Thursday, July 1, 2010

Only Fools Rush In

As incoming President of the Kiwanis Club of Cleveland, I recently had the distinct pleasure of serving as a delegate at the Kiwanis International Conference. After holding the conference in previous years in places like Toronto, Tokyo, and now next year in Geneva, Switzerland, this year I learn, they hold it in Las Vegas (they must have known I was coming). As we walked through the convention center during the conference, a woman walked up to us and said, “Do you want to get married . . . by Elvis?”

Now, since I began writing this column, I have been asked some strange questions, but this one was definitely unique. Anywhere else, this question would have seemed out of place, but considering the fact we were in Las Vegas, it seemed just about right. So of course, my wife and l almost immediately and simultaneously said, “Yes!” It was actually quite a coincidence she asked, because when we were engaged, we often joked about slipping off to Las Vegas and getting married by Elvis. Now we were faced with the real life opportunity.

Following our positive response, the woman quickly warned us, “Now this is for real, it will be official, Elvis is an ordained minister.” We took pause. A few thoughts ran through my head. First, I thought wouldn’t it be funny if the real Elvis really was an ordained minister and had done weddings when he was performing in Vegas? Second, I figured it would be legal to get married since I had already been married for over six years (assuming I was marrying the same woman, which after a quick inspection, I was). Lastly, I wondered if my wife would actually agree to marry me again, considering she has spent six years getting to know me (for all of you who were wondering, she did).

Despite the warning, we agreed to go ahead with the ceremony. We introduced ourselves to Elvis (he was slightly shorter than I had imagined) and he quickly reminded us again that he was an ordained minister and that this was a real ceremony. I wondered for a moment why they were so persistent on making this point clear and then I had a picture of some unsuspecting couple out on their first date, thinking this would be cute, going through a “mock” wedding ceremony, only to find out after the fact that they had actually been married by an ordained minister impersonating Elvis (it might make a great reality TV show). After the reminder that I was indeed going through an official marriage ceremony with my wife, he informed us that he had left his guitar in the trunk of his car. This was almost a deal breaker. What kind of self-respecting Elvis would leave his guitar in the trunk of his car when he planned on doing wedding ceremonies? I bet the real Elvis would have never allowed that to happen. Nonetheless, I had become overwhelmed with wedding fever and agreed to go through with the ceremony, despite the absence of the guitar.

We jumped into the ceremony and with a number of Kiwanians observing, my wife agreed to, “Love Me Tender” and never leave me at “Heartbreak Hotel”. I, in turn, agreed to not be a “Hound Dog” and be her, “Big Hunk O’Love,” while having a “Burning Love” for her for all of my days.

Just like that, we went from attending a International Kiwanis Conference to being on our second honeymoon, Viva Las Vegas! I guess after six years of marriage, renewing our vows made the old Elvis ballad, “I Can’t Help Falling In Love with You” true once again.

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