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Officially a week later than it should have been posted

When I graduated from grade eight, there were only eight guys in my class: Brady, Bob, Chris, Jeff, Paul, Tony, Steve, and me. We were all close—which I think came pretty naturally, there being just the eight of us—but what was more remarkable was that six of us remained that way even after school, jobs, and relationships brought us elsewhere. Now we’re mostly spread across Ontario, and it’s pretty rare that we’re all in the same place. My wedding was the last time all six of us were together, and since then it’s been just shy of four years.

Until last Saturday when we got together for Tony’s wedding. After four years, I think I’d built up some pretty big expectations for how the night would go—and I wasn’t disappointed. We assembled at the church, smiled, shook hands, each of us silently confirming that we all looked equally old to one another. Tony and his soon-to-be-wife Marie took to the altar, flash pots went off, and to the tune of shredding electric guitar it was wedding time! No, no—it wasn’t at all like that! It was a Catholic wedding, so—like mine and Sarah’s—it involved three-hundred minutes of the bride and groom kneeling, followed by a lecture from the priest that we weren’t allowed to throw rice, to say or do anything, or to show emotion of any kind. No, no—it wasn’t like that either! Well, it was more like the latter than the former.

With a few hours to kill after the ceremony, we went back to my parents’ place to hang out and catch up. Dad offered up his beer, Mom offered a fine spread of snacks, and it was good times at the McLeans, like always. Prior to getting there, I felt bad putting my parents out like that, bringing a truckload of people back to the house. But once we were there, I shook the stupid away and realized they actually wanted to see everyone. They wanted to see these kids who used to party in their basement and not clean up afterward; who used to wreck bathroom doors, picture frames, and liquor cabinets making cop movies. They wanted to see how (if?) everyone had grown up. And I think we all played the part of adults pretty well, although if we had a bit more time we totally would have made a new cop movie.

From there it was off to the reception. Tony and Marie were posted near the front door, getting pictures taken with every couple that arrived. Sarah and I were probably couple number eighty to have a turn and Tony was crazy-eyed by that point. “I don’t know where I am anymore,” he told me. “I don’t know what’s real, I don’t know what’s not, this guy keeps snapping away…” He trailed off, and we moved on into the hall. It was my first full-on Italian wedding and it was effing crazy with food. Antipasto buffet, manicotti, chicken and veal, lobster and crab legs, crepes with ice cream—these weren’t options, these were courses. And by the time the last course was through, the sweets table opened up. And the cake… sweet baby jebus, the cake! The cake was five cakes! The cake had its own transit system! Oy. So we ate and ate and ate, and we drank to match the eating. The speeches all went well, Tony delivering a filibuster, giving tribute to pretty much every person there. And then he sang to Marie. I called it. Hours before at my parents’ place, I said, “Tony’s going to sing at some point tonight, and it’ll either be Richard Marx or Billy Joel.” In the end it was “She’s Got a Way,” a much wiser choice than “Don’t Mean Nothing” (because you really need a mullet to pull that one off).

Throughout the night I got quality time with each of my boys (excepting Steve—who’s in BC training for the RCMP right now, and Dave Postma—who’s been MIA since 1986). We sat and talked, took a few nice pictures, and—damn it—we even danced. I’d had enough to drink (more than a few, less than too many) so that I didn’t really mind all that much. Then the wedding party broke out props for the dancers: giant sunglasses and goofy hats. I wore one of the hats for about two seconds until Chris told to me, with great seriousness, that I looked like a gay cowboy. After the hats came out, we got progressively goofier. The pictures on my camera reflect our devolution: there’s nice ones of the group, the hall, the bride and groom, then a lot of pictures of our drinks, of some unidentified (and hideous) tongues, and then it’s just crotch photo after crotch photo after crotch photo.

It was an excellent time, and there’s no way we can wait until the next wedding to get back together. We pledged to hook back up some time in the summer, possibly to drink more of Donnie’s beer, definitely to make a new cop movie.


Chris Vagg said…
Good times man. I had a blast. It was like summer of 1990 all over again!

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