Saturday, May 3, 2008

Congratulations to Claudia and "Aldrin"

Originally posted Sep 4, 2005

Okay, so, I went to a wedding this morning, and it was beautiful -- the groom's family, "Aldrin" (hoy, JinJin, who is this "Aldrin" guy?) the San Pedro's, are family through Diane, numerous, and every last one of them could be on the cover of Vogue. Claudia and her family are from Brazil -- I know of Brazilians, before I met Claudia, only from my exposure to them when I was visiting a friend in Miami Beach. While walking the boardwalks I observed these golden-skinned kings walking, no, not walking, striding, almost DANCING, they walked so beautifully. I couldn't see the women walking beside the men, because they were so beautiful I was blinded.

My friend informed me that these demigods were visiting from Brazil.

Claudia and her family are Brazilian, did I mention that?

The priest was Fr. Jaffe: young man, good, clear, strong voice. JinJin and Claudia were married in St. Peter's Cathedral in downtown DC -- my mansion in Springfield would buy a bathroom in one of the townhomes that towered over the cozy streets. So the town and the church were not hard on the eyes. As the Fr. Jaffe boomed out the consecration, I thought, "Hmmmm, he seems familiar..." which was immediately confirmed when he stumbled over the name of the bishop: "We pray for our bishop, Paul, *cough*, um, Theodore." Aha! Cardinal Theodore McCarrick is the Archbishop of Washington, D.C.; Bishop Paul Loverde (he came from Connecticut) is our (Arlington Diocese) pastor. I felt right at home, then.

Off to the reception. The wedding was in SouthEast DC, the reception was in NorthWest DC, at Maggiano's in Friendship Heights. Do you know what that means? It means that I could have taken the beltway and travelled to Philadelphia faster than cutting through town ... so I took the "short-cut" through town. Fortunately, it was through embassy row, which also happens to be church/synagogue/mosque row. Very nice drive, but a little confusing for me, because sometimes the churchs looked like embassies, and, since there were so many of both, with their identification in base relief, one could get into an accident trying to read "St. Athuxuah R C Church", crossing oneself and saying "hi!" to Jesus as the car ahead of one stops to make an unsignalled left or right turn. Good thing I was not involved in playing out that scenario to its fender-bendering conclusion.

On the way to the reception, I stopped to get gas and get some yuppie food stamps, and looking around I observed I parked right next to the "Joy of Motion" studio, where Diane, before she had our li'l tykes, would go 2 times a week to dance flamenco with the best of them (Her teacher asked her, in all seriousness, "Are you part gypsy?" ... her teacher speaks some Romani, I'm given to understand). I soaked in the memories of this place: Diane, putting on her castanets and shoes and practicing and then teaching me the first steps.

Then, I passed by the movie theatre where I watched such jems as /32 Short Films about Glenn Gould/: an odd, quirky, film befittingly commemorating the man. It was a place to go to watch a film other than something like, say, /Transporter 2/ or /Star Wars, Episode XXVIILCMWQX/, but, not any more -- now the windows are boarded up and the posters behind the glass displays are faded and in tatters. It seems the world is not very accomodating to the offbeat or the fringe. Which got me to thinking: is there a place for me? A niche? Or, when the world stops to notice me, will it crush me under its heel like this movie theatre I am lamenting? Thinking further, it seems, like a blade of grass, it is the low-lying ones that are ignored, but the blade that stands up is cut back. The world notices stand outs, like Glenn Gould or, in a different category, Jesus, to destroy them, and it seems that the present generation (whichever generation that is) turns away from paths illuminated by their very own bright ones. Dark thoughts for one coming from a sweet, beautiful, wedding and going to a happy reception, on a perfect day ... maybe it's my Noregian Bachelor Farmer coming to the fore.

But then this sadness passes like grey New England clouds (okay, ... bad analogy), little children gleefully cavorting around their parents show the obvious answer to my unanswered question: the hope of this generation is the next one. The sourness of the old fogeys is bulldozed over by the unstoppable happiness of the toddler prancing about ... bulldozed, and then, transformed into joy. Look at a tired grandparent when a child rushed into their arms for a hug: they may have more years than anyone else in the room, but the glow coming from their eyes gives them a youthful energy, shedding off the years of world concern to enter into the delight of this moment.

These families are very child-friendly, too, so, when little Katchia, all of 13 months, nibbled her cheerios or danced about while we pushed about our main courses [I shouldn't have eaten so much of the calamari appetizer, but I couldn't resist -- shame on me because each of the 4 main courses were not to be missed] she had at least 4 aunties at a time, from both sides of the family, cooing over her. I asked Natalie if I could have little Katchia, ya know, to keep, but Natalie seemed unwilling to give up her precious jewel.

The best man was JinJin's brother, "Carlos" who gave a near-tearful toast (Lito, who is the "Carlos" person?) -- Every last San Pedro were so happy to be accepting Claudia into their family, and Lito, I mean, "Carlos", stood up