Saturday, July 19, 2008

Grass Valley, California 19 July, 6.30 am

Yesterday we men were sent out to lunch while the bridal party lunched here. I think there were at last a dozen of them. Five bridesmaids are here overnight but that is small beer. At the wedding rehearsal I counted nearly thirty people at the front. It was astonishing. Linda Young, a family friend was in charge of what came close to a litugical dance getting a minister, twenty assorted bridesmaids, matrons of honour, best men and ushers onto the stage as well as two flower girls and Jacob, the sweet little ring bearer (who is decorative not functional as he does not have the actual rings on his cushion). There was a small string group to provide the music. It took an hour and a half, I can only compare it to preparations for a royal visit in terms of the atention to detail.

Afterwars the father of the groom treated around sixty us to a first class Italian restaurant dinner. I had thought rehearsal dinners were small family affairs. Not this one. Our host is a political consultant. He asked me if I knew Harvey Thomas with whom he has worked. Not my league at all. HT was Mrs Thatcher's PR advisor. He suffered in the Brighton bombing and as a Christian has met with and forgiven the IRA terrorist responsible. (Click on the title for a link to his story)

I sat at the same table as Jim West, the minister of the Sacramento church who is officiating at the service up to the point where my friend Dennis, the father of the bride gives her away. Then Dennis will take charge and do the remainder of the service. It was a treat to meet Jim West as I have for years wanted to read his book, Drinking With Calvin and Luther!: A History of Alcohol in the Church. At the wedding today we are to drink a beer specially brwed by his deacons. I believe it is called "I Do" Here is Jim at the head of the table, Dennis on the left. All eight of us giving speeches today are under strict instructions not to imbibe to excess before or after our toasts.

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