Weddings are for women. And, no, that is not cynical, caustic, nor chauvinistic. It's just a fact, ma'am. When was the last time anyone said, "this is the groom's day?" Like that TV commercial says, as long as you have a stand-in groom all is well.
Weddings themselves have changed in form and tradition over the centuries and vary from culture to culture. One thing seems to be a constant: Something must go wrong.
As part of my brother's wedding was witness to the best man forgetting the rings. The pastor (who presumably had been down this path often) whispered, "Just pretend."
It is the bride herself (and her mother) who notes and indelibly inscribes on her memory the things, which might have been, could have been, should have been different. The groom is just glad it's over and past.
For the record, I do remember at least one thing going wrong during our wedding on Nov. 6, 1965 -- the groom's ring was too small.
We had gone together to pick out my ring, but I'm not sure now whether or not I had a chance to test it out before the ceremony. In any case, it was too small. The bride struggled to get in on, and that's when I remembered to just pretend. When I did get it on, it was never going to come off again without a fight.
Over the years and the tears, and perhaps a little weight gain, that darn ring got to cutting into my finger so badly that somewhere along the line I quit wearing it. Always felt bad about that, never wanted to be one of those guys who didn't wear their ring.
Then, with more years and many moves, the ring -- as such things do -- simply disappeared.
On exactly our 35th anniversary Kay lost the diamond out of her ring. Now neither of us wore a wedding ring. For our 40th our children and I conspired to replace the diamond, and purchased a ring for me that actually fit.
I was, and am, very proud of my second wedding ring. As I told the nurse preparing for heart surgery, wanted to wait until the last possible moment before taking off my ring.
It was that surgery, though, that did me in. Between that and problems following, I lost 30 pounds, leaving me 20 pounds lighter than I'd been since age 14. My second wedding ring fit, but now only in the summer when my hand swelled. As soon as the weather got the least bit cold the thing would simply fall off. For fear of losing it, I again wore no ring -- at least when it was cool.
Then, suddenly about a month ago, there was the original wedding ring on my dresser. Somewhere, in something, Kay had found it and put it where I'd see it. And, after what would quickly become 44 years, the darn thing finally fit! Since it probably won't fit next spring, now I can at least go from one to the other.
The first ring was about the wedding, and weddings do not make a marriage -- people do. We had to make that wedding thing work for forty years to get my second wedding ring. That's why I'd want to be buried wearing my second ring, whatever the weather at the time. The odds of it falling off do seem remote.
David L. Lewis is an observer of and sometimes commentator on life who may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.