Last night, we went to my rabbi's son's wedding. It was a lovely affair - the food, both at the Bride's reception before the chuppah *and* the full reception afterwards, was delicious and generous. (Highlight of the bride's reception for me? Pigs in blankets and onion rings, served from a chafing dish, not a tray. Highlight of the dinner? Oh, so much, but the starters were all, individually, amazing. Garlic-Spinach Stuffed Mushroom. Butternut squash soup. Green salad with strawberries and mango. I seriously would have been happy to stop there.)
I had a bit of an adventure getting there - first, I had to do a very bad, basted hem repair for my simcha suit. Fortunately, black thread on a black skirt doesn't show much, even in big stitches, and the skirt does get very close to my ankles. No one would see.
A digression - having a simcha suit is a great thing. I never have to wonder about what to wear for any dressy occassion. It's good for weddings, bar mitzvahs, fund-raising dinners and surprise events like engagement parties. Since it's a basic outfit, no one notices if you wear it multiple times. A suit is just a suit. All that needs to be done is to pull it out of the closet, add jewelry and a matching headscarf, and I'm done.
Then I called a car service. And it turned out that neither the cab driver nor I knew the way to the wedding hall. And that I forgot the wedding present (a sterling silver mezuzah case and parchment. It's our default gift.) So he drove me back to the house and I ran and got the gift and when I came back, he'd arranged for another driver, from the same company, to take me there. We drove around again to a bus stop, where I gave my first driver $3 (he wouldn't take more) and switched. I got there in about a half hour, a half hour late, which was fine.
I hung out with other people from the shul, most of whom had only been invited to the chuppah. Since they were feeding everyone so generously before the chuppah, no one felt left out. As my husband is on the board, we were invited to the whole thing. (Honestly, we would have been fine with only the chuppah ourselves in this case.)
So, I spent that time socializing with the people I knew and that was just fine. Jonathan came in later and did the same, and it was nice. I sat with the sort of group for the chuppah - women I knew. Actually, I let my friend Sharon choose her place (she's in a wheelchair, so someone had to remove the extra chair) and I sat by her, and everyone sat around us. Her husband is in mourning, so he couldn't attend.
The chuppah was lovely - the groom's father, our rabbi, was the officicant, and they called up some major figures for various honors, which says so much about our rabbi. As he's the dean of a growing Orthodox college, this is not surprising.
Yes, we're proud of him.
One cute note - a friend of mine is married to a rabbi who works for an affiliated college. She'd forgotten about my connection to our rabbi, and was astonished to see me. Her husband sought out mine during the reception - they'd gotten to be friendly during the short time between her wedding and when she moved away from Park Slope.
So, they quickly rearranged the seating from chuppah to receptions, with a solid-wall mechitza between the men's and women's sides. I found my table quickly and grabbed a seat (by putting my purse on it) and then went off to see who was coming in. Not too surprisingly, the other women from my shul who were staying sat at the same table. Some are or were board members in their own rights, and others were married to past or current members. The two single women who were on the board didn't stay - I'm guessing they decided not to.
And I meet one of my shul friends (board member, staunch feminist, mother of an extremely brilliant daughter, friend of the rabbis, comic book fan - an altogether cool lady) and show her where the table was, and she said, "Can I sit next to you?"
Not, "Good, I can sit next to you." Or, "There's a seat near you. Cool." Or, you know, just putting her purse down. But as if it was some kind of a privilege.
I felt like I was one of the Cool Kids. I have no idea how that happened.