Kate was an overseer at a friend’s wedding this weekend. At a Quaker wedding, the overseers have a couple of very important jobs, not least of which are:
- Select, buy, and show up with at least three or four archival pens for people to use when signing the marriage certificate, and
- Stand by the marriage certificate after the ceremony and:
- Keep the stockbrokers in the meeting from whipping out their own screw-cap gold-nib pens, full of non-archival ink in the wrong color, and
- Keep people from signing down the columns, instead of across (then you end up with a ragged list of names), and
- Keep people from signing as “mister and mrs.”, since by tradition each member of the meeting signs their own name, and generally
- Act like dime-novel Quaker detective Old Broadbrim on behalf of the couple, who will have to look at the damn thing on the wall for (hopefully) the rest of their lives.
Kate did a fantastic job, and it gave us new respect and appreciation for our own overseers. Kate and I have now each been officiants at a wedding in the last six months, and her calm, organized style was in big contrast to my own Bronte-style showboating (in retrospect, saying “…let them speak now, or forever hold their peace…”, then counting out five long seconds while the congregation waits for the sound of hoofbeats coming over the hill was probably not my brother’s favorite part of his ceremony last September.)
Anyhow, both the bride (who now translates Russian for NASA: coolest. job. ever.) and the groom (who is Russian, and does something with computers and astronomy and is busy Catapulting Humanity to the Stars) were really lovely, and the wedding was great, and OMG the food!, and Kate and I got to dance and we had a great time.
Then I even got to spend some time scrubbing my carburetors while teaching Lydia to pronounce “needle jet” and “intake manifold”, so all in all it was a fantastic weekend.
I’m gonna go try and find more Old Broadbrim stories now!