Recess. To cess again. Creator of the Peanut Butter Cup. Magic words to children and congressmen alike.
It’s a kind of interesting word:
1530s, “act of receding,” from L. recessus “a going back, retreat,” from recessum, pp. of recedere “to recede.” Meaning “hidden or remote part” first recorded 1610s; that of “period of stopping from usual work” is from 1620s, probably from parliamentary notion of “recessing” into private chambers.
It also happens to be the word that Jessica and I decided to use with Wynette to indicate that she’s free to go. On walks with her, for instance, she has to sit and hear us say “recess!” before she can go explore and sniff a patch of grass. Similarly, when we arrive home from a walk, she has to sit while we take off her leash, and then she can’t go off into the house to chew on our socks until we say the magic word. Early on in our training I wanted to use the word break! but Jessica liked recess, and she won somehow. I’m pretty sure that was the first and only time she’s ever won an argument or disagreement of any kind. Yeah.
Anyway, it’s related to the word recession, possibly related to cesspool (through a linguistic process called aphesis), and is most certainly related to recessional. Look at that, we got to my point! Welcome to my point. I hope you enjoy your stay.
On Sunday, I spent the day at my good pal John’s place, recording music for the recessional at my wedding.
It certainly comes in handy having a great friend who (1) is extremely generous, (2) has a magical basement filled with wonder, delight, and unicorn puppies (and a giant movie screen and recording studio), (3) wants to help with music for my wedding, and I should also mention (4) is extremely generous. I know that (4) was a repeat, but look, he shared one of these bad boys with me:
That right there is a barrel-aged version of what is already perhaps my favorite beer, Old Stock Ale, from North Coast Brewery in Fort Bragg (near Mendocino). It’s fairly hard to fin, tastes like a crazy combination of bourbon and beer and moonbeams, and it’s 13% alcohol and just forget about it. If you ever see one of these bottles, grab hold of it and don’t let it go. Don’t let go.
So, we spent the day recording an original tune of mine for the recessional at my wedding. It’s a jaunty, happy little folksy number, with a strummy rhythm guitar played on a steelstring and a fingerpicky lead guitar played on a classical, with occasional little banjo accents. When we were satisfied with those tracks, John laid down a nice little baseline whilst I manned the controls:
Then we decided to get a little crazy and call up John’s friend John, still known in some circles as Big John because of a time when we were younger when there were more Johns than we knew what to do with, and he came over to lay down a rippin’ solo on the end of the tune:
The thinking was, by the end of the tune, we’d want to inject some energy into the wedding as a means of indicating “Ceremony Over, Reception Beginning,” which we all know is best accomplished with some hott guitar licks.
It was a great time, and it felt especially great to be doing something creative and personal for the ceremony. My original plan of writing pieces for every conceivable moment of the wedding may have been a bit ambitious, but a little of that will still survive, and I’m extremely grateful to have all the help I’m getting for it.
A huge thanks to John (and also John) for always being so generous with his time, talent, and friendship. I owe him a lot.