At the tail-end of my summer I flew out to California to officiate the wedding of two of my closest friends, Lauren and Matt.
I met Lauren in high school and we became fast friends, bonding almost immediately, I think, through a fondness, nay a passion for the TV shows Saturday Night Live and Friends, and the music of The Dave Matthews Band. She became one of my best friends and we had many adventures together fueled by trips to In-N-Out Burger. We still quote lines from those tv shows. Even as we texted about the wedding, we made Friends references, and we always sign off on emails with the line, “Parted down the side,” referring to Will Ferrell and Cheri Oteri’s Spartan Cheerleaders.
Now, despite the fact that Matt went to the same high school, and was only one grade ahead of us, I didn’t meet him until the end of my senior year. His brother Avery, who I worked with at Cold Stone Creamery invited me to go surfing with him, his brother, and friends. I was terrible at surfing, spending most of the day shagging down the infamous, blue Flying Boar longboard, but at the end of the day, after getting to know Matt, talking about music (Matt introduced me to Ozma) and books, I remarked to my pal Gairo how cool Matt was (the cool older guy you look up to), and we both agreed that he was someone we should hang out with more.
Life moves on though, and as we settle into our own plans, we drift apart from our formative years friends. But there are those few who become timeless friends, who you keep in touch with, and when you do get together you pick up where you left off, without losing any ground. So it was in the winter of 2009, when I moved back to Napa, that I began getting in touch with my timeless friends, and one of those people was Lauren. And, much to my surprise (and delight) she was dating Matt. I think one of the first times we hung out I convinced them not to go to a movie they’d planned on watching (Get Him to the Greek, I think it was), but rather stay and have beers with me, and we spent the next two hours catching up, sharing stories and making jokes. This and other times like it were grand because I not only got to reconnect with Lauren, but I also got to know and become friends with Matt. Actually, we’d eventually end up being roommates.
There are a lot of stories and adventures I could write about. In a short amount of time Lauren, Matt, and I shared a number of concerts, beers, and conversations, creating great stories and experiences. And all of these experiences boil down to one fact: that Lauren and Matt are solid, good people. True friends. And I love them dearly. So when they asked me to officiate, I didn’t hesitate. It was an immediate “yes,” and a tremendous honor.
The wedding was a lot of fun and for the most part went off without a hitch. I did fail to cue people sit down, but other than that the message went over well.
I alluded to Sherman Alexie’s “Saint Joe,” to help convey my main point. I am an English teacher and a writer, so I’d be letting down my profession if I didn’t reference some kind of literature.
This was a tremendous way to end the summer. I got to marry two of my best friends (it feels weird to phrase it that way…I’m not married to them), spend some time in my hometown, and now I’m an ordained reverend with the Universal Life Church.