Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — About two weeks ago, the Valley family was in northern New York. Our three kids and their families joined my wife and me for several reasons. Other than the fact that it was a good chance to spend some time on the St. Lawrence River, my niece’s wedding and my wife’s annual family reunion were scheduled on consecutive days that first week of July.
I’m the type of guy who — if truth be told — does not usually like gatherings where more than one or two people congregate. Actually, I should re-phrase that: I enjoy a party once I’m there, it’s just the thought of making a commitment to attend one that bothers me. I always have this fear that I’ll open my mouth and utter something stupid. Something like: “Thank God O.J. got off from those trumped-up murder charges?” It always happens – it’s good old Murphy’s Law: “If anything can go wrong, it will.”
It was nice for our family to be together but our schedules were tight. First up was my niece’s wedding. It was very hot and the church was even hotter. My wife suggested that perhaps God was sending a message to me that if I didn’t start attending church regularly this is what I would face in eternity. But I disagreed, I thought it was hotter than hell.
It was a Catholic church and when the presiding man-of-the-cloth mentioned that he and his wife had recently renewed their vows, I was stunned. My wife was right - I had been away from the Church too long.
“When did they start letting priests get married? I whispered.
“He’s not a priest – he’s a minister. I’ll explain later.” Her frustration came — at no extra cost — with an icy glare that told me to be quiet. Unfortunately, the frost in her tone did nothing to ease the heat.
Near the end of the ceremony the groom surprised me when he stepped forward and violently stomped on a glass. When the people in front of me yelled “Mazel-tov,” I knew I wasn’t in Kansas anymore. Apparently, we were at a Catholic church with a Protestant minister and a Jewish groom. Alrighty then! What’s next, Munchkin altar boys?
At the reception – and as I feared — it didn’t take long for me to say something stupid. Seated with my two brothers, their wives and the groom’s mother, I asked the kindly Jewish woman if she had tried the bacon-wrapped lobster? I got the same look from her that I got from my father when I told him that my goal in life was to be an usher at the Strand Theater. (Back then, they let you have a flashlight – and that was a game changer for me.)
I talked to my nephew, Mark, at the gathering and he informed that the television show he was on got canceled.
“Well, Mark,” I offered, “there you go: it’s Murphy’s Law, again.”
“Actually,” Mark countered, “It was ‘Harry’s Law’.”
“No, I’m pretty sure it’s called Murphy’s Law.”
Mark just shook his head and walked away. I guess he couldn’t accept the fact that his uncle was right, as usual. “Harry’s Law?” Seriously, Mark?
For now, faithful and first-time readers, I appreciate that you checked in. Next up? The family reunion.
And, as always, that’s the way it looks from the Valley.Tom Valley is a Medina resident. His column appears every Thursday. Contact him at email@example.com.