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Phespirit goes to the U.S.A.
Hackettstown     November 1999

..... and so to the wedding of Nola Bernard and Jim Bragg, this happy day Saturday 27th November 1999, at the Church of the Assumption, High Street, Hackettstown, NJ., USA. Appropriately suited and booted in black tuxedo, white bow-tie and patent leather shoes (all rented), Phespirit was well set for his minor role as groomsman.

The bride-to-be had seen to it that all wedding participants were drilled to military precision, thus ensuring her big day would proceed without a hitch. Even the brilliant November sun obeyed its orders and scorched all the previous night's rainclouds into oblivion. The groom, for his part, avoided total collapse through nervous tension and thereby more than exceeded the expectations of his watching peers. A big success.

Wedding photographs, after-service refreshments and the big reception all followed in due course. Jon Gale, fulfilling his Best Man duties, delivered a well-rehersed speech encapsulating some of the finest known 'Jim' anecdotes; drunken punting, broken teeth, dead sheep, police arbitration, missing shoes and ladies' toilets were all name-checked.

As soon as the Braggs had been given an emotional send off for their honeymoon in Hawaii, the army of British guests traded the last of their Monopoly money for a crate of 1998 Rosemount Chardonnay and retreated to the nearby Wyndham Garden Hotel bar to conclude celebrations. It was in this place that Phespirit remained dreamily cocooned with his friends until departing for Newark airport the following evening.

Come the end of Phespirit's two day residence, New Jersey remained almost entirely unexplored.

Perhaps there were a few scattered treasures which Phespirit missed during his time there; well, yes, perhaps, but there can be none he'll miss more than the one he left behind: Jim Bragg. It's another of those happy-sad things, really.

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