There are some things I never imagined I would do, but necessity trumps protocol or sometimes even hygiene. The tale begins with an invitation to officiate at my first wedding in Central Park. Having been an ordained interfaith minister since 1999, the idea delighted me and felt a bit like a milestone event; maybe like singing at Carnegie Hall or kissing the Blarney Stone. The bride and groom are a lovely couple who I have known a short time; her best friend is a friend of mine. Since the ceremony was to be held outdoors with no Plan B, I put in my order for nice weather. Mother Nature gladly complied as the day dawned warm and sunny with a light breeze.
I had driven up to Hoboken, NJ which is across the Hudson River, to stay with my sister in-law. The first of many miracles occurred as I pulled up to her condo on a busy street on which an ‘Uncle Jimmy parking spot’ awaited me. My mother’s brother Jim always found the perfect spot and he bestowed that mojo on me and I gladly share it. The space was directly in front of Lisa’s place. Once I arrived, I took a short time to relax before making the trek into the city. As I headed out, I created a new rule for myself. Never wear new shoes whilst doing a whole lot of walking, without breaking them in first. By the time I traversed the 8-10 blocks to the bus stop for the first leg of the trip, my toes were screaming wildly (if silently).
Arriving about 10 minutes before the bus, I noticed a woman standing there with a lotus tattoo on her forearm. Recognizing a kindred spirit, I asked her about its significance for her. She informed me that she was a Bikram Hot Yoga instructor. Turns out that she teaches at a studio where my sister in-law takes yoga classes, although they had not yet crossed paths. We sat together on the way in and she regaled me with stories about her acting auditions. She was called back to read again for the part of a preacher’s wife and the week prior, the role of a prostitute. We had such a blast, analyzing her characters. The laughter and being seated provided temporary respite for my tooties.
When we arrived at Port Authority, she directed me which way to go to catch the subway. That’s when good sense went out the window in favor of a little bit of reprieve. I whipped off the navy blue-that-when I bought them-I-thought-were-black sandals and proceeded to walk barefoot through the streets of Manhattan. People gazed at this little black dress garbed woman, toting a white robe and her shoes. Some smiled, some shook their heads in disbelief. Good thing the temperatures were in the 70’s and not sizzlingly summer-esque. Got on the subway and rode into Harlem where Karyn and Claude reside. That’s when the fun really began. Walking another 1/4 mile or so, as I passed by two women, they commented, “Your feet must REALLY hurt to be doing what you’re doing.” A man, sitting perched on his front steps, offered to massage them for me. I politely declined. When I arrived at the apartment, I asked to wash up, since I didn’t want to spread street dirt all over the place. My feet sighed in relief as the soap and cool water splashed over them. Blessedly, we took a limo to the park and then the process began again, as I marched up the hill to the actual wedding site called Belvedere Castle which translates to “beautiful view” or “panoramic view” from Italian. And panoramic it was…a feast for the visual senses, but that also gives you an idea of the trajectory.
The ceremony flowed beautifully, shoes on for the duration, and I almost forgot the pain in the midst of the love that swirled about. The groom and his family are from France, and Claude’s father read a lovely poem that he had written to honor the occasion. Although I don’t understand much French, I know the sound of love when I hear it.
Ushered in to Fields of Gold, serenaded by two of their friends, accompanied by accoustic guitar, when the ceremony ended, they were showered with the reminder “How Sweet It Is” , to which we all danced as they bopped back down the aisle. An audience of passersby, as well as a young eagle, witnessed the ceremony.
Next miracle occurred as we walked back down to the street and my friend Melanie (she who introduced me to the wedding couple) commented that she thought it could take awhile to get a cab at that hour. I responded that the next one would be ours. With that, a yellow chariot rounded the corner and stopped in front of us and she and Kelly, Ward and I piled in. “That’s because you’re magic,” she smiled. We pulled up to the dock where the boat on which the reception was to be held, was waiting for us. A little nervous since my tendency had been toward motion sickness, I walked up the ramp and found a place to sit near the railing and drank seltzer to prevent any….well, you know.
Music, dancing, talking, eating decadently delicious food, kept me occupied and distracted. The good news is, everything stayed down. At one point in the evening, a touching revelation occurred. I was leaning over the railing feelin’ a bit like Barbra Streisand in Funny Girl; except no one was raining on my parade. In the evening twilight, the Statue of Liberty was beaming brightly and a thought occurred to me. My Russian immigrant grandparents, Rebecca and Jacob had landed at Ellis Island in their youth, not knowing what awaited them. This was likely the first sight they saw when approaching New York. Their trip across the ocean was not first class, of that I’m certain and here was their grand-daughter (who he never met, since he died before I was born) enjoying the luxury of this boat trip around the harbor. I felt a wave of gratitude wash over me.
When the boat returned to its moorings at 10:30 pm and I said my goodbyes, I decided to take a cab back to NJ, almost no matter what it cost. I had no clue at what time and in what condition I would arrive at Lisa’s otherwise. I stood on the corner for 10 minutes and this time, my ‘cab calling magic’ didn’t work. I discovered why that was, a few moments later. Earlier in the day, I cast a wish out into the Universe. “Wouldn’t it be nice,” I mused, “if some wonderful guest drove me door to door?” Behind me came a voice which asked where I was headed. When I responded “NJ,” he said “We’re going there. Hop in. We’ll take you there.” And so they did and in less than an hour, I was safely back, relishing yet another shower and happy feet.
On this particular day, both my soles and my soul were satisfied.
About Edie Weinstein:
Rev. Edie Weinstein, MSW, LSW is a Renaissance Woman and Bliss Mistress who delights in inviting people to live rich, full, juicy lives. Edie is an internationally recognized, sought after, colorfully creative journalist, interviewer and author, a dynamic and inspiring speaker, licensed social worker, interfaith minister, offering uniquely designed spiritual rituals. In addition, she is a PR Goddess, promoting events and transformational teachers, healers, writers and artists. She speaks on the subjects of wellness, spirituality, sexuality, creativity, time management, recovery, body image, mindfulness, self esteem, stress management, re-creating yourself, caring for the caregiver, loss and grief. She is a frequent guest on radio and TV. Edie is currently writing her first best selling book entitled The Bliss Mistress Guide To Transforming the Ordinary Into The Extraordinary and is offering a workshop for women who want to re-create their lives, based on those concepts. A 20 year old journalistic vision came to pass in July of 2008 when she interviewed His Holiness The Dalai Lama. It was a potent reminder to never, ever, ever give up on our dreams. Over the years, Edie has written for mainstream and transformational publications. She has interviewed hundred of notables in the transformational fields, including Wayne Dyer, Marianne Williamson, Debbie Ford, Leonard Peltier, Shirley MacLaine, Michael Beckwith, Jonathan Goldman, Gregg Braden, Neale Donald Walsch, Mary Manin Morrissey, Dan Millman, Alan Cohen, Ram Dass, Jack Canfield, Jean Shinoda Bolen, Patch Adams, Ben and Jerry, Donna DeLory, James Twyman, Elizabeth Lesser, Michael Franti and Jean Houston. Her website is http://www.liveinjoy.org