Best Man's Best Man
I was honored to have Scott as my best man. He's been a great friend, and even though we're hundreds of miles apart we still stay very close. I was doubly honored when he asked me to be his best man.
We flew out Friday, and went straight from the hotel to the rehearsal at the gorgeous Dresser Mansion, and then on to the rehearsal dinner. It was a whirlwind of introductions, but a bouyant excitement rippled between all of us.
Saturday Scott took us to his office, where I finally got to see what he does for a living. Scott is the Lead Level Designer at 2015, Inc., developer of the award-winning Medal of Honor game. They're currently in the final stages of their latest game, Men of Valor. It looks absolutely phenomenal. Alas, I won't be able to actually play it, because 2015 is a Windows-only shop, and I use GNU/Linux. Maybe icculus will port MoV to GNU/Linux as he did for MoH.
Sunday was the big day. The weather was perfect, a cool day with large fluffy clouds in the rich blue sky. Scott was all nerves until he got his tuxedo on, and then we was strangely serene. I asked him if he was nervous, or scared, or anything else, and his response truly surprised me. "No, man, I'm just really excited." My heart skipped a beat in sheer admiration and happiness for him and Carryn. As we walked downstairs from our ready room to the back of the mansion for photographs, we caught a brief glimpse of Carryn in her wedding dress through the large window on the staircase. Thankfully the window obstructed anything more than basic recognition that it was indeed Carryn. Scott, ever the superstitious one, immediately started to panic, but calmed down pretty quickly.
While waiting in the wings, with about five minutes to showtime, I had something of a minor epiphany that I shared with Scott. I was almost overwhelmed with pure happiness, and for some reason I thought back to all the dark, unpleasant days of high school and early college. I thought of how I viewed the future back then: bleak, uninteresting, boring... I knew one person who committed suicide back then, and I knew of several others. And I knew that several people close to me had contemplated it (or were still contemplating suicide at that time). I thought of all of that, in the midst of standing among so much love, pride, and joy. This was what made all that worthwhile. The indescribable happiness, the overwhelming joy -- I wish there were some way to truly give a glimpse of that to people suffering through the dark times...
And then we were out, standing before the assembled family, watching Carryn make her way down. I Scott's breath catch in his throat as he first saw her. I nearly started to cry myself when Scott's voice wavered and broke as he recited his vows. As Best Man, I had a great view of the bride, and a great view of the groom's back. Carryn was absolutely gorgeous. I know people use the word "radiant" a lot when describing brides; but aside from my own wedding I've never felt that term was more appropriate than for Carryn. Her eyes danced with happiness as she stared at Scott.
The reception was great -- a calm happiness permeated the dinner. We were all one family for the day. Carina and I sat with George, the minister, and his wife and baby daughter. We chatted, and floated about the room to congratulate the parents. I don't think I stopped smiling until we got back to the hotel, whereupon I promptly collapsed on the bed, exhausted. I woke up around 11, just after room service closed, so Carina and I ran out for some Denny's.
Monday we had brunch and did a spot of shopping with Scott, Carryn, and their families. It was a content, happy time. Then we flew home.
Carina and I both remarked -- to one another and to Scott and Carryn -- how warm and welcoming both families were through the weekend. No one threw any tantrums, or pulled ego trips. No one conspired to steal attention away from the bride and groom. Everyone was pleasant, good natured, and genuinely great to be with.
: Here's a funny anecdote I'd forgotten. I took my laptop on the trip, so I could download photos from my digital camera every night (it's amazing how quickly a 128 MB CompactFlash card can fill up!). As I walked through the security checkpoint at the Tulsa airport, the haggard TSA woman informed me that she was going to perform an extra security check on my laptop. "Okay," I said. "Why?" I was genuinely interested in what made her decide to give extra attention to my laptop. "Because I can," she replied nastily. Carina and I exchanged a dumb-founded look, and then I regained my senses and immediately asked to speak to her supervisor. Her attitude improved right quick, and she gave me some patent response about random checks. Her associate at the security line -- obviously shocked at her brazen attitude -- chimed in, trying to placate us. I sat with the supervisor at his desk, filled out a form, and re-iterated my concern verbally that her behavior is exactly the wrong kind of customer service. Of course I have zero expectation that anything will come of my complaint. Except maybe I'll be added to some John Ashcroft watch list now...
On the plus side, Tulsa had a little device that people could wave their shoes over to determine if the metal detector would sound on them. What a time saver that was! Again, leaving Columbus everyone had to doff their footwear.