How does that old rhyme go? First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes blah blah in a baby carriage? Well, our extended family experienced a love and marriage full monty this past fall, and I thought I’d share three vignettes:
My wife, Lisa, my mother-in-law, Souad, and I were walking out of St. Anthony Maronite Church in Lawrence with Monsignor Peter Azar, the pastor, after my niece Meredith’s wedding in October, when he asked Lisa when we would be celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary.
“Oh, Father, we just celebrated our 27th anniversary,” Lisa said.
“OK, then we’ll renew your vows on your 30th, if you’ll allow me,” the monsignor responded.
“But of course,” Lisa said as she rubbed her vacant right-hand ring finger, which has been getting itchier and itchier with each passing year. Apparently the condition that causes this discomfort can only be cured by a new diamond anniversary ring (three large diamonds each encircled by smaller diamonds).
“Wait a minute, Father, I really need to ask you something,” I said to him. “Forget renewing the vows for a second; I need to ask you if I have grounds for an annulment.”
Although I wasn’t looking at her, I could sense that Lisa was rolling her eyes, something she often does when I speak. Souad chuckled and smiled slightly at my statement.
“Before I agreed to marry Lisa,” I began, “my future mother-in-law here promised me she’d win the lottery if I married her daughter. I figured that was a good deal, so I agreed. But here’s the thing: It’s been 27 years, and she hasn’t won yet. How much longer do I have to wait?”
Lisa groaned, her eyes surely spinning uncontrollably at the question (I didn’t dare look).
Father Peter smiled, laughed politely and said, “I think you have to wait a few more years.”
Souad, her Lebanese accent still heavy after 64 years in America, added: “You’re lucky anyway, da luckiest, and you did win da lot-ter-ee.” She then muttered something in Arabic, something she often does when I speak.
So I guess I am lucky that Lisa is willing to marry me again after 27 years. But we’ll revisit this subject in three years to see if that’s still true. In the interim, I need to start saving for that ring.
Meredith’s much-anticipated wedding was the social event of the year in our family, and the celebration lived up to expectations. She and her husband, Joel, looked like models on a Vogue cover shoot (see for yourself on page 64). But there was one problem at the wedding that continues to irk me.
Joel hails from the great state of Indiana, so as you might assume, most of his polite and soft-spoken Midwestern family hadn’t met our rather loud, ethnic clan. By ethnic, I mean the bride’s side literally had people coming from all over, including Lebanon, Canada, Brooklyn and even Lowell.
So, naturally, I introduced myself to several members of Joel’s family as “Meredith’s favorite uncle.” To my dismay, too many of them responded by saying, “Oh hello, you must be Uncle Kevin, the photographer.”
That would be Kevin Harkins, mvm contributing photographer (2006 to October 2014).
No, I’m Uncle Glenn, with two n’s. That’s the epithet Meredith assigned to me many years ago — and I am her favorite uncle, dammit…
It was a fun wedding anyway.
My nephews Joe and Nick, brothers born less than a year apart, are on the same baby-making schedule. This past fall Joe and his wife, Katelyn, welcomed Caroline, and big sister Madeline is thrilled. Nick and his wife, Renee, welcomed Mitchell, and big sister Olivia … well, she’s thrilled, too, but I suspect she thinks she’s in charge of him. Poor Mitch, he has no idea what he’s in for.
There are more stories from my family’s joyous season of good fortune, but our new editor in chief — the whole team actually — is only allowing one page per issue for my ramblings.
Glenn J. Prezzano is the president of 512 Media Inc., founder and publisher of Merrimack Valley Magazine, Merrimack Valley Home and book publisher Merrimack Press. You may talk back to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.