Tag Archives: wedding

The Minister of Rock

I don’t know how it happened. One minute I’m saying goodnight to the bride and groom, the next I’m sliding across the dance floor on my back, air-guitarring to AC/DC.

My best Angus Young

My best Angus Young impersonation

We were at my wife’s cousin’s wedding, and earlier in the day, believe it or not, I had performed the ceremony. It was the second wedding I’d officiated after becoming an official minister last spring.

It all began one night when a good friend of the family called and asked if I’d ever considered filling out “one of those online minister things you see in the back of Rolling Stone.” Five minutes and a couple clicks of the mouse later and – POW! – I’m a man of the cloth, much to the chagrin of some friends of mine who had spent years and incurred large debts completing rigorous seminary programs.

My first wedding

Almost wine time

What can I say? I took the express program.

I had a great time performing that first wedding in San Francisco (see photo) and felt honored to be such an integral part of it; however, I really didn’t have any plans to continue marrying people after that. One and done, that was the plan.

But when Cassie’s cousin asked me to do her wedding, I figured—why not? I was going to be at the wedding anyway. Might as well earn my wine.

The ceremony itself went off without a hitch, except for me mispronouncing the newly married couple’s last name. (Minor detail.) Afterward we congregated at a local hall to celebrate. Being a minister, I tried my best to behave, limiting myself to just six glasses of wine.

And the battle begins

The battle begins…

Eventually it was time to call it a night, so Cass and I made our way out to the dance floor to bid adieu to the bride and groom.

Just then the opening notes of “Shook Me All Night Long” – a western-PA wedding staple, along with “Shout”, “Celebration”, and “Y.M.C.A” – echoed throughout the hall. It was at this moment when I locked eyes with a 6-year-old boy in the midst of an air-guitar solo. Suddenly I felt reinvigorated, the red wine pumping through my veins. So I pulled out my own invisible axe, and just like that the battle was on.

Immediately the guests formed a circle around us, cheering the two of us on as we duked it out with our pretend six-strings. I would do my best windmill strum, and then the kid would top it with some crazy split-type move that would’ve split my pants and sent me to the hospital. It wasn’t long before we ditched the nonexistent guitars and found ourselves in a full-out dance off. At one point the kid pulled off an amazing Michael Jackson-esque spin and toe landing. I countered with my best M.J. crotch-grab, which no doubt shocked many of the guests who up until that point knew me only as Pastor Val.

An air-guitar god is born

Back and forth we battled—a 6-year-old future ladies’ man with moves like Jagger and me, a 37-year-old writer/minister who obviously had one too many Cabernets.

Eventually I conceded victory to my young opponent, mainly due to exhaustion, but also because I broke an invisible string on my non-existent guitar. Which is always a bummer.

As for my career as a wedding officiant, I officially defrocked myself that night, not wanting to further soil my ministerial robes, so to speak. If anyone needs a good air-guitarrist for their wedding, however, I’m available.

Will work for wine.


Posted by on December 6, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Daddy’s Little Demon

“Just hold the dress open and I’ll shove her down into it!” I said to my wife.

We were late in leaving for a wedding, one in which my 3 ½-year-old was to be the flower girl. However, at the moment, she was a demonic creature from the Netherworld. And she was dead set against putting on that dress.

Just moments before I was up street picking out a wedding card when my phone rang. It was my wife. And she sounded desperate.

“Get home as soon as you can,” she said. “We have a situation here.” So I paid for the card and sped home, not sure what to expect when I got there.

My wife greeted me at the door. “I’m going to kill her,” she said. “Really. I’m not kidding this time.” I looked over and saw my screaming, sobbing, hysterical little girl, sitting in the corner of the dining room, wearing nothing but her tights.

Obviously I needed to diffuse the situation. “Go get ready,” I said. “I’ll handle it.” My wife’s “tough cop” routine may have failed, but surely my fatherly charms could soothe my frantic first-born.

So, crouching down to her level and speaking in a clear, composed voice, I told my daughter that she had to put the dress on because she had a very special part in the wedding, and the dress would make her look like a princess!

But the demon was unmoved. “I am NOT putting on my dress!!”

Again, I reiterated her obligation to the bride and groom and explained the urgency of our situation. “Listen, honey, I don’t know what’s wrong, but we’re going to be late. So, I’m very sorry, but you’re going to have to put your dress on. Okay?”

That’s when the screaming hit a new, ear-splitting level. “I! WILL! NOT! PUT! IT! OOOOOOOOOOON!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

There comes a moment in parenting when, no matter how hard you try to remain calm, your blood begins to boil. You can feel it, slowly rising up from your belly and radiating into your chest. One minute you’re in total control of your emotions; the next, you’re the Incredible Hulk. You feel as if you could pick up the television and throw it through the window—and it would feel really, really good!

We had reached this critical moment.

“You WILL put it on!” I said, fire and smoke now emanating from my mouth. “Right now!!”

“NO I WON’T!!!”

Since diplomacy had failed, it was time for Plan B—Operation Stuff Her in the Dress. And it wasn’t easy, what with her screaming and hitting and kicking the entire time. Then, just as we managed to cram her into the dress, she activated the one super-power that all kids have, where they can instantly triple their body weight and drop to the floor like an anvil.

But we were not deterred. While taking blow after blow to the face, my wife, the trooper she is, managed to squeeze my daughter’s feet into her white patent-leather shoes. Then I immediately whisked the screeching demon—I mean, child—outside and strapped her into her car seat, all the while the neighbors peered out from behind their venetian blinds, horrified.

As my wife and I attended to our wounds, we expected a long drive ahead of us, one full of screaming and crying. But amazingly, just minutes down the road, my daughter was somehow exorcised of the demon and transformed back into our little angel. It was a miracle! Either that or she could sense wedding cookies in her future and, therefore, abruptly changed her tune.

Somehow we made it to the church on time and my beautiful princess walked down the aisle as the wedding guests looked on adoringly. And none of them had any clue that this sweet little cherub had earlier been a crazed demon.

We have the scars to prove it.


Posted by on August 19, 2011 in Uncategorized


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