The Hess Report

Monday, October 10, 2005

Philadelphia Wedding: Light 

Congratulations to Jim and Ann Louise Markham! They were married Saturday in a historic church in downtown Philadelphia, quite near to where they live. Ann Louise was beautiful, and Jim looked happier than I've ever seen him. Kind of giddy, actually, which was funny.

Since this was a happy occasion, I'll reserve any bitching to a separate post. Highlights of the weekend:

Dinner at Marrakesh

Most of my friends had been there during our Philadelphia incarceration in college. Being extremely poor, I had not. Marrakesh is a Moroccan restaurant located in an alley just off South Street. The thirteen of us were seated upstairs in our own room, which consisted of just enough space for everyone to squash onto low couches around free-spinning circular brass trays that served as tables. The dining experience at Marrakesh consists of seven "courses" - one of which is having a bit of water poured on your fingers and another is the bringing of mint tea in little glasses. To be honest, let's just call it five true courses so we can skip the scare quotes. Five courses of authentic Moroccan faire: fresh vegetable salads, chicken/almond/egg puff pastry, chicken with lemon and olive, lamb with almonds and honey, followed by couscous and fresh fruit. Everything was very good, but the chicken and lamb stood out for both myself and Joy. With the exception of the couscous course, there were no utensils. A bit of Middle Eastern music played in the background, but it wasn't loud enough to be annoying. Conversation was good. There was one person there whom I had never met, and I've found that there's no better way to make a good first impression on than by being really offensive.

Philadelphia Drivers and Traffic Flow

Oh wait. I'm not bitching in this post. That'll have to wait.

The Ceremony

Beautiful Catholic church. Neat sculptures. It was Full Mass, I think, so it made me grateful once again for Martin Luther. The congregation got to sing Beethoven's 9th, and that's always fun. As stated above, Ann Louise looked beautiful and Jim was almost floating up to the ceiling. I like to hear the vows, but the AC kicked in at a crucial moment, and we couldn't really catch them too well. Jim's voice, being deep, carried enough to pick up the gist of it, and I'm just going to assume that Ann Louise was saying the same right back, and not going wildly off script.

At the receiving line, they both were almost goofy-happy, which made us happy too.


Probably the most lavish reception I've been to, and excellent fun. Everyone seemed to have a blast, and no one got embarrassingly drunk, as far as I could see. Well, one older guy was dancing far beyond his abilities, boogying down with the bride. Everyone backed off to watch his mad skillz, and he really cranked it up. By the time the song ended, he had ripped off both his jacket and tie. Thinking about it now, I'm realizing that the live band may have cut the piece short to forestall any more drunken stripping on his part, and for that we should retroactively thank them. I saw him in line for the bathrooms later, and he was pretty sloshed. Saw the valets loading him into the drivers seat of his car later on. Okay.

The food was great, especially the deserts, and I ended the evening eating chocolate truffles and sipping an espresso, which I like to refer to as "liquid crack". The band was as good as the deserts, although my usual complaint holds in that it was too loud to let you have a normally voiced conversation with your neighbors, let alone the people across the table from you.

Unforunately, the weather sucked. It poured the entire evening, which was disappointing (and I'm sure much more so to Jim and Ann Louise than to us) in that the reception area could potentially be opened up to give an inside/outside feeling to things if the weather permitted. They had planned a big send off for the happy couple, involving the swarm of guests making a gauntlet of sparklers through which they could exit into their waiting transportation. Miraculously, the rain which had dumped for almost three days straight, came to an abrupt and complete halt at the end of the evening. We piled outside into the cool moist air, made our lines and lit our sparklers. I made the point that drunk people plus fire equals bad, but no one screamed or squealed, so I'm assuming no one had their eyes put out. Ann Louise and Jim, still sporting his mile-wide grin, made their way through the sizzling corridor we had made and were whisked off into the night.

The End

We had an easy drive home the next day, followed several hours later by Joy's parents who brought us the girls and Piper (the new pooch). They were all safe, healthy and happy to see us. The house hadn't burned down in our absence. Perry the parakeet was still alive. And one more of my friends now has a shot at being almost as happy as I am every day.

Coming soon... Philadelphia Wedding: Dark

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