Mrs. Zwicker and I have found ourselves in that wedding invitation no-man's land. You know what I'm talking about. Most of our friends are married, so we rarely attend weddings or Sheva Brachot for friends. When we get an invitation, it is often because we are on the parents' list rather than that or the bride or groom.
The other night, we went to such a Sheva Brachot. I would guess that the bride and groom are only a few years younger than us. The groom's parents, with whom we are friendly from shul, had invited us. We got there a little late to find most of the tables full and very few of our contemporaries there. We saw two empty seats next to our friends, Gil and Rebecca. We made a beeline to them since the few other tables at which our friends were sitting were full and the only other table was in the far corner with four people, three women and a man, all looking to be in their sixties, and not seeming to know anyone else. Alas, the seats next to Gil and Rebecca were already taken, so we headed to the corner thinking that we wouldn't be there very long.
Being friendly, we got to talking to our table-mates. The three women were the groom's mother's co-workers. The man was one of the women's husband. Frankly, he looked like the stereotypical high school shop teacher. After a few minutes of small talk, we learned that he was a career Navy Seal, now retired. During part of his employment, he was on President Richard Nixon's security detail.
We could have sat there all night talking with him, listening to his (non-classified) stories, like his first trip to Israel. He was serving in Vietnam in June of 1967 when he got an assignment to protect a Saudi oil sheik in East Jerusalem just as the Six Day War was about to start. His best line of the evening was regarding being caught in an Arab assault and having to defend himself. "We weren't invited to the party, but once we were there, we were going to dance." Of course, the line loses something when not hearing him say it in his Louisiana drawl. The man is now indeed a high school teacher, of ROTC. His stories about that were not nearly as dramatic but were equally uplifting and intriguing. It goes to show you never can tell.