Monday, January 20th, 1997
ON THE MARRIAGE OF FRANK WARREN AND CHRISTINA ALLISON
"It looks like itís starting to rain," Christina said as
we returned from our traditional trip to Burger King. "Are you going
to have time to come in and eat that, or do you have to go right now?"
"No, no big deal, Iíll come in." Plink, plink, plink came the
raindrops as we grabbed our bag of chicken sandwiches and ran inside. There,
waiting, was her new husband, Frank, and their lovely child, Allison.
Christina and Frank had gotten married the day before, in my hometown of San Luis Obispo. I served as Best Man, seeing as Frank and I have been best friends for more than 15 years. And the whole weekend went by in a blur of images and people, at times so fast I wanted to just yell "Stop!" Frank and Christina Ė where to begin? At Friday nightís rehearsal dinner, I tried explaining how Iíd seen it all happen. Frank met Christina, they may have gone out once or twice, but after that, it was like they skipped ahead several years on the "relationship timeline." Suddenly, my best friend had found his female partner, someone who looked like he'd be spending the rest of his life with. People around them wondered what had happened to the "dating" and "courtship" stages of their lives. Frank and X just skipped right over that part, settling in to a very comfortable, very familiar relationship that was a summary of everything love is and should be. (By the way, "Christina" is called "X-tina," much like "Christmas" is shortened to "X-Mas." Just so you know.)
This state of affairs carried on for a couple of years, during which all of us (their friends) insisted on knowing just what was going on between them. Well, the arrival of the Miracle Baby Allison Catharine Warren provided part of the answer. (See my separate web page for the inside scoop of the miracle that is the Miracle Baby.) The jig was up, the news was out Ė Frank and Christina were parents. Fifteen months later, they became husband and wife.
The ceremony was beautiful, filled with the best kind of music and love. Music has always been a big part of Frankís life, and if it wasnít so prominent in Christinaís (which I donít know for sure), it is now. Joyous songs from amazing local (and formerly local) musicians filled the Unity Church. Relatives provided tear-filled readings of love poetry. I successfully delivered the ring to the minister when asked for it. Christinaís maid-of-honor, her twin sister Marilyn, gave us all a second to relax, when she displayed her gift for physical comedy, doing a ring-removal gag that involved her dropping Frankís wedding band on the ground when she was asked for it, then finally coming up with said ring, and presenting it to the minister. Holding them aloft, he got the biggest laugh of the ceremony: "We have the rings!" All the right candles were lit, all the right notes were played, all the right "I doís" were said. And Frank and Christina became, finally, officially, husband and wife.
The reception was at the Forum, a relatively new place in Downtown San Luis Obispo. The bridal party was announced, then entered to thunderous applause. Here, too, was love. Love felt by what seemed like an entire community for two people who had done so much for others over the years. (Frank works for San Luis Obispo County seven days a week to keep kids off drugs and alcohol, Christina is raising the next generation of kids as a teacher at the Cal Poly Childrenís Center.) There was more music, more dancing, more wackiness, (as a surprise, one of Frankís other best friends, Alden Bagnall, showed up unrecognizable in a clown outfit, making balloon animals and handing them out to the many young children who were there) and more of everything. People who hadnít seen each other in years were brought back together. People who hadn't played together in years took the stage, making incredible music. I broke both of my long-standing rules about dancing and weddings (usually, I don't dance at weddings, and I don't dance anywhere else, either). The party continued well in to the night, finally ending with several of the reunited musicians making a traditional trip out for late night doughnuts.
Sunday was spent at the Warren family house, relatives tightly packed in, downing endless supplies of food and drink. Then, one by one, two by two, people began heading home. The weekend of fun was coming to an end. Frank, Christina, Allison and I headed back over to Frank and X's house, relaxed a bit, and enjoyed one last visit from Frank's Wisconsin-based cousins. After that, Christina and I went for our traditional Burger King run (she only goes when Iím visiting). When weíd finished eating, she took Allison upstairs to put her to sleep. I said my good-byes to both of them. Then it was Frank and I, left alone on a quiet, starting to rain Sunday night, looking back over his wedding weekend. My attention was drawn to a place I always look when Iím in his house Ė a little plaque on one of the walls. Itís a silver replica of the newspaper column Frank wrote after Allisonís miraculous arrival. It talks about how his life has changed, and how heís opened his eyes to the love thatís been in his life for some time. And I had to tell him about all the times I had visited, how that column affected me. Many nights, after everyone had gone to bed, I'd still be up, walking back from the kitchen, when I would stop to read Frank's words. "Every time Iím here, thatís what gets me," I said, pointing to the plaque. I could feel the tears starting to form, as they did every time I read it. "I am so happy for you and Christina, and Allison," I managed to say, before I couldnít speak anymore. "Buddy, I know," he said. Frank and I embraced, me crying on his shoulder, overcome with the happiness and joy that had come full circle on this very special weekend.