Paul Stookey, “The Wedding Song (There is Love)”
I had some records as a little kid, mostly on the Disneyland and Peter Pan labels, but those records were more like toys than music. The Captain and Tennille’s Song of Joy was the first pop record I ever owned. I remember walking into the living room one evening after dinner and seeing their show on our television console—it was probably the first or second episode—and being absolutely transfixed. Not long after, my dad and I were at Kmart and I asked him to buy me their second album, Song of Joy, which contained “Muskrat Love” and “Shop Around,” songs I had seen them perform on the show. Late on the second side was a version of “The Wedding Song (There is Love),” written by Paul Stookey of Peter, Paul, and Mary, and I thought it was incredibly beautiful. The lyrics were somewhat more dense than most popular songs of the time—I’m sure I didn’t know what a troubadour was—but I knew the song was meant to be performed at a wedding. I had never been to a wedding before. Still, I had a fantasy that someone in my family would get married, that I would be asked to sing this song and everyone would be touched by the beauty of the words and by my voice. And a child shall lead them.
Maybe most children, even straight ones, don’t fantasize about their own weddings. But as early as the age of seven, I think I had some sense that I was going to be on the outside of marriage, that at best I would play an auxiliary part. Years later, the idea of marrying my boyfriend didn’t really cross my mind—why spend a lot of time wishing for something I couldn’t have? Things seemed fine as they were. Even when it became legally possible for people of the same sex to marry in certain states, it didn’t seem quite real. But at some point Caleb and I started talking about it. One night I ran into my friend Rob at the bar at Frankie’s Spuntino, and told him we were thinking about getting married. You should do it, he said; it changes things. It makes things deeper. That convinced me.
And so yesterday we did.