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A Wedding to Remember

"Right before I headed down the exit ramp, Mr. and Mrs. New Couple walked out the door"

"My daughter recently met a woman who, in the course of their conversation, told her about the very wet and rainy evening some 40 years ago, when she and her husband got married, and the bandleader was me,” relates veteran guitarist, keyboard player, and bandleader DAVID NULMAN, today a music teacher and music therapist. “When my daughter asked me if I recalled that night, I certainly did.”

The wedding took place in Long Beach, at a beautiful oceanside catering hall, and Nulman arrived early to bring in all the sound equipment and musical paraphernalia, an arduous process that involved several trips from his car into the hall, up in the elevator and finally to the bandstand. He managed to haul in the last of his equipment just before heavy rains began to fall.

“Outside,” he says, “the downpour continued, while inside the guests were having a great time, unaware that the rains were overwhelming the parking lots’ storm drains and flooding where many of them had left their cars. Finally, the sheva brachos were said, the guests wished the new bride and groom and their families mazel tov, and began leaving. The waiters and busboys cleared the tables, the caterer began dimming the lights, and I began the long and tedious task of wrapping up microphones and audio cables, breaking down keyboards, bulky speakers and stands, and packing all the musical equipment onto carts to be transported to the elevators, down one flight, and out of the hall and into my car.

“By the time just a few people were left inside, I was able to leave. The rains had stopped but there was standing water covering much of the parking lot. I felt lucky that my car was parked in an easily approachable dry area, but I noticed a lone car parked smack in the middle of a deep, water-filled section, its wheels almost halfway submerged in what looked like a small lake.

“Right before I headed down the exit ramp, Mr. and Mrs. New Couple walked out the door. (This happened in simpler times, before a chauffeured limousine was ordered to transport the bride and groom after the wedding. The chassan and kallah actually drove home in their own car.) As the groom was looking to locate his car, I heard him let out a long moan. The lone vehicle that was practically sinking in the deepest water in the entire parking lot was, in fact, his car. It took me a minute to assess the situation, but I went over to the groom and told him to give me his car keys. After a bit of arguing and demurring he finally acquiesced. I rolled up the cuffs of my tuxedo pants, took off my socks and waded out to retrieve and deliver the chariot to the waiting new bride and groom.

“My ride home that evening was a wet and squishy event… the bottom of my tuxedo was soaked, my shoes were waterlogged, and every time I had to step on the brake, a small stream of water squished out on the carpet. But all the way home I reminded myself that ‘chassan domeh l’melech.’ How could the king leave his own wedding and go home in such a wet state?”

(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 837)

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