HomePublicationBurbankChris Erskine: Welcome June, the Month of Brides

Chris Erskine: Welcome June, the Month of Brides

I checked White Fang for ticks the other day, under her arms and beneath her doggy rump. Now she thinks we’re engaged.
Trust me, many a marriage has been based on less.
It’ll be a small ceremony, mostly friends — no family (hey, I’m not made of money). We’re thinking about kids, of course. But at our age? Seriously.
In any case, welcome to June, the month of brides. Wanna host White Fang’s shower? Anybody? OK, think about it and get back to me ASAP. She’s registered at Petco, if you’re curious.
FYI, Suzanne’s dashing son is getting married this week, and I’m helping her prepare her toast/speech/limerick/poem/drinking song/whatever.
“There once was a lad from Dover …”
Suzanne rejected that one immediately.
“Too cliché,” she said.
So I suggested, “Dearly beloved, we are slathered here today, in sunscreen and whiskey…”
Strike two.
Like Gretzky, I am always thinking three rejections ahead of everybody else. I looked up some Emily Dickinson, then Rilke, the intense German poet (“Describe your sorrows and desires …”).
In the middle of a good Google, a minor quake rocked my writing desk. Hmmmm, maybe something about the end of the world? Or the beginning of everything? Hmmmmmmm…
Honestly, you know what I love more than life itself? Weddings.
“What a dream I had,
Pressed in organdy,
Clothed in crinoline,
Of smoky burgundy,
Softer than the rain…”

That’s from a Paul Simon song you probably don’t even remember.
If you’re wondering, crinoline is a stiff fabric, rougher than tulle, almost a 100-grit sandpaper. You could buff the goo off your pool with it.
Crinoline is also very good for propping up petticoats. They used to stuff pretty brides into it too. The super-sheer fabric dates to the days when fashion — and marriage — was almost a form of torture for young women.
It all seems much better now, by the way. Progress!
Not sure Paul Simon had such a texture in mind when he included crinoline in “To Emily, Whenever I May Find Her,” another of his lullaby tunes. For a time there, Simon seemed to have wandered right out of the Renaissance, a tiny minstrel singing of misty English weddings in ways we’d never heard.
June is that way. It seems to have waltzed right out of the Renaissance, softer than the rain.
To be honest, my own summer wedding was a rather minor affair, though the bride herself was splendid; I mean a vision, a brush stroke by a love-sick French impressionist.
Conversely, my daughters’ weddings were the stuff of magazines spreads, or two-arc episodes of “This Is Us.” We spared nothing. There were lute players and jugglers. The bride and groom arrived on a daisy chain of elephants.
Then there was me, the stoic/emotional dad, standing around with my hands in my pockets, kicking at rocks and looking for an open bar … any bar.
Coincidentally, I ran into someone the other day who told me God spoke to her in her grocery lists.
“For me, I hear God in weddings,” I explained to her.
“Really?” she asked. Like I’m weird or something.
To me, weddings are proof we still have pre-diluvian hearts. Weddings are proof that — despite the preponderance of evidence — we still believe in happily ever after.
“Let us be lovers, we’ll marry our fortunes together, I’ve got some real estate here in my bag…”
Paul Simon again, as you know.
In just a few weeks, I’ll be officiating the wedding of my niece, Amy, to this Danny boy from the North Shore of Chicago.
They lived with me in L.A. during COVID. As you may recall, that was a marvelous time in America.
Hey, the three of us made the best of it. We spent that first St. Patrick’s Day gobbling the corned beef I’d made in the pressure cooker. For kicks, I made her green beer. Obviously, it made quite the impression.
So now, near a dreamy Michigan lake, we’re planning the Party of the Century.
“Michigan seems like a dream to me now,
It took me four days to hitchhike from Saginaw …”
For this wedding, I predict playfulness and a bit of whimsy. More than anything, I want this Michigan wedding to seem like a dream to them. Like a big life wish blew in off the lake, tousling everything in attendance — the taffeta, the crinoline, the groomsmen’s hair.
After all, don’t you think that’s what a great wedding should be: your biggest wish coming true for all to see?
Yeah, me too.

White Fangs heart is full too

Please check out ChrisErskineLA.com, for additional posts and hiking club info.

First published June 6-8 in Outlook Newspapers.


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