Sunday, August 21, 2011


My friend Gary and I go way back. We met in high school, stayed in touch through the college years even though he went to school near home and I was three hours away. We annually meet up with another high school crony to attend the US OPEN, go to the school reunions, and generally keep abreast of each other's lives.

I remember meeting his then girlfriend in the early seventies and attending their wedding on November 17, 1973, the Saturday before Thanksgiving that year. I've been to both of his children's bar and bat mitzvahs, his daughter's wedding a few years ago, and then just last weekend to his son's wedding.

Gary and I have what I have always thought was a healthy dose of skepticism towards the status quo and convention for convention's sake. In the summer of 69 we worked together at a pool company unloading very heavy boxes that once assembled by the customer became outdoor pools for suburban back yards. In the course of that job and another working as waiter and busboy in the Catskills, we would regularly share a general laugh at what seemed to be done for show, ceremony, or without apparent reason.

There was a ceremony at his son's wedding last weekend, which on the surface was just the kind of thing that Gary or at least I would have ridiculed had we seen it while working one of the functions in the Catskills. It was called a Mezinka. The MC asked the parents of the groom to sit on some chairs in the middle of the room. And then asked each of the guests to circle around the parents and congratulate them on the marriage of their last child.

As I took my place in the circling guests I found myself not quite choked up, but feeling the power of this ceremony in a very physical way. Each of the guests, leaned into Gary and Cathy and congratulated them and I was very moved as I participated and watched Gary accept the well deserved congratulations.

Maybe getting older means realizing that there are reasons why conventions become conventions.

There is a power to having and raising a family and then seeing them move off on their own to continue the cycle. Gary, often the wiseguy, was engaged during the Mezinka and I could tell he was moved as he had a right to be. Afterwards, I told him that I thought it was a special moment and instead of pooh poohing it, he shook his head and agreed. He told me that his daughter was downstairs in the building taking care of her own young daughter who had walked down the aisle in the main ceremony. Gary's daughter was soon to be a parent again and I heard this week that she gave birth to a second child. The Mezinka congratulates him and Cathy and the cycle continues. Very powerful.

If we only have love, we can give the new world to our daughters and sons.

No comments:

Post a Comment