Monday, September 24, 2012

Charlton Heston and The Wedding

It's been a bit of a stretch since I've written – almost two weeks, which is not typical of this blogger. Yet the reality since returning from Ireland is that there has been a lot of backpedaling, an abundance of catching up, since those jaw-dropping days overseas.

In the first place, my eldest, Nathan, got married! A mere six days after the Dublin ND/Navy game, our family converged on my middle son's former monastery – Mepkin Abbey, outside of Charleston, South Carolina.

And as with any great event, there is a Story To Be Had.

The two days surrounding the wedding day were typical of September in the Low Country – huge thunderheads muscling their way through the region, portending a change in season. The day of the wedding rehearsal, Mepkin Abbey was spared their wrath.

But on the day of the wedding, Friday, September 7th, we arrived at the monastery around 4:00PM and watched with horror as an enormous storm system bore down on the outdoor gardens... the very spot where the wedding was to take place.

Thunder rolled up the river, announcing the mayhem that was soon to be celebrated. The musicians had frantically scrambled up and out of the garden area, leaving the presider and myself alone by the banks of the Cooper River.

The priest was a man I've admired for many years: Fr. Tom Tunney, a wise Irish pastor who'd spent half his life in Africa, before coming back to New York City and taking the helm of St. Mark's Catholic Church in Harlem (founded by Katherine Drexel, I might add). This is where he and my son first met and worked together.

So there we stood, Fr. Tunney and myself, watching as forked lightning and monsoon-like rains encroached. First they were down by Charleston... and then, the lightning and thunder and buckets of rain had reached the far side of the river. We just stood there, helpless.

And then some pretty strange things happened. I did my best Charlton Heston imitation, looked at all that water, and parted my hands like a Moses-wannabe. Fr. Tunney laughed, and I pointed up to the sky with a menacing look and said, "You will NOT rain on my son's wedding this day!"

Then the two of us just stood there, quietly praying on the riverbank, watching the Thing bear down on us.

As God is my witness, what happened next is the truth. And if you don't believe me, ask the priest, because even if he's Irish, he wouldn't lie about this.

We stood quietly for a couple more minutes, praying and watching the crazy weather.

And then the storm front simply turned around and went the other way.

Fr. Tunney looked at me, and I looked at him. He grinned, and gave me a high-five. "I'd say," said he, "that we'll do well to raise a glass over this!"

And so we did, later on, at the wedding reception.

Neither of us fashioned ourselves as being able to go up against the forces of nature or the One who authored them. But it sure was something else, watching that storm turn tail and run.

And if I were a betting man, I'd say the storm was more fearful of the wrath of my son's beautiful red-headed Welsh bride, than any kind of menace I could muster up.

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