Old folk at lunch

Monday, February 9, 2009

Susie's wedding

Susan Vanessa Johnson got married last Saturday. Ceremonies were supposed to start at 1:30pm, which is when I arrived, and ended around 10pm. Susie is my stepdaughter and I helped to bring her up. And she was always a happy little girl so we had lots of fun together while she was a kid. So although she is now 30, there has always remained a feeling of closeness between us. When she was little, I used to call her "Lady Fun" and her happy nature is still there today.

I think her love of fun may have partly been why she got dressed for her wedding in a very fine but rather traditional off-white wedding dress, complete with train, which tripped a few people up a couple of times. She looked gorgeous.

The ceremony was a garden one, in one of Brisbane's many parks. It was conducted by newly-minted marriage celebrant, Simon Bartlett, her uncle by marriage. The words of the ceremony were mainly written by Susan and her husband Russell, as is often the way these days. And the words chosen were very fine words of dedication and by the end of the ceremony Simon seemed a bit choked up. All the family love Susan and Simon clearly has a sentimental streak. I am a great sentimentalist too and it takes one to know one. Susie too was obviously a bit overcome by all the goodwill directed her way.

After the wedding, we went to the Mt Gravatt bowls club for the reception. From 4 to 7pm the idea was that we would all play lawn bowls, as the family is a very games-oriented one. I am no gamer, however, so I spent most of that time talking secret men's business with my son Joe. It was good to have the chance of such a long chat.

The dinner started at 7pm and least said soonest mended about the cuisine. There were various speeches, including a speech of utter dedication to Susie from Russell. I think we all felt that Susie was in exactly the sort of good hands we would wish at the end of it. Ken, Susie's father, was even induced to make a speech, which was generally well-done, despite Ken's well-known aversion to public speaking. I think I may have been the only one to get Ken's best joke, however, which was hilarious.

I then gave a little talk about a couple of the amusing events from Susie's childhood and then the night gradually transformed into dancing of various kinds. Susie came and got me on my feet so I had the privilege of dancing with the bride.

Being an old traditionalist, I felt a certain gap in that there were no religious blessings on the couple at any time but the family is such a non-religious one that it was really no surprise. As an atheist myself, I could hardly step into the breach.


I have no doubt that any readers not steeped in Australian culture would have been a little puzzled by my reference above to "secret men's business". It is of course a joke and refers to Aboriginal customs. Google "secret women's business" to get an idea of what it is all about.

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