It was August in Portland. There would be a wedding today in the small town of Troutdale, a short drive east of the city. It was just minutes from the town his mother grew up in. A drive out of Troutdale would take you up the hill, to a small farming community. The farm, still owned by his family sat above the Sandy River. With yearly trips to that farm for family holidays, the area provided him a feeling of home. But, today wasn’t about his family. It would be about the union of a new family. His high school buddy would be joining his life with his fiancée, who in a few hours would become his wife. The bright sun shined through his hotel room window. The second bed set aside for another buddy, he would pick up that afternoon. First, it was lunch at one of his favorite burger joints. After which, he would shower and change. Then, make the short drive into Portland, to fetch their buddy, who would be arriving on the train from Seattle.
Dea’s was the burger spot in the neighboring town of Gresham. His brother had decided to drive through town on his way to the central part of Oregon. It was a good reason for his brother to take a small trip. He had cerebral palsy, which meant buttons on a shirt could be challenging. So, his brother came through town just in case help was needed. Dea’s had special significance in their lives, not only was it a great burger, but a favorite diner of their late grandmother. She would take them as kids whenever they came to visit. Each time he was inside that place, he thought of his grandma. They enjoyed the hamburgers, as his phone vibrated on the table. It was her, texting to ask what he was doing before the wedding. They exchanged a few quick notes. She asked to tell his brother hello and let him know she looked forward to seeing him later that night. He responded by telling her that he shared the sentiment. The brothers finished up their meals and headed back to the hotel.
He took a quick shower in the small hotel bathroom. It was challenging for him to maneuver in confined spaces. This bathroom felt smaller than normal and with cerebral palsy making fine movements more difficult, this could turn into a bit of a test. But, he reminded himself to slow down. Once he slowed his normal pace, to adjust for the tighter quarters, things began to run smoother. Once done with the tight quarters, he started working on the button-down shirt. His brother was nearby just in case, but he was able to manage. Before sliding the shirt on, he buttoned the cuffs, enabling him to maneuver his hands through when putting on the shirt. After the checkered shirt was over his shoulders, a tool appeared from his overnight bag. The nifty device slid through each button hole, hooked the button on the opposite side of the shirt, and pulled the button back through it’s intended slot. He made his way down the shirt, fastening each button, until the shirt was fully closed. The most difficult process of getting ready was behind him.
As he continued getting ready, the phone vibrated again, this time it sat on the desk. It was another text from her, asking about apparel for her date. The question gave him momentary pause. He was not sure she had brought a date, hoping she would show up alone. But, the text now verified that which he hoped would turn out false. His heart slightly sunk, but the question was politely answered. Back to preparing for the wedding he went, with a more complete picture. While he finished up, the mind began wrapping its head around the idea of her date. He had only met him once before, in passing. Tonight, he would attempt steering clear of the couple. Wishing that plan would lead to a fun evening. He carefully relayed the steps to his fingers, helping remind them how to tie his shoes. Normally a task done with little thought, but the way cerebral palsy effected his fine motor skills, small physical actions could require extra concentration. The process often took some more time, he completed it successfully, stood, and walked out of the hotel room with his brother.
Walking out into the parking lot revealed a bright summer day. A little warm for the sport coat he would wear, but his buddy was getting married. Putting in some effort felt important for the celebration. He hung the coat inside the rear door of his dark SUV, thanked his brother for stopping on his way through, and got into the car. Pulling out of the hotel, his next stop would be the train station in downtown Portland. Traffic slightly snarled nearing the largest city in Oregon. It was a midsummer Saturday afternoon and people were out enjoying the warmth. His car stopped alongside the train terminal, where his buddy was waiting. With his tall, slender build, they lovingly called him Skinny. Nicely dressed in a dark suit and light colored tie, Skinny tossed his overnight bag into the back of the SUV, and climbed in the front seat. The two friends wound through the streets of Portland. Both had spent time in the city, but it had been a few years. So, Skinny revealed his phone to handle the navigation. Carefully picking their way around heavy traffic, they found the highway on ramp, and where headed for the wedding.
The two friends had known each other for years. Many of the guests of this wedding would be high school friends. However, Skinny became part of the group of buddies just after high school was completed. He was a couple years their junior, but over time had become one of the guys. It had been some time since the two had seen each other. The conversation picked up effortlessly with some surprising news. Skinny was attending his second wedding of the week. With curiosity inside his emotions, he inquired about the first wedding. It turned out, Skinny had married his girlfriend that Monday. They had gone to the courthouse without informing many of their friends. The shock almost took the car off the road, but he steadied his grip, keeping himself and his newlywed passenger safe. That news would dominate the conversation during the twenty-minute drive out east of The Rose City. Skinny explaining the ceremony kind of happened on a whim. They had been talking about getting married for a couple months. The opportunity presented itself on Monday afternoon, they gathered a couple witnesses, and took advantage. He thought the spontaneity fit his longtime friend, as he congratulated Skinny and wished him happiness.
They drove into the driveway of what could best be described as a compound about an hour before the ceremony. The place was amazing, with a hotel and brewery. There was also an assortment of restaurants and bars scattered throughout the property. He followed the signs, finding a place to park in a gravel lot that felt out of the way. Getting out of the car had him feeling thankful for Skinny’s presence. Through all the ups and downs of their friendship, he always seemed to be around as someone to lean on. It wasn’t long ago that he experienced a rough time in his life. Maybe one of his darkest times. During that period, his friend had always been there to have a conversation. Even if that conversation only involved talking about sports, Skinny would take the time. Now his friend would be there for another emotional event. Not only was their buddy getting married, but his high school sweetheart, and someone special to him would be present. The wedding also had the feel of a small high school reunion. Everyone being brought together for one very special reason, they were celebrating love on this day.