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Reverend Beagle Man

podium

Charlotte and Robert flanking me, “The Rev”

“We interrupt this blog about dogs to bring you some breaking news:  The House Formerly Known as Camp Herman has been torn down . .”

That’s how I started my mid-June post (“Glory Days“) about the demolition of the house my family lived in for over 30 years — from

group 3

“Group 3” — 20+ years, and still going strong!

1987 through 2018.  The bulk of that blog entry consisted of favorite memories from three generations of boys: Matt’s friends (Group 1), Greg’s friends (Group 2), and Robby’s friends (Group 3).  Group 3 took up the lion’s share of the space — not only because they were the most recent habitués of Camp Herman, but also because all of them, knowing each other since elementary school, are still close friends!

And on Saturday, the first one of that super-tight band of brothers, Westport kids from the Staples Class of

minister

Minister and his inner circle (Robby, Brianne, Carol)

2011…   got married!  And yours truly, fully accredited and ordained by the Universal Life Church, was the minister!

Mr and Mrs

Robert and Charlotte as Mr. and Mrs.

The scene of the wedding was storybook: the spectacular gardens of the bride’s next door neighbors, right here in WePo.  The stars of the evening were stunning:  Charlotte, whom I first met as the most adorable girl in my son’s first-grade class!… and Robert, one of my main guys on the countless youth baseball and basketball teams I coached, as well as one of the best Staples football players I’ve ever seen.  They’ve been two of my favorite kids forever.

And on this night they were bride and groom.

At some point during the evening, the two of them confessed that when they’d asked me to be the officiant last Christmas, they were nervous I’d say no.  Are you kidding??!!  This was a huge

souvenirs

Souvenirs of an evening well spent . . . and the start of a new career??

honor for me, and there’s no way I would have turned them down.  And as I looked, from my minister’s podium, at this special couple,

Scout

Had I cropped the topmost photo slightly differently, you would have been able to see Scout (here), Charlotte and Robert’s dog, who walked down the aisle and was a member of the wedding.

and my son as groomsman, and the modest number of socially distanced guests (the majority of invitees celebrated via Zoom) on their white lawn chairs, I saw the same faces I used to see at “Camp Herman” for years and years and years.  The feeling for me was warm and wonderful.  And slightly surreal.  The truth is, I felt more like “Coach” than “Minister.”

As Carol and I extended our congratulations to the perfect couple and their beaming families before leaving the party, one big question hung in the air . . .

WHO’S NEXT???   During the dining and dancing and drinking festivities that followed the ceremony, a charter Group 3 member said to me, wouldn’t it be cool if I officiated at his wedding as well?  I’m guessing it was the party adrenaline and the alcohol speaking, but it did lead to some speculation: Who in this squad of 27- and 28-year-olds would grab the baton and be the next to wed?  If you think you know the answer, please share it via the “Comments” section.  (Just click the little dialogue bubble at the top of this post. 🙂 )

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Hank Herman