The Wedding Weekend, or Beginning for That Matter…


As the rain continued to fall lightly, I stood at the sliding glass door leading out to the deck at my parents’ house.  My head rested slightly upon the glass, and my skin would most likely leave a smudged print of indistinguishable lines and light sweat.  It was coming upon night, but it was light enough to see through the pine trees on Volles’ property to their expansive backyard.  Over the hill rests the Collins’ household, but no light shone through the windows.  If you paid attention to my brother’s speech, you’d recall the reference to our mothers’ visual aid, lights, when it came time to taking care of both of the boys in the middle of the night.  Steve is only a few weeks older.
Lights were always a significant part of our childhood.  We’d play Ollie Ollie Oxen Free or Ghost in the Graveyard, using the lamppost as home base.  We’d play flashlight tag with the simple beam cutting through the dark, burning into individuals who were to be deemed “It.”  When one family went on vacation, a glimpse of the Volles or Collins household was direct enough to let us know lights on meant safe return. We could all hang out again.
An illusion of smoke seemed to rise from the ground in Volles’ yard, similarly at the spot where we had a fire in a small grill, place irritatingly close to where we had pitched the tent for our numerous camping out excursions.  A line of extension cords would run from the Volles household to the tent, supplying the power for the television and PlayStation.  We’d follow up with ordering Pizza Hut or Papa John’s, and the food would be washed down with whatever tastings we could find in liquor cabinets.

We can finally admit to the latter without the parental repercussions of fury.
As the wind picked up, the cover of the grill braced itself by grabbing a hold of the one of the deck’s stools, reminding one of the drapery of blankets of those childhood forts.  Our home bases until we were old enough to venture out into the woods, day after day and week after week for many seasons and years to follow.  Our footprints were the breadcrumbs leading us back home during the winter adventures, leading us back to one of our homes for hot cocoa and video games before having to return home for dinner.  Afterwards, we’d meet out at the Pembridge or either Glindon snowhills conveniently constructed by the plows.  We’d stand proudly, looking over the neighborhood, keeping watch.
One would wonder how many footprints we left while roaming through Sherwood.  The memories associated with those prints dig deep, appearing as canyons from space.  If that were true, our neighborhood would be erradicated, considering the stomping steps or skidding bike tires eroding away the surface of the earth. 
The marks we leave are now are simply splatters of breath fog or forehead skids upon panes of glass as we look out into the open, into the past.


Love is anterior to life,
   Posterior to death,
Initial of creation, and
   The exponent of breath.

