Sunday, May 11, 2014

Painting Tacoma, Chapter Twenty-Nine: Wedding Day

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It was a marvel of multiculture. The bride was half German, half Mexican. The groom was Jewish. The ceremony was a fusion of rituals, some Catholic, some Jewish, some entirely original. At the end, their friends came up one at a time to read a blessing and tie a scarf to a growing train until they had formed a circle around the couple.
            They stood on the front lawn of a bed-and-breakfast overlooking the inlet between Port Orchard and Bremerton. The sun had faked out the weathermen all day, eluding clouds like a running back slipping tackles. When the rabbi pronounced them husband and wife, two green-and-white state ferries crossed in the water behind them. Their friends turned the ring of scarves into an improvised circle dance.
            For the bridal dance, the maid of honor sang “Fly Me to the Moon,” then gave way to the Kosher Red Hots, a keyboard-clarinet-vocal trio who spun out Jewish folk music and American swing. The singer could scat just like Ella (although it would be nice, thought Shawn, if she had an off-switch).
            A teacher led them through a few folk dances, then they dove into a trifold buffet: (enchiladas, taco salad), Mediterranean (dolmas, pitas with hummus) and Northwestern (smoked salmon, Bavarian potato salad). Afterward, Shawn dragged his full stomach back to the lawn, where he joined the mob of young men lofting the bride and groom upon chairs.
            This and three glasses of champagne had Shawn pretty worn out, so he and Angie spent the rest of the reception on the gazebo steps, blowing bubbles at the remaining dancers.
            “Call me sappy,” said Angie. “But that was the most perfect wedding I’ve ever seen.”
            Shawn blew into his wand and sent a squadron of bubbles after the bride’s parents.
            “I’ll bet it’s because they’re older,” Angie continued. “They’ve had more of a chance to cultivate a personal style - and they don’t have to give in to their parents’ ideas.”
            “You know what I hate?” said Shawn. “Those weddings where all the guys wear the same tuxedo, like they’re all on a fuckin’ football team.”
            “Let’s talk about the three absolutely useless bridesmaid dresses in my closet.”
            “The idea being to make everybody but the bride look hideous,” said Shawn. He passed the bubble-gear to Angie. “If I had a wedding, it would be kinda like this one.”
            “Uh-oh,” said Angie. “Do I hear questions popping in the air?”
            “Why is it popping the question? You can ask a question, pose a question, raise a question. But when you pop a question, it’s always the same question.”
            “Who are you – Jerry Seinfeld?”
            “The Jewish wedding is rubbing off.”
            “By the way, I hope she didn’t mind you escorting me. I really do appreciate it.”
            “She was fine,” said Shawn. “She knows you and I are friends. Why do you think that is, Angie? I’ve always thought you were attractive.”
            “And I, you. But you were always in love with Tacoma.”
            “Wow. That obvious?”
            Shawn swallowed the last of his champagne and gazed over the rooftop, where gray clouds gathered behind the chimney. It always comes back to Tacoma.
            He felt a drop of rain on his forehead. Angie giggled. He turned to find her holding an empty wand.
            “Sorry,” she said. “I think I spat on you.”

Photo by MJV

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