Revenge of the Nerd Ch. 82byrpsuch©
I don't think I had ever adequately expressed to Jeff how lucky I was to have found him. After I had failed to trust him, I promised myself to let him know how much I valued him.
There are traditional songs played while the bride walks down the aisle. At Jewish weddings the most common is Dodi Li, my beloved is mine. It continues and I am his. I would be saying that shortly.
I was pretty traditional and my family was traditional as well. To show Jeff how I felt about him, I decided to break with tradition. It would probably be more accurate to say I did not break with tradition, I smashed it to smithereens.
As we paused at the door, my father had that big, happy smile Jeff had insisted upon.
I saw Jeff waiting in the front of the room with a calm, serene smile. When the music started it changed to a huge, ebullient smile as he started swaying to the music. My father's smile turned to a look of shock. He forgot to walk with me when I started down the aisle to the intro to Believe it or Not, the theme from the television show The Greatest American Hero.
Like dominoes, the look of astonishment spread on the bride's side of the room. Like dominoes, the delighted smiles spread on the groom's side.
I walked very slowly down the aisle. I wanted to give the quartet adequate time to finish, a little over three minutes.
Just over a minute in I started to belt out the second verse:
"Just like the light of a new day, it hit me from out of the blue breaking me out of the spell I was in making all of my wishes come true."
I focused on Jeff as I sang it. He started laughing with a happy, loving expression on his face.
At the chorus he joined in, harmonizing. "Believe it or not I'm walking on air." That was followed immediately by all of his side joining in and a modest representation of mine as well.
As if it had been rehearsed, everyone else refrained from singing the bridge, but after "This is too good to be true," Jeff joined me singing, "look at me falling for you."
Most of the guests joined back in until the song was over. To my surprise, the string quartet had snuck in an electric guitar for the riff near the end.
When I reached Jeff, he engulfed me in his arms.
"You are absolutely amazing."
"I'll be astonished if this doesn't wind up on YouTube," Jeff almost whispered.
The guests quieted down and the rabbi broke script.
"I've known Jeff for quite a while. I met Ashley more recently. I would not have been surprised if Jeff had pulled something like this. But, Ashley, I never imagined you would so delightfully set tradition on its ear.
"Jeff, I think you're in for quite a ride."
We stood under the chuppah, my parents to my left and Jeff's to his right.
"We have Jeff's grandmother, Hari, to thank for this bright, colorful design on the canopy. Her specialty is jewelry, but Hari is clearly an artist.
"As we stand here beneath the chuppah, you will notice its fragility. These poles are adequate to hold our canopy, but we have no illusion that this is a formidable structure. So are a marriage and home fragile structures. It takes a lot of work and attention to keep them vital and vibrant."
This was not the most important day of my life that brides obsessed over; the day I'm queen of the world. This was the continuation of an adventure that was more fun and more satisfying than I could ever have imagined.
It was steeped with tradition. I walked around Jeff three times as a symbol that he was the center of my life.
It backed off from tradition. With the modern approach, Jeff walked around me to symbolize that I was the center of his life. We walked the final circle around each other.
Some people believe that bad things happen in threes. We Jews are prone to doing things in sevens. As we made our seven circles, the rabbi recited the sheva brachot - the seven blessings.
The rabbi recited some Hebrew which Jeff repeated, which translates to "Behold, you are consecrated to me with this ring." Jeff then placed my ring on my right index finger, thought in biblical times to be closest to the heart.
I said "Ani l'dodi, ve dodi li," and placed his on his left ring finger.
"It came as no surprise to me," said our rabbi, "that the bride and groom wanted to add their own vows to those traditionally spoken. And why shouldn't they? Jeff."
Jeff and I were facing each other. He walked by me on my left. What the hell was he doing? Was he walking out?
I felt him behind me. I looked over my shoulder and he had his back to me. He was standing behind me in a defensive position, looking straight at my father.
"Ashley, I will always have your back. You won't need me for all the wonderful things I know you will accomplish. But you can be confident I will be with you all the way, supporting you and making sure you come to no harm."
I got chills. I think everyone got chills, even my father, though his were from fear of what Jeff would do if he tried to harm me.
Jeff returned to his position facing me.
"Really?" I said, like I couldn't believe it. "That's the act I have to follow?"
"Don't worry," Jeff said. "I've got your back."
I swear, the audience, I mean the guests, was responding like this was a comedy club.
"For starters, in case you somehow missed it, you're my hero."
"That's not exactly a vow," Jeff said.
"It's the preface."
We were having fun with each other, like we always did, except there was a crowd of over three hundred listening in.
"I promise to live up to your expectations. If I can't do it right away, I'll figure out how.
"I promise to assume you know what you're doing or talking about unless you indicate to the contrary, because you do.
"I promise to use subterfuge, nag, kvetch and do whatever it takes to keep you healthy enough to become an old man.
"And I promise to find the value in nerds, especially my nerd."
Trust Jeff not to let this go.
"You know, the term nerd was first used in If I Ran the Zoo, by Dr. Seuss. Despite the undesirable characteristics attributed to nerds, many of them are just the manifestation of their desire to choose their own direction in life rather than follow what society tells them it expects. Peter Parker was a nerd."
"You're citing Spider Man in defense of nerds? That was a comic book."
"Hey, guys," the rabbi interrupted. "Remember me? We're here to have a wedding. Start the honeymoon later.
"Jeff, since we're deviating from the plot again, would you like to speak about the breaking of the cup?"
Jeff turned around and spoke.
"First, I have been prevailed upon to limit the fascinating background related to the breaking of the cup, because we all want to finish tonight.
"There are many reasons ascribed to it, but we have negotiated a deal to accept the meaning as another reminder of the frailty of life and relationships. There is evidence that the ritual derived from two incidents in which the presiding rabbi smashed a glass to calm down the revelry, lest it get out of hand. So we choose to remember even joyous occasions can turn in an instant.
"Some have said the breaking is wasteful. In the times in which our traditions developed, people could ill afford to waste.
"It is a Goldberg family tradition to modify or discard traditions as we see fit. As the tradition has changed from breaking a wine glass to permitting the substitution of a light bulb, we have changed the tradition further.
"You heard my grandmother, Hari, made our beautiful canopy. My grandfather, her husband, Sam, made our cup, which I will soon break. He made it from a confection of sugars and honey and hardened it so we could actually drink from it without destroying it prematurely.
"After it is smashed, Sam will be able to recycle it into something sinfully delicious and, sadly, caloric."
Jeff wrapped the cup in a cloth napkin, placed it on the floor and stomped on it.
It was followed by a chorus of Mazel tov, which Jeff told me was not for his act of destruction, but that the wedding ceremony was over and almost everybody was happy about that.