She wants a simple country wedding
at our 19th century, Greek Revival farmhouse
in the Upper Hudson Valley. She wants to be
surrounded by nature, to be looking out
over wind-rippled, hayed fields, frond-rimmed pond,
dense woods, and the rising Catskills beyond.
The "Save the Dates" have gone out. At last count
there will be roughly two hundred and fifty people.
They're coming from everywhere—
New York, L.A., London, Tel Aviv—
enough to populate a dozen Bruegel paintings.
It will span four days and require
a published schedule of events,
much like a Princess Cruise to the Bahamas,
with brunches, dinners, afternoon activities
around the pond, a big barbeque Saturday night.
We don't get to the wedding until the third day.
My wife and daughter are doing all the planning
and I am keeping my distance,
for though relatively strong of body—a smidgen of high blood pressure here, a pinch of arthritis there—
I have developed over time an informed but fragile psyche,
full of ambivalence and a profound lack of assuredness.
For example: I ask myself and myself only,
(not even dreaming of going public)
Why are we doing this?
All these rentals of tents, tables, chairs,
plates, place-settings, glasses.
Flowers and centerpieces, menu-tasting
and finding the caterer willing
to drive a herd of kosher beef up the Taconic
deep into Methodist country.
And landing the band that does it all:
salsa, disco, the big-band forties, Motown, hip-hop and hora—
with the sax player who they claim sings just like Julio
and the vocalist who does maracas, tambourines and Aretha.
My advice to my daughter
(which I don't dare give.)
Take the money this whole thing costs, and get thee
to the local rabbi's Talmud-lined study.
You can crush the glass there to remember the Temple.
Then you and your fella hop on a plane
for Paris, Tahiti or Timbuktu.
The wedding will be in May.
I expect it to be warmish.
For the ceremony I'm thinking a linen suit, dressy loafers, white pima shirt—but no tie—maybe—