Blessed Are The Weirdos

“Oh, do you want me
How I am?
Do you need me
Oh, where I stand?
Let’s go steady
Let’s make a plan
Marinade on that for a little while

Stone / Brown ( Marinade by Dope Lemon )

My Soulmate and I have attended many fantastic weddings over the years. Some have been intimate, some grand, some have been feasts, some Spartan, some have been orchestral, some Showaddywaddy, some have been reflective, some in Macroom. All of them have been wonderful in their own way, but last Friday we attended one which may have been perfect.

I honestly don’t know how long I’ve known Ryan. My Granda , Frank Sally, worked at one point with Ryan’s Granda , Frank a Balla , known to all as Wee Frank. Dad worked with Ryan’s Dad and two uncles, Joe and Martin. And somehow, we have all ended up working together for the last 20 years.

Working with Ryan’s Dad , Vincent, I’d heard of Ryan many times before he started working with us. I learnt of his development, second hand, at regular Elevenses debriefs, “Took Ryan to see that f@ckin’ Barney at the weekend” was then replaced by “Took Ryan up to Belfast to see that f@ckin WWE” before evolving eventually into “Ryan and I went to Anfield at the weekend”. And then one day he was working with us. I’m still not entirely sure what he actually does, but he smiles a lot, gets on with everyone, and seems happy.

I honestly don’t know how long I’ve known that Ryan was going out with Edel, he just always seems to have been. The only person that smiles more often than Ryan is Edel.

There was no great surprise when they announced that they were getting married, except that I do remember pausing for a moment thinking “Aren’t they already married ?”.

Ryan is almost as passionate about music as I am. So much so that he has a band, Sun.Set.Ships. and before that spun discs at parties under the sobriquet DJ Fonzo. All his friends call him Fonzo, and I try to sometimes, but in my head he’s still the Ryan of Barney and WWE fame.

They have a dog called Lucky, who, as you’d expect, is lovely and smiles a lot.

Ryan and Edel are wonderfully creative. Last year my SoulMate and I attended Electric Picnic and our friend Benny , who , somehow, curates two mad areas in it, Brutoplolis, and Survivor, had organised, haphazardly, and at the very last minute, somewhere for us to park our camper. I was directed to look for a shop on the main street of Stradbally, ask for Sylvester, and he would let me park behind the shop. I battled through the traffic, argued with Gardai and eventually went into the shop where a distinguished looking gentleman eyed me suspiciously when I asked if I could speak to ‘Sylvester’. As soon as I said I was Paul,  a friend of Benny’s , he shot out his hand and shook mine heartily.

“Great fella , Benny, great fella. Any friend of Benny’s is a friend of mine. Do you know him long ?”

“Oh, indeed I do. I think I must have been bad in a former life and I’m paying for it now.”

“No , Paul, you don’t understand.” Sylvester was still holding my hand, and now put his other hand on top, and said sincerely “He’s a creative. They’re very different, the creatives. They work on a whole different level. You see ?”

I knew I wasn’t getting my hand back unless I said yes, so “Yes.” I said. Sylvester smiled , walked me through the shop, and the deli at the back , introducing me to everyone as “Benny’s friend”, and everyone smiling enthusiastically.

That’s Ryan and Edel, they are creatives, and everyone smiles at you when you say you’re their friend. Although I’d like to point out that they’re organisational abilities are much more measured than Benny’s ‘racoon on meth’ style.

Last Friday we drove to Mullingar, checked into our hotel, got changed, My Soulmate into a stunning dress, and I put on my Monster’s Inc Adidas Stan Smith’s, and then we were collected by the bus that they’d organised to take us out to Tyrells Pass where the wedding was taking place. We had a pint in Willie’s bar. Everyone in the bar was from Monaghan and we sat at a table and said ‘Hello’ to a man we knew. We were chatting away to him when his wife joined us from the bar with her friend and drinks.

“The job I had this morning getting his tie straight” she was saying to her friend and casting her eyes at her husband.

“I didn’t want to wear a tie.” He answered meekly.

“You can’t make a show of yourself, and me, by going to a wedding not wearing a tie.” She looked across the table at us. “Oh hello Eileen, and …..” She looked at my unbuttoned shirt and tee shirt attire. She looked at her husband. He was beaming from ear to ear. She thumped him on the arm. We all laughed.

