This time around one of the "safe" topics that came up was Girl Scouts, and how Erin and one of the other bridesmaids and I had been Brownies together way back in the day. It's funny the things that stick with you. While I couldn't tell you about a single badge I earned, one of the things I do remember is singing the "friends song" in a round as we sat in a circle on the floor. "Make new friends, but keep the old; one is silver and the other gold." Erin is my oldest friend. We met when Erin moved to town and joined my 2nd grade class. On a class field trip that involved walking on the Prairie Path, my mom (who was along as a chaperone) made me go talk to the new girl (which is no reflection on Erin and simply due to the fact that I was horribly shy as a child), and as they say, the rest is history.
Unlike any of the other weddings in which I have played a role, this wedding was an international affair, drawing family and friends from Ireland, England, Canada, and Korea, in addition to various U.S. locales. The result was a fascinating collection of people and accents, so in addition to being lots of fun, it was also an educational experience. From Mark I learned about schooling in England; from Trevor I received the clearest explanation to date of the whole point of curling as a sport (he's from Canada); from Fergus I learned that Irish gatherings must always involve singing (even if it gets hotel security called on you repeatedly); from Pat I learned how to say "delicious" in Korean, though I've since forgotten; and from the attention I received I learned that in some gatherings being a 6ft redhead can make one feel a bit like a novel curiosity. I was shocked to learn that the majority of Pete's friends had never been to a wedding before, and humbled by how much those from other countries know about the U.S. and what's going on in the world and how little we know about anything beyond our own borders. As I replied to Brian, Pete's brother and my groomsman counterpart, when he found me sitting off to the side with wide eyes and a slight grin, "Oh, I'm just taking it all in."