So far outside the box you can't even see the box from here.
Monday, August 13, 2012
Weddings and diaspora
My lovely wife and I got in late from a wedding. I spent Sunday feeling hung over -which is pretty odd for a wedding reception that didn’t serve alcohol. A high school buddy of mine married into a religion that doesn’t believe in the stuff. To each their own. His only daughter, who’ve I known since she was a baby, was the bride. Some events you just have to show up to.
My high school buddy was from New Hampshire. His wife grew up in California. Their daughter when to college in Idaho. She met her husband there, who’s from Nevada. Family get togethers are going to be problematic. With their family scattered all over the place, I felt it was worth making the effort to attend. For me, it was about a 300 mile round trip. Doable. They were glad my lovely wife and I showed up.
Just to make things interesting, there will be another reception in Nevada a week from now. Those poor kids. They should have eloped.
The wedding brought home to me how people have scattered all over the place. Cheap, reliable transportation changed everything. People don’t have to marry the girl next door anymore.
I married someone from New York state, but we don’t visit anyone there anymore. Almost all my wife’s family left the state. High taxes drove them away. My in-laws are over 2000 miles away. My dad lives almost 1700 miles down the road. At least my kids and grandkids are in New England.
My experience is not unusual. Families are scattered. It’s harder and harder to have real cohesive connections with relatives. Social media doesn’t cut it.
Historically, there was strength in tight knit large family groups. Families would take care of their own. It’s a lot harder to provide support to people living thousands of miles away. It’s not like you can casually drop in for a cup of coffee.
It’s not all bad. A family’s eggs are not all in one basket. If one place is having a bad time (everything from natural disasters to economic problems) odds are there is a relative in a better place who could help you start over.
Yeah, these are the sorts of things I think at weddings. At least I rarely voice that sort of thing out loud at these functions. Instead I say: yes, she looks lovely. Nice decorations. They look good together -and so on. However, in my mind, I wonder what kind of relation my friend will have with his grandkids.
I live in an area of NH known as the Great North Woods. I'm in my dome-i-cile out in the county with my lovely wife and a varying number of family and friends
-part red neck, part hippie but all country. Experimenting and enjoying the adventure of life.