Nature photography, political rants, and Martyman laughs from the ten-time award-winning author of "Cool Creatures, Hot Planet," "Endangered Edens," and the "Time Is Irreverent" series.

My romantic comedy wedding

Marty’s photo of the day #3529: The following excerpt from my newly published sixth book, Hits, Heathens, and Hippos: Stories from an Agent, Activist, and Adventurer, takes place in northern Minnesota:

Our ceremony could have been right out of a romantic comedy. On the lakeshore, in front of the cabin, is a round washing-machine-sized rock that our family has kept painted white for as long as I can remember. It was the ideal spot to set up the service. Pastor Whoopee could stand atop the rock, facing away from the lake, while the rest of us faced the water.

We all took our positions, but Whoopee decided he would be more stable standing just in front of the rock. That was fine, except the place he chose to stand was in the middle of a large anthill.

My best man, Mark Alan, had me by twenty-three years. His sense of humor, however, hadn’t grown up since high school. He thought blowing his nose at trumpet-level decibels in public places was hilarious—especially if that public place was a fancy restaurant. With that in mind, two weeks before our wedding, Mark showed Deb and me a special handkerchief he bought just for the occasion. As the days grew closer, he’d pull out that handkerchief and wave it around—all while sporting a big smile. He wouldn’t really do it, would he?

Sure he would.

I still have a cassette tape of our wedding, and it sounds something like this:

Pastor Whoopee: “Thank you all for coming here today as we celebrate—”

Mark (blows his nose): “Bbbwaaaaaaaaa! Bbbwaa! Bbwa!”

Deb and me (looking at the ground and biting our tongues): Audible laughter.

Pastor Whoopee: “This is a solemn occasion!”

Wedding photographer (falls into lake): Splash!

Deb and me: More laughter.

As I type this and think back to that day, I have the urge to call Pastor Whoopee (now in his nineties) and let him know that despite what he might have thought thirty-six years ago, Deb’s and my marriage has turned out to be a happy one. And while there are many words I could use to describe our marriage, solemn is not one of them. One of my ongoing goals in life is to make Deb laugh at least once a day.

After Tom Riopelle closed the ceremony with “All About Love,” Mark’s final duty as best man was to sign as a witness on our wedding certificate. He pulled out a pen he brought just for the occasion and signed in the smallest script he could write. Then we all headed to Lakeview Castle for the reception dinner and concert.

What happened after that was just your basic rock concert/wedding dance, featuring Don’t Ask and Gold Mountain/A&M recording artists Fairchild. Other than lots of dancing and lots of attention from the bands, the details of that night remain a blur.

I do believe, however, it was awesome.

***For more from Hits, Heathens, and Hippos, order the book here:

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