Long before our circle of friends 'garage-shopped' my wife did, and came home with the most everyday things. She liked shopping in the US where she went at least once a week to buy scarfs in the beginning of the week, showed them to me, (sometimes) and returned them the end of the week, she seldom kept what she had purchased.
Anne shopped at garage sales as well where she was unable to return her purchases but was very choosy to buy only inexpensive things such as used postcards, which could be picked up at five for a quarter. I liked as much as she did, to read addresses and especially messages on them which were often written in different languages and came from all over, leaving us guess and fabricat all kinds of stories from the messages they carried.
Anne purchased also single teacups, she carefully chose nicely decorated ones with flower designs in dazzling colors, for pennies, and those she kept. One of her treasures was a unique thin porcelain cup which was was decorated on the inside of the cup instead of on the outside, like her other treasures. “That is the only cup which doesn't show off,” she said. She handed me the cup with a message to give to the bride for a present just before my grandson's wedding. “You have no card to go with it,” I said. “Just explain it in your sermon,” she laughed.
Ah yes – the sermon. I saved a copy of the sermon for a decade but am unable to find it, which is perhaps a blessing, but I will share some of the parts I still remember. I felt sorry for the wedding party who would have to stand throughout my ‘preaching’ and tried to think of ways to shorten it, which proved not a wise idea as I almost lost the thread of my speech.
It made me think about a dream I had about me preaching when I was a young man. the theme of my sermon was about Gods love, which is a beautiful theme, and a lot can be said about it, but an inspirational message was not forthcoming. All I was able to think of, was “God is love,” and again “God is love.” I remember my father watching me in the audience, and saying something like 'You better come down from your high horse.’ Thinking about that confused me but I kept my composure, hoping that no one noticed.
I started by saying that the first recorded wedding was some six-thousand years ago between Adam and Eve, and paraphrased a few text out of genesis about the tasks, the privileges and responsibilities of both bride and groom. I reminded both of the great privilege to have not only their parents but also their four grandparents witnessing their wedding, and that both bride and groom from now on belonged and should respect the families of their partner as their own.
I turned to the young women and young men of the wedding telling them that they were not there only to make beautiful pictures, but as they were of the same generation and being friends with the bride and groom they should would likely be the first to observe that something was going awry in the marriage they were witnessing. That it would be their task to watch and support them, be a loving wall around them protecting them, and be the first ones to help them if any marital difficulty would occur.
When the sermon was finished but before the ceremony of the vows I carefully took Anne's presents from under the lecture, undid it from the wrapping and held it up for everyone to see, and after an encouraging nod from Anne explained the significance of, yes, her prized teacup.
“This cup is a present from my wife Anne to the bride. The beauty of the cup is not the markings on the outside of it, which as you can see are rather plain, but its beauty is the flowers that adorn the inside, with the wish that you, the bride, who are beautiful in your resplendence may be just as beautiful from the inside.”
Anne had asked me to get a Tim Horton coffee-cup to give to the groom. I got hold of the smallest size one and presented it to the groom, ‘so he would not feel left out’.
In order to prevent envy in the new family I have also a cup for the groom.”
That cup , the smallest in size, belonged to Tim Hortons originally but had somehow found its way in my pocket.
I was helped by the bride insisting on using as part of her vow 'and remember that I chose you over all others,' which impressed me greatly.
The sermon was well received seeing the compliments about it, so much that Anne said
“Don't let it get to your head now.”
The bride strode onto the stage after the picture taking with a rifle pretending a shotgun* wedding.
*A shotgun wedding is a wedding that is hastily arranged to avoid embarrassment due to premarital sex. Wikipedia.
During the reception I was shocked that the mother of the bride held emotional speech after she presented a similar present to the bride with an unmistakably message to the groom – do not ever hurt my daughter in any way for I will take her back again. The present? Another cup.
That wedding was more than a decade ago, long enough to find out if it really was a shotgun wedding. It was not. Did they receive any children? They planned for three and got four. They are a loving family and the bride's mother has seen so far no need to take her daughter back, but then she didn't know that my grandchildren are original thinkers, not wife-beaters. What is more, their women wont let them.