I'm a fan of weddings; Mr Dearling is fond of saying we both really appreciate them; after all, between us we've had five of 'em. (Arf arf, it is to larf.) The adventure with Willie wasn't your typical failed marriage, of course - and had the Fates rearranged their strands I expect we'd be together yet. But they did rearrange the strands. Hmm...entrelac, perhaps? No - clearly Fair Isle. Oh bosh.
My second marriage was a hippie experience, and I did learn from it. And had that not occurred I wouldn't have my Youngest, my #2 Son, my Descendant of Vikings, and he's reward beyond any unpleasantness.
And regarding Mr Dearling? Well, I'm a believer in Karma, and all's I can say is, I must have plucked the toddler Jesus out of the path of a Roman chariot and returned Him to His mother absolutely unharmed - and my reward is that Mr Dearling happened along in the perfect place at the perfect time. (I know how she must've felt; we Jewish Mothers are all alike.)
SO! Two weddings. Both were, as described, the joining of two loving souls, in exceptional surroundings, amidst groups of very diverse people who shared but one thing in common: a sincere love for the youngsters and an appreciation of the privilege of being called upon to act as witness.
The first was in Montana, surrounded by the beauty of the mountains. This was taken between our hotel and the site of the ceremony. (OK, so there were sheep there too; enhanced the whole scene for me.) It was in the afternoon, in a little area next to a small restaurant. There was a stage area and a barbecue area....chairs had been set up and behind them tables were set beneath canopies. Following the ceremony a dinner was served from the barbecue, and one of the choices was a grilled salmon. It was heavenly. Heavenly.
The bride is the daughter of dear friends. She's a college graduate and has been happily employed working in the parks doing things like clearing and improving the paths, maintaining the trails, &c. Her parents and "our side" tend toward the academic and Madisonian - and her sister is a professor in Nebraska. The groom is her fellow worker and his people come from Missouri, as I gather it. I'm not sure what their daily lives are like, as Mr Dearling and I had never before seen any of them at all. In fact, we had only met the young husband on one other occasion.
NOTE: we'd been invited to an alleged engagement party to meet him - which was actually a surprise 40th Wedding Anniversary party for our friends, engineered by their daughters.
As I took my seat, I realized that the two groups of people would likely never have crossed paths, conversed or met -- but the Darling Children of each family had met and fallen love, thus drawing together this gathering of diverse people.
As you can see, the dress was casual and the company congenial. A friend of the couple played beautiful music, and the officiant was also their friend - there had been a question about whether he would be able to perform the ceremony, as he was awaiting a call to go join his fellow firefighters at a site in the mountains.
The youngsters had sent out a request by email, in advance: following a lovely tradition, they had selected seven people to write a prayer for their wedding, to be read aloud during the ceremony.
WE had been honored with the privilege of writing a prayer. I've had a variety of honors through my life, but I have to say, I was deeply moved by the request.
As the wedding began, the prayers were read. The first was from the bride's grandmother, Charlotte. Charlotte is a fantastic and beautiful "New York Jew" - she lived all her life in the city but now, in her 90s (you'd never believe it to see her) she lives in Madison. She wasn't able to travel to the wedding, but recorded her message, and it was loving and strong and thoughtful. I love Charlotte - we see her when we celebrate Chanukah and Passover with her family. Hearing her voice was NEXT-BEST to having her there. The other prayers were delivered by members of his family and her family (her sister's was particularly endearing) - and last, Mr Dearling read our prayer. It was a joint effort - I wrote it, he read it (in his superb storyteller's voice).
They are now married, and live in Livingston among the mountains, working in the beauty of the mountains. At this moment one could feel the affection and delight flowing toward them from every person there. Many of their dear and close friends and colleagues who live there make up their circle, and will provide the security and network on behalf of all who love them.
The weather was lovely - it was a bit overcast but warm, and there were a bunch of dogs dancing and chasing around the crowd, adding to the general air of festivity.
The meal was delicious and the company terrific! We enjoyed with a lot of the lad's family and enjoyed watching the little children running and playing, and listening to the extraordinary music - and admiring the newlyweds.
We've learned something in our own 23 years of a blissful, companionable and close marriage: couples who are married , truly joined, lean together to speak, and touch one another from time to time - just a pat on the arm or a brushing of hands. We've observed this in many couples we know to be "well-married" (and had the same between us pointed out by friends). And we saw these youngsters doing the same. This is not the hand-holding and hugging and embracing of courting couples or NEW newlyweds; these are the tender connections...almost unconscious...of the truly-married.
The next morning there was a lovely breakfast at the hotel we stayed at, and we got another opportunity to share in the fine company of all of these people and the young couple one more time before we all - and they - resumed the gentle flow of their daily lives with all of its components.
For our part -- our adventure continued with a few days of car repair (enjoyed in Livingston), my first-ever visit to Yellowstone (including knitting at Old Faithful and a very close viewing of a handsome young grizzly...details will follow) and then our journey back through Dakota (including a visit to Wall Drug; oh come ON, you can't drive through South Dakota and not get your free drink of cold water at Wall Drug!!). That's a story for another time, as it deserves a few lines.
Here are a few more pictures of the lovely, friendly and totally wonderful mountain wedding; I will then describe the SECOND wedding in ITS separate post, in order to do it equal justice:
The son dances with his mother....
A wonderful time was had by all - and a new household is born. And they are creative, clever, good-humored stewards of the lands around them, for the benefit of us all.