Autumn in the North Cemetery.

Sixty miles west of Boston, Massachusetts there is the small New England town of Sturbridge. Located at the junction of I-90 (The Mass Pike), and I-84 it has become known as the "Crossroads of New England". The town was first settled over 300 years ago, and like other small New England towns it has grown just enough over the years to be in a difficult place today. How do we embrace the future without forgetting how we got to our present? How do we attract the right kind of growth, and maintain who we are? And, what about our culture out here in Central Massachusetts?

These pages will cause one to think about how to protect what we have, our future direction, and how to move on in the very best way.

Those thoughts, and other ramblings, will hopefully inspire more thought, conversation, action, and occasionally a smile...

...seems to be working so far

Monday, March 24, 2008

Rules of Engagment

When a couple decides to marry there are many things to consider. For those that are at the plate for the second time, one would think there would be less to think about as far as the actual wedding itself goes.

One would think that. A man would think that. A silly man would think that.

For a couple that had both been down this road before they are very careful to be sure that this time they are making the best decision emotionally. That's a given. They are not into re-runs. And, since they have both been in this place before, maybe something simpler would be a good thing. After all, it's not so much the ceremony, but the life to come after. Right?

A simple day, maybe a wedding in a meadow, a few friends and family, and fire up the hibachi afterwards would be good. As the couple describe the day to each other, they may nod in agreement, and smile to one another. "Yes. A small affair.", "I agree. Nothing large".

Then things happen.

"Music would be nice.", one says. And, it would be nice. Maybe something acoustical in the meadow. "Music with the meal would be be better." Meal? Cold cuts on the tailgate isn't a meal? And, a portable CD player isn't good enough?

Silly man. Stupid, silly man.

"What if it rains?" one asks. Well, there are shelters at the park. We could rent one for the day.

Then there is a lull in the planning as the couple mulls over the needs of the other, and the options.

"Let's look around a bit. Maybe find a nice place outside where we can also have a real meal inside a building. Maybe some nice music.".

Then the real planning begins. Although both have been here before, they soon find out that it is not the day itself they want to change, or avoid, it is what comes afterwards. And, having a simple, basic, crackers and cheese affair amongst the daffodils won't change that.

So, after examining their options this couple thinks about where would be a nice place to marry. A memorable place. A different place. A place that means a great deal to them both.

"Let's check out Old Sturbridge Village".

"Old Sturbridge Village? Hmm. OK".

Within seconds images of a ceremony in the Old Meeting House are flashing inside both of their heads. Then they start to visualize the reception at the Tavern. A reception with chairs. Now, both of these places require formal outfits. So, out the window goes the jeans, and sandals.

The man will need a tux. The bride will need a very nice dress, and of course there are flowers to consider, and the meals to be chosen, and the invitations to be decided upon, and then, there's the music. Can't get away from the music.

"Simple music."
"I agree. Simple."
"Maybe some strings during dinner."
"Yes, a cellist?"
"Or, a harp."
"A harp?"
"Yes, soft music."
"Maybe 'Ina gadda Da vida'?"
"Most likely not."

Then there's the famous "Planning Pause". Two or three minutes of quiet. Just thinking, and finally, "What do we do for the rest of time we have the room?"

"Talk? Wedding charades?"
"We will need something for guests to do for the rest of the evening. Music and dancing are a natural."

So, the couple has evolved from a wedding amongst the hay in some meadow wearing comfortable clothes, Uncle Larry playing the spoons, with his sister on the zither, sausage on the hibachi, drinks in a washtub to a tux, a dress, real invitations instead of emails, a choice of entrees at a table indoors, a ceremony inside an historic old church, a horse and carriage, a harpist, and a DJ.

And the flowers. And favors.
And thank you cards.

The Theory of Wedding Evolution.

Then, it's the mans turn to answer some questions.

"So where would you like to go after the wedding?", she asks.
"Some place simple.", he replies.
"Yes. Simple, but nice."
"A nice simple place near the water."
"Do you own a cottage? Or are you talking hotel?", she asks.
"Hotel. Or a nice country inn."
"A nice, simple place near the water? Do we need passports?"

Another long pause.


It's funny how some things grow, and take on a life of their own with very little influence from others.

Or, so we think.

... to be continued.

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