It was a remarkable evening in so many regards, and an evening that will linger in smiles. How could it not have been? Lifelong friends gathered joyously as lifelong sweethearts stood under a chupah watching their first-born marry.

I love weddings; I truly do. This one, moreover, bore the sweet scent of community.

6:20   Valet parked at The Ritz. (Was my last time here really in the 90’s when Howard Stern came to town)?

6:25   Entering the room on the sixth floor we saw first Aleph Gadol Snyder. Perched in an aisle seat at the 50, he is clad in a black tuxedo,    and black silk shirt. Oh, and he is facing out. (Go figure). Ed. Note 1: There is no room in his row, poignantly reminiscent of high school when there was rarely room for me in his Mustang).

6:30   Moving to the deep centerfield bleachers, comfortably we sat with Marc and Mary. The procession not having started, I asked Walt how an NCAA game was going. “I’m taping it,” he said, (which I of course perceived as his adoption of the Hal Bogart Technique, to wit: not allowing himself to get aggravated over a game, but rather just waiting for the result, and if the right team prevailed, THEN watching the replay in peace.

6;45   The ceremony begins.

Michelle looks beautiful. Arthur and Vicki are beaming. Everyone is happy (and, I might add, every man appears to be bald).

The groom’s mother’s appearance (after her recent run in the hospital) was particularly moving. How could I not think back to Michael’s wedding, and my own mother being wheeled down the aisle. Valiantly wheeled down the aisle at her grandson’s marriage in Great Neck, there a beam about her that shone back to home in Ohio. I can never forget it.

Even the rabbi hit it out of the park. Clear it was that he knew the families, and the length of the ceremony was perfect. Of particular note was his reading (not singing) the Sheva Brachot. I couldn’t recall having them recited both in Hebrew and English, and it was nice after all these years to hear what the seven blessings really mean. (Ed. Note 2: I went up to him and told him just that during the cocktail hour. He looked back at me politely, but with vacant eyes that screamed “Who is this idiot?”).

7:00   Cocktail hours at receptions are the only times in my life I’ve downed lamb chops without either reading material, or a TV to watch, or both.  Carrie and I got boxed in in the crowd, so I reminded her once again that if someone approached and I didn’t readily introduce her it was because I didn’t know who it was. (Ed. Note 3: She game me the same look the rabbi had).  I couldn’t find Lester, but figured he was with Payner. I didn’t see Walt,but figured he was with Fred. And Snyder? God knew where he was.  Meanwhile, CJ was steps away talking to women when an attractive woman said Hi to me. It was clear that she knew me but I had no f’ing idea who she was. “Great lamb chops!” I said. (Once a nerd, always a nerd). (Ed. Note 4: That look from the rabbi and Carrie? I got it from her too as she back-pedaled away).

And then finally…a familiar face:

“Max Burstyn!” I greeted him. “I was going to call you.”
(I really was).
“We’re going to Pittsburgh and need a room near the stadium.”
He asked how my brother was; I went back to the talk of Pittsburgh, and then…LOW AND BEHOLD…my eyes fell on Bobby, five feet away, chatting up the unknown girl (from the lamb chop comment).

Only then did it click! Indeed, that was Arthur’s sister. Leave it to Bob!  (Ed. Note 5: The balance of pre-dinner time was spent studying the man in action. Memorialized on my cell phone (and available on request) are pixels of Robert with multiple young, smiling, female faces). In his mind and in my heart he is the once and future king.

7:30   Dinner was outstanding, even better.
“What cut of beef is this? I asked Carrie.
“So much better,” I noted,”Than when I lived alone and microwaved it.”
(Ed. Note 6: I got the look again).

Somewhere along the way my phone sent me basketball scores. In reflex I turned to Walt:

“They got blown out,” I informed him.
“Why’d you tell me that?” he exclaimed, “I wanted to watch the game later.”

8:25   Host and hostess stopped by our table. I had never seen Vicki’s hair up like that and truly, she looked radiant. “If you’d have worn your hair like that in ’67,” I told her, “I may have tried harder.”

9:00 Kraut danced with his daughter. As the room froze — all eyes on the duo —-I thrilled for him, but my mind swirled backward.

— To Jamie, dancing to “Now and Forever” …
— To Stacy, dancing to “More I Cannot Wish You”…

10:00 Opening strains of the Hora called throngs of us back to the dance floor, and for the next several minutes family and friends circled  family and friends. It was a signal moment, highlighted by Arthur and Vicki aloft, and a dance that surprisingly didn’t end by me calling my cardiologist.

10:45   Only now was it time to go. The glass had been broken; the toasts had been made; the cake had been cut, and we’d thought we’d  seen it all….

11:00   In the lobby again I submitted the valet ticket. I turned to answer a voice:

“Are you Michael Bogart’s father?” asked a thirty-something face I’d never before seen?”
“God, I hope so.”
“I went to the AEPi formal with him.”
(I looked at Carrie; she looked at me).
“But I’ve never met you,” I told the stranger, “How would you know Michael was my son?”
“You two look alike,” she advised.
(No one had ever told me that before).
“I’m not so certain Michael would like to hear that!” I countered.
Then I laughed, Carrie laughed, and we strode to the car. NOW, we’d seen it all.

A hallmark evening it was—truly a night to remember.

One Response to “A NIGHT TO REMEMBER”

  1. bob says:

    Excellent review of a wonderful evening that went by too quickly. Always fun to party with some of the Rowland Boys. Hope we have some more celebrations and weddings before the inevitable.

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