ve heard that Dad’s older sisters cried because they believed their baby brother would burn in Hell for marrying a girl outside his religion. I know it’s not necessarily a reflection on me - I wouldn’t be born for another two-and-a-half years or so – but I have allowed his subsequent ex-communication to affect my life. It has biased my belief in organized religion. I know it shouldn’t, but that’s me.

My point is a wedding is one event that so many people plan to the minutest detail, and then spend thousands of dollars on its execution. Ironically, many of the marriages that begin with these luxurious events don’t last. My parents had a simple, small wedding and their union lasted 48 years. Their mutual affection for each other saw them through happy and turbulent times, raising two sons, and overcame many differences – religious and otherwise.

I would love to have a party for them today, but it wouldn’t be the same without Dad here. Instead, each of us who knew them can spend the day quietly remembering the happy years they were together. My mother, brother and I each have our own set of memories that we can rifle through today. I’m sure there will be smiles and tears, and perhaps we can imagine Dad playing the harmonica while the cupcakes are divvied up. The event and how it played out doesn’t matter that much now. It’s just important that it and the events during these last fifty years happened at all.

Love you, Mom!


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