Today’s post is only peripherally connected to actual horses, but I feel compelled both to explain and garner your sympathy for my failure to keep you entertained over the past couple of weeks.

Two days ago, I performed one of the strangest duties I have ever been asked to do – correction: THE strangest duty ever. When my friend Jenn and her fiancé Simon began to plan their wedding, one of the questions facing them was who would actually marry them. I’m not quite sure which of them came up with the idea to ask me, but when I was down in Welly World this January, Jenn popped the question: would I be willing to get ordained as a minister so that I could legally marry them? Of course I said yes.

At first the whole idea seemed like a lark and a laugh. I signed up with the Open Ministry online (no test questions, just my name and address), gave my credit card info (ordination: free; certificate: ten bucks; shipping: $30) and proceeded to think no more of it for the next few weeks. Then, as the day crept nearer, I experienced a series of anxiety dreams that ranged from missing the wedding completely to having nothing to wear for the ceremony. THE WEDDING became something bigger and scarier than my own marriage 20 years ago – which took place in France and in French, which I did not speak at the time.

As I wrestled with my performance demons I did my best not to let the happy couple sense my fear. When D Day finally rolled around, I was surprised to find myself feeling strangely calm and prepared. As I  took my place on the gorgeous croquet court at IPC, in front of a crowd that included a who’s who of the Canadian equestrian community, I was able to finally silence the evil little chipmunk voices that had been screaming in my head. I did not fumble my words, I did not giggle (no thanks to Jenn’s uncle Guy, who tried his best), I didn’t cry.  Bride and groom performed to perfection, and my final duty – to toast them with uplifted champagne flute – was delivered with both joy and relief.

I’ve had a lot of jobs in my life in a wide range of fields – from cleaning kennels at a vet clinic, to teaching kids to up-down, to flogging books as a publisher’s sales rep – but I think it’s safe to say that taking advantage of a loophole in the US legal marriage system in order to marry my friends is the weirdest item I will ever put on my résumé.

And if you don’t believe today’s post, here are a couple of photos as evidence. I’m glad for the photos, too. If I didn’t have them to look at I’d believe this whole crazy week was just a dream.  I promise this is the first and last time I will ever blog about a wedding, but as it’s consumed all my mental and emotional energy for the past week, I can’t think of anything else to share with you today.

The happy groom and me

Awaiting the blushing bride, who arrived fashionably late

The happy couple

In case anyone out there is thinking about asking me to do this again, I’ve officially retired, like the horse that wins its only race.