Fall 2000: I was back at the BYU after a summer study abroad in Japan, and Jeremy was gearing up to go to the Jerusalem Center on an Arabic study abroad the following semester. Sandwiched somewhere in the middle of those two events, we were dating.
I hadn't yet met Jeremy's parents, but I had met his two brothers, both of whom were living in the Provo area. Actually, I think I had really only met his younger brother at any length. Jeremy and I used to go to Divine Comedy shows with Scott and his friends back when DC performed in the Tanner Building (not the JSB Auditorium). DC's fan base was still relatively exclusive - I think the Garrens were just barely on their way out of the scene, and Divine Comedy's popularity exploded from 2001 on.
BYU comedy troupe politics aside, in the fall of 2000, an event came about that would allow me to meet Jeremy's parents for the first time. As a bonus, the drive to that activity would be shared with Jeremy's older brother Dave, who I really hadn't met at all. The event was a wedding, held in a town a few hours down the freeway.
I resisted the urge to brush up on my knowledge of current events, major world religions, and the periodic table in preparation for meeting Dave, who had a reputation for being brilliant. I think we ended up spending most of the car ride talking about politics. Anything insightful I may have said (to any member of Jeremy's family, not just Dave) was probably negated by the fact that my overwhelming personal attribute at that time seemed to be that I was young. I've spent much of the last several years trying to convince certain Palmers that I have, in fact, aged past the age of 19.
Jeremy must have been pretty confident in his Idaho roots to have taken me along to this wedding. It was a true cowboy affair, with bales of hay around the (outdoor) altar and large belt buckles featuring on both the bride and groom's clothes. I met Jeremy's parents and younger sister and everything was just dandy.
Then came the garter toss. The wedding wasn't a very large one to begin with, and when the call came for all the young single men to gather for the garter toss, only three people were eligible to step forward.
One was gay. One was recently divorced. And the other was Jeremy.
Everyone tried to be good-natured about it, even though I think you'd usually hope for more than three people to be standing there for the garter toss. Sparse numbers was no reason not to go through with this wedding tradition, however, so the groom got into position and the three young men obligingly, though very unwillingly, followed.
I can still see it happening as if in slow motion. The groom threw the garter into the air. It made a graceful, gentle arc before falling unceremoniously onto the ground in front of the three young men. Not one of them made a move to retrieve it.
For a few moments, it just lay there in the dirt, the three guys standing motionless above it. They all knew what needed to be done - namely, that Jeremy needed to "take one for the team," as it were - but they seemed paralyzed with indecision.
Finally, one of the guys physically shoved Jeremy toward the garter, and he sheepishly picked it up. Everyone cheered. The obligatory ritual was over and we could all laugh like it hadn't been so painfully awkward.
And maybe it really hadn't been, for everyone else at least. All they saw were three guys who maybe didn't fight over the garter as much as is often expected at wedding celebrations. It was awkward for me because I was dating one of those guys. It was awkward for the others for obvious reasons.
I guess it's a good thing Jeremy and I did end up getting married after all. Though I suppose this story would have been even funnier if we hadn't.