 Then someone shook a bell at us to tell us to make our way to the tin chapel at the bottom of the garden. The chapel was festooned with gorgeous flowers that Edel had arranged herself, and a lady was singing ‘Kiss Me’ by Sixpence None The Richer, which contained the lyric :

“You wear those shoes and I will wear that dress…”

So I thought Ryan had picked it for us.

Edel made a stunning entrance preceded by two delightful flower girls, and you could just feel everyone’s good humour, everyone’s hope for them, and everyone’s joy at being there.

It was a humanist ceremony which , oddly, was more meaningful and spiritual than a lot of traditional church weddings. They had picked their own readings of passages or verses that resonated with them. The music, the celebrant, the crowd, Lucky behaving himself, all went well, and then the last reading was given by one of the flower girls.

It was this passage from Winnie The Pooh :

Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. “Pooh?” he whispered. “Yes, Piglet?”

“Nothing,” said Piglet, taking Pooh’s hand. “I just wanted to be sure of you.”

“We’ll be Friends Forever, won’t we, Pooh?” asked Piglet.

“Even longer,” Pooh answered. “If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together… there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart… I’ll always be with you.”

The wee flowergirl read it perfectly, and wasn’t put off by the occasional soft gasp, or the gentle honk from the guy in the back in the magnificent shoes, who wasn’t crying, well he was, but he was surrounded by lots of flowers…

The newly married Mr & Mrs Fonzo left the chapel to rapturous applause, quickly followed by Lucky who didn’t want to miss anything and was pulling a bedraggled Vincent behind him.

We had a short walk back to the garden to the first barn which was now a lounge bar with wood burning stoves and comfy armchairs. We got a seat with our great friend Gerry, and his better half, Roisin, ordered drinks and spent the next two hours chatting to everyone that passed by. Eileen got great compliments for her dress, and I got one or two for my shoes. Ryan’s Dad , Vincent spent a wee while with us.

“They have €1 scratchcards on the table for everyone. So that’s 150 cards, chances are someone’s going to win big.”

“Cool !” Gerry and I answered.

“And I bet you it’s Benny Fucking Magennis!”

We laughed, but we knew that it was probably true.

Ryan and Edel didn’t have a bridal party, and Ryan was to be the only person giving a speech, which he decided to do in the bar before we headed in for the reception and dinner. I think we all have a nervous dread at wedding speeches, hoping that they go well, that they aren’t awful, and that , please God , they are very concise.

As Ryan spoke, there were bellylaughs, cheers, sighs of “Aaaaah”, the odd wee sniff of a tear, and no one wanted it to finish. He held us all in rapt attention.

He paid compliments to his family and Edel’s, interspersed with wonderful anecdotes, this is a flavour :

“A few years ago, the morning after Gary & Blathnaids wedding I was chatting to Gary at breakfast and I asked him, “ Is it true what they say, you know, your wedding day, it really is the best day of your life ? And Gary thought for a moment, smiled and said … well after the 2005 champions league final  in Istanbul obviously

And now here I am, and I have to agree, it really is….. to come back from 3-0 down against that Milan team ….”

He told tales of their first dates, their wonderful journey together so far, Edel’s butter skincare regime, and wishes for their adventure ahead.

The cheers and applause were deafening at the end.

We then went in and took our seats. My Soulmate were at the best table with the best company, Gerry and Roisin, the aforementioned uncle Joe, his very patient wife Mary, their son Christopher and the irrepressible Janette, and her lovely partner David. We had great craic the whole day.

The couple arrived to their table, dancing to Talking Heads ‘Once In A Lifetime’.

The food was spectacular.

Christopher was seated beside, he had fishcakes for the starter and asked me what my chicken vol-au-vents were like. “Best ever !” I replied. “I’ve had chicken vol-au-vents at most weddings, and they seem to simply wave a chicken over them, but these were crammed with chicken.”

“Is that right , Paul ?” Gerry piped up.

“Yes.” I answered innocently.

“We had chicken vol-au-vents at our wedding.”

“Oh….and they were the second best vol-au-vents I ‘ve ever had.”

It was a spectacular day, spent with the best people.

Ryan had ended his speech with a quote from Dr.Seuss, which was simply perfect :

“We are all a little weird, and life’s a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness together, and call it love.”

Toodles fellow Weirdos,


P.S. This is a live version of Turin Brake’s ‘Fishing For A Dream’ which always makes me think of my Soulmate and which I dedicate to Ryan and Edel, and all lovely weirdos.

Author: paul

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