Thursday, October 23, 2008

Side by Side

A couple of weeks ago, two long-time Island friends, whom I know through the acoustic music community here, approached me about performing their wedding. They wanted as little fuss as possible because they had been a couple for 30 years, had adult children together, and knew that most of their friends probably assumed they'd been married all that time. They weren't even sure they were going to tell anybody because they just didn't want to deal with all the questions and surprise.

As we talked, they asked me to keep it confidential until they knew what they wanted to do. They did plan to talk with their children about it but thought that their children would probably be unable to attend the ceremony. I gave them my wedding template, explaining that it was more fitting for a couple just starting out but that it might give them some ideas.

Yesterday I performed the wedding, with just five of us here: the couple, two witnesses, and me. I wanted to do something to fuss a little bit, so I got a small cake and a bottle of sparkling cider and picked the last gaillardia and daisies for a small bouquet. As it turned out, the woman who was to be a witness also wanted to fuss so we ended up with two small wedding cakes, two bottles of sparkly stuff, and two bouquets.

Our wedding couple was a bit starry-eyed; I guess we all were, recognizing that this was a special occasion even if it was quiet and tiny and low-key. They asked me to cut out all the stuff in the ceremony that didn't fit for them, told me that they had a special way they wanted to do their vows, and we began.

The vows were conducted in my living room with cats basking in the sunshine. The couple was adorned by a guitar and a mandolin. No rings, no lengthy statements, just an "I will" and then this:

"Oh, we ain't got a barrel of money; maybe we're ragged and funny;
But we'll travel along, singing a song, side by side.
Don't know what's coming tomorrow, maybe it's trouble and sorrow,
But we'll travel the road, sharing our load, side by side.
Through all kinds of weather, what if the sky should fall?
Well, as long as we're together, it doesn't matter at all.
When they've all had their quarrels and parted,
We'll be the same as we started,
Just traveling along, singing a song, side by side."


ogre said...


ms. kitty said...

I know, ain't it sweet?

Joel said...

Sniff! I remember your mother singing that when I was little! I'd give anything to hear her sing it again.

Speaking of which, I watched a little of your performance the other night, and you were great. As I knew you would be.

LinguistFriend said...

I hope that part of your advice to the newlyweds was to express hope that they have talked with their lawyer about possible long-term ramifications of their earlier status and its change, for them and the children. Some states have common law marriage, some don't. But they may well have covered all of those things.
Ditto for Joel's comment about your performance.

ms. kitty said...

Thanks, guys, for your kind words. Joel, I think that's where I learned the song too. Mama loved to sing, all right, and she had a nice, clear, true alto voice.

LF, I think they have taken care of all those things, judging from our conversation. It's a good point.

Miss Kitty said...


Should I ever re-marry, that's exactly what I want.

SO awesome that they asked you to be their celebrant. [hugs]