Sweet Sixteen isn’t about a birthday and it’s not a reality show on MTV, it’s about an anniversary. Sixteen years ago today I stood on the outside deck at Barrett’s in Charlestown, Mass and got hitched to my soulmate. It was a hot June day to be in penguin suits. The salt water breeze didn’t even help. I had two best men and both were feeling the effects of the heat, or maybe it was nerves because they both were under the weather. My Uncle, a.k.a. Bobby Big approached my soon to be wife and told her, “I got a boat out there in the harbor and we can be on it and out of here in 5 minutes.” She politely declined––he was half joking of course.
The heat was unbearable.
Grampie Joe had his green-tinted sunglasses on.
The string section played some tune.
My new Swiss Army watch reflected the sun into my eyes.
I was sweating and my hands were swollen. I carried around a video camcorder to capture the day. Uncle Paul took it away from me once the Justice of the Peace began the ceremony. When it came time to exchange rings, my bride was unable to get the ring over my knuckle. She smiled then laughed covering my hands until the ceremony was over. I remember looking out into the harbor where my Uncle Robert used to dock his Yacht––it hadn’t been there for years.
We opted for a brunch since it was late morning. We didn’t give our guests an option of chicken or fish, it was pancakes or waffles. Willie stood up first and gave a toast, Drew was second and uttered his short but memorable four-word speech, “To the beautiful couple.” Pete was the DJ and spun the tunes. We danced to ‘It’s Your Love’ by Tim McGraw and Faith Hill. I remember Uncle Joey singing to us as we moved across the dance floor. I took a great photo with my two grandmothers. They both seemed happy to see their oldest grandson all grown up. Mickey & Minnie sat on top of the cake. The next day we headed to Disney World, to the place where we had been many times prior, to the place where we got engaged. As we walked in the hot Orlando sun, my bride turned to me and said, “Epcot Center is fun J, but you do know that these countries are real places.” That following year we took our first tour of Europe.
These are the things that I remember like they were yesterday. This week I gave my bride a rock with the etched word ‘Forever’ on it. That means something to me.