Patti Jo and I recently returned from attending a Palm Springs wedding. I guess our behavior wasn’t all it could have been.
The bride and groom were two young friends of ours, Britton Rizzio and Jay Martin. Jay, now 33, came to Laguna with his parents for our wedding 20 years ago in the Congregational church. At the rehearsal, he walked right into one of its long high windows, hitting it with his front teeth. The window fell to the ground in front of him but didn’t hurt him. It didn’t even break a tooth. It was a Congregational church miracle.
Nothing so spectacular occurred at the Martin-Rizzio nuptials last weekend, but the ceremony was quite lovely and the reception topped ours easily in decibel level. Jay directs music videos now, so the dance mix after the ceremony was impressively loud and blew the older guests away, by which I mean out the door.
One nice feature was a photo booth; guests went in and sat for a page of six photos to leave in a big book as mementos. Patti Jo and I did our six, cheek to cheek, but she was left with a thorny dilemma when they came out of the slot.
The problem was, they came out well, or anyway some of them did. Patti Jo looked terrific. Better, she believed, than in any photo of her taken in the last five years. And I looked acceptable, certainly far better than usual. We were shocked and mesmerized.
And now we had to slide them between the pages of a big old guest book, to be filed and forgotten forever.
It proved to be something we couldn’t do. We put them in the book, but then we took them back out.
I know what you’re thinking: “Vanity run amuck.” But consider — once you’re past the bloom of youth, pictures of yourself get harder and harder to look at. As the years go by, they can become quite frightening. If you can find in that gallery of gargoyles a shot that bears the slightest resemblance to your old hopeful image of yourself, you want to save it. And here we were looking good together, 20 years after our own wedding photos.
We weren’t entirely lost to decency. We didn’t just snatch the pictures back and walk away. We got back in line and sat for six replacement photos. They weren’t as good. We knew they wouldn’t be. Our moment had passed.
We put the new photos in the guest book and took the first batch home with us.
Someday we’ll dig them out and say, “Hey, we looked good then.” And for those 30 seconds or so, we did, too.
Not the most graceful behavior on our part, perhaps. But then, we didn’t break any windows with our teeth, either.
SHERWOOD KIRALY is a Laguna Beach resident. He has written four novels, three of which were critically acclaimed.