Saturday, May 30, 2009

Gene’s Wedding

Struck by the warmth and simplicity, my heart opened more as I gazed upon my oldest son and his about-to-be wife. They stood facing each other, she in a long dark red dress with sequins here and there…he in a black tux, white shirt and dark red bowtie and cummerbund.

It was warm in the small Christian church, air-conditioning at a minimum in the unexpectedly humid, eighty-five degree May day. Sweat beaded on Gene’s upper lip and temples, and Elsa leaned over and dabbed his face with a tissue. It was a kind gesture. The pastor, standing up close to them, his bald pate beaming along with his round face, smiled at them both.

I had been greeted at the door by Pastor Pat, hugged fiercely to his barrel chest, and proclaimed ‘Mom!’ I had been previously warned about his hugging proclivities.
Gene used his own tissue and wiped a tear escaping Elsa’s eye as the pastor continued the wedding ceremony.

Breaks for singing accompanied the standard biblical passages about a man and woman leaving the parent’s house and cleaving to each other. Gene’s brother, Lanai, and I were asked to read these passages and we each rose at our prompt, stood at the reader’s podium, and read to the twenty-five people gathered for the noon marriage.
With the exchange of rings and vows, I glanced over at my other son, Nick, and his wife and two young daughters. All eyes were glued on the couple at the altar.

The ‘you may now kiss the bride’ statement elicited sighs from both of the happy couple, with applause following.

One last guitar piece with vocal duet, and the newly married extension of my family became a reality. Elsa and Gene, along with her five children all dressed in white dresses or small black suits, followed them out of the church doors into the early afternoon sunlight. Cameras flashed, congrats given, and smiles warmed each face as they stood in a greeting line.
Elsa hugged me and called me mom.

We headed off for a catered Asian food reception. Conversation flowed from all three large tables as the dishes made their way to each tables’ lazy-susan in the center.
I looked around at my now extended family and was amazed at how large it was becoming.

I was so glad Gene and Elsa had found each other, and were helping the other heal wounds from past relationships, and creating a new family for themselves.
It was a day of new beginnings for many of us there.

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