– Emily Dickinson

The poem above has been written in a few wedding cards from me to a few of my friends.  I don’t always write it, because I don’t want it to be a consistent thing.  I, however, did not write it in Steve and Alexa’s card.  I felt it to be almost redundant since I have known Steve for so long; I obviously have only met Alexa a few times.  I don’t want come across as if I do or do not care more about certain relationships, because I care about all of them–all of you–equally.  Especially for couples like Steve and Alexa:  you’re inspiring.
Many of Dickinson’s poems, including this one, has been deemed incomprehensible.  Especially when it comes to matters of the heart, of love, we simply are too juvenile of a species to clearly understand or answer the question as to why we experience such an immeasurable feeling. 
There are, there can be, there may be many interpretations to poems.  It’s all personable, all relative, and it’s all how you give and take.  There may be no guarantee, but that doesn’t matter when you take an optimistic point of view.  After all it’s love, and there really isn’t a negative association.
Well, although, I did not write the poem in the card–thinking of this now–my placing it in the blog entry is justifying in itself.
When I got a phone call a month ago, Steve asked me to be a part of the wedding, and we had a great conversation.  I was at my brother’s house, helping Mike take down wallpaper.  My mom was asked  if she could do a reading that night as well. 
Before I go any further, Steve is the first male of our Sherwood family to be getting married.  Well, now it’s to have gotten married.  Although the marriage has already happened, the ceremony is done and over with, it’s not a thing of the past.  It will never be.  In this wedding, I was to be standing with Jim (Steve’s brother), my brother, and Dan.  The five of us were practically inseparable as kids, and it is the same today.  John, a close friend of Steve and Mike, was in the mix as well; although, he didn’t grow up in Sherwood, his significance in this life has been nothing less than significant.  Kelly, the Collins’ youngest, the one who us guys still figure her out to be still just a kid, participated in the bridal party.
I have to give a shout to the two groomsmen, who Steve has known for a while, and they both hail from the Syracuse area:  Matt and Henny.  I had a chance to hang out with Matt at the bachelor party, but I had met Henny on Friday.  Henny was the personality of the group, if there was such an award to be given out; confident personalities yield confidence, and it wasn’t so much learning as to realizing for me.  We got to talk, but not as long as I had hoped. But, shit, that’s life; paths shall cross further down the road. 
I just have to give myself credit more times.
This is starting to sound like the making of a mafia movie, identifying the who’s who in relation to family, friends, and the authoritative Trust.  The guys, shit, we had a great time hanging out.  However, we never did get a chance to smoke those cigars.
There was something about the tone of the weekend that really struck a chord.  The weekend was broken up into what can simply be stated as vignettes, intertwining segments and stories, culminating into the one central theme of what is a wedding.  The overall theme was lighthearted and happy, and there was no way in denying that.  If there was some sort of undertone moroseness it was probably a delusion or a simple over thinking.  When things go so well, it’s only human to question the legitimacy of the bliss. 
I am not going to fully indulge in those vignettes, because this post will be drastically to long.  It already is going to be way to long as it is.
Then again, we have to consider many factors of participation with the weddings.  Are you attending, or are you an actual part of the wedding?  The photographer and the photos themselves, and how everything is directed.  The seasons and the weather.  Strangers in relation to people you know, and how interactions fare.  It’s exciting, because you don’t know what is in store.
On Friday, October 5, I ventured over to the Honeoye Falls area with my parents for the rehearsal and dinner.  We headed to the hotel to take care of our room situation, and we met up with Mike, Erin, Dan, and Katherine before heading out to St. Joseph’s Church in Rush.
The hotel, being a Doubletree, was quite nice, and the layout was pretty cool. You walked down a ramp decorated with trees placed along the sides, around the bar and a gym and a pool.  The front rooms had an access to the balcony, which was shared by the rest of the rooms on the strip, but one had a great view of the layout from the higher floors. The glass elevators slowly brought one up to their designated floor.
We, also, had the weekend to share with several hockey teams.  The parents were assholes, for lack of a better term.  As much as I enjoy hockey, I don’t think I’d let my kid play it; however, if he wanted to, I would never discourage it.  I just don’t want to turn out like these psychos, who give the calmer parents a bad name.  However, I’d probably get competitive when it came to my son’s playing soccer or baseball.  I know myself too well.
Walking down the hall, the place was clean.  The pattern on the floor and how the decor lined up with the doors, I felt as if I was in a spy movie, or video game for that matter.  There is always a hotel scene.  I had a nice blazer that I had just purchased at Marshalls (yeah, I love that place), and I looked pretty darn good.  However, I had no 9mm and silencer in my pocket; I would have had to MacGyver some sort of item for my benefit.  I wouldn’t have hesitated breaking the bottle in order to kick some ass.
I had the bottle of the deemed dreadful Michael Collins in my hand, toting it around since the bachelor party weekend.  I was destined to finish the bottle up, but not by myself, of course.  I ventured to Dan and Katherine’s room, and Dan opened the door with an, “Oh, God.”
Yes, not again
The little white St. Joseph’s was a quaint little church.  The simplicity and layout was perfect, and I am sure it would look beautiful decorated for the Christmas season.  The placement of fallen snow would do justice.  As my mom always says, especially since she said it on Friday night, in short:  new church, make a wish.  I didn’t immediately make a wish, and I am not going to tell you exactly was it was, but it wasn’t selfish by any means.  Like a good fortune from a cookie, pass the positivity along.
We went through the steps, literally, concerning the women especially; the planner was unimpressed with several aspects this weekend.  The funny thing is we were technically ahead of schedule as we were initially behind; however, I am getting ahead of myself.
We ventured off to The Rabbit Room in Honeoye Falls.  Upon pulling up to the place, I had a jolt of nostalgia as the place appeared to be similar to the German or Austrian pub we hung out at during my trip to Italy.  The Rabbit Room was part of the same facility as The Lower Mill.  Feel free to check out this place here:  If it so happens that I could conveniently have a rehearsal dinner here, I most definitely would.  It’s just simply elegant.  The staff is friendly and accommodating.  The food is phenomenal.  Of the choices, we could have had chicken with a side of stuffing and green beans, filet with mashed potatoes and green beans, or there was pumpkin ravioli.  Having tried all three, I could have eaten any of the choices and had been content.  I loved the filet, however.  It was cooked perfectly. The only thing I didn’t care for was the saltiness of the stuffing as the chicken’s side; aside that one tiny aspect, the stuffing had great consistency and flavor (probably due to the salt).  The pumpkin ravioli wasn’t as sweet as I thought it was going to taste, that was a pleasant surprise, and the sauce covering the pasta was very light and didn’t distract from the taste of the center of attention; the course was my very close second choice. 
After dinner, the fun was to begin.  We hung out afterwards, enjoying cocktails and taking numerous photos via Instagram:  you, yourself, can be an awesome photographer.  Ha!  I seriously think the whole Instragram app is great. 
Our crew ended up going to the Doubletree’s bar, and I got a chance to meet some of the Collins brothers’ relatives.  It’s funny, because I don’t recall having to meet any of them while growing up; and I practically know the majority of Dan and Laurie’s family.  However, this is when distance comes into play.
It was around 11 o’clock when I leaned upon the bar, waiting for a server to get me a Big Ginger.  However, when the bartender strolled over, she admitted to her inability to serve me:  they were closing the bar.  I didn’t think anything of it, so I walked over to the group, who looked at me confused.  I let them know the story, and I told the same to the newly joining individuals, who didn’t think the facts added up.  Erin and Katherine walked over to the bar, and the bartender told her the same thing; however, this walking over was sparked by the notion of thinking we saw a patron get served. 
As we were talking again, we kept an eye on the bar.  The bartender was now breaking out more drinks for people.  Again, another venture over to the bar with facts in mind came with a resulting response along the lines of:  we are only serving individuals with tabs. What’s the difference between someone paying for a drink up front rather than later in the evening?  We’re all staying at the hotel, are we not?  Needless to say, we had our own beverages that were brought down, so indulging in those was convenient and less expensive.  The manager, was extremely apologetic after we complained, but did not make a royal stink of it.  I guess the bar staff just wanted to go home as quickly as possible.
The morning of the wedding, time flew by faster than we had anticipated.  Upon awakening, the first thing that came to mind was food.  There is something about a pull-out couch that makes a man hungrier, especially when the bed is not long enough and a third of your body is stretched out over the mattress and upon the coffee table.  It wasn’t terrible though;  I am grateful of having to sleep on that instead of a cot, or the floor for that matter. 
My parents were going to head over to Dunkin’ Donuts, but Dan and I opted for a diner.  There was one a wee bit over a mile down the road:  Bob’s Diner.  The review was reiterated numerous times throughout the day, tweaked to fit a given situation.  What can I say, the review read, it’s a diner.  Dan and I had to go check it out.  For six bucks, he got a meat lover’s omelet with eggs and home fries; for seven; I got biscuits and sausage with gravy, home fries and eggs.  The gravy was hearty and it topped off the food valiantly.  The eggs were very good, and the home fries were actual potatoes and perfectly crispy.  We ended up ordering flapjacks for my brother, upon his request.  He didn’t think we were going to get them for him, but we did. 
Bob’s Diner was fantastic.  The overall early 1980’s Italian diner theme cannot be beat.  However, you may be if you mouthed off to Bob.  It had to have been the elusive Bob who had greeted Dan and I.  The burly man spoke in a rough-n-tumble fashion as any downstate New Yorker would.  We made light conversation with him as I paid the bill, but I didn’t want to say anything out of line.  We didn’t lie when admitting that the home-cooked breakfast really hit the spot.
It was to be the first and last meal of the day before dinner at seven. 
Upon returning to the hotel, I got ready fairly quickly, and I went to grab Dan to meet in the lobby.  Our limo driver was a tad tardy, but that did not put us in too much of a bind.  Although, the ceremony was delayed a few minutes, it wasn’t detrimental.  The planner really pushing Alexa to the back of the church, post ceremony and without a receiving line, prohibiting her from greeting her grandparents… kind of iffy.  Granted there is a schedule; however, there is always time to say hello to grandparents.  The pictures, not to worry, were taken in the church, and we were on our way to the few destinations for the remaining pictures.
We posed at a castle, next to various plants and people were poked by cacti, and we hung from tree limbs.  The coolest shot is of Steve and Alexa standing still, and the rest of us party members are running at the camera, doing something.  I was jumping in the air.  Although it was clearly deemed awesome by the photographer, I cannot wait to see how it turned out.
We made back to the hotel with time to spare.  To the lobby we flocked, and I indulged in bacon-wrapped scallops (very much a favorite of mine) and some other delicious hor d’oeuvres.  Yes, I had to look that word up.  I felt that the word appetizers wouldn’t do the food justice.
The ballroom was decorated elegantly.  It has very much a retro feel to be in the room, and everything, from the decor to the backdrops and head table to the center pieces were downright classy.  The lighting was romantic, and that’s the least to say; the room felt as if it was lit up by candles.  The new couple danced to Lifehouse, a great choice, for their first dance together.  The rest of the night was filled with dancing and downright fun.
I ended the night, talking to Matt over a couple beers and watching ESPN.  We didn’t leave the lobby until 3:15 in the morning.  Why?  ESPN and we were laughing at dramatic drunken ongoings.  Although, I had met Matt at the bachelor party a couple weeks back, it was good to end the night with a familiar face and a probable start to an acquired friendship. 
Life is surrounding yourself with good people, after all.
Congratulations, again, Steve and Alexa Collins.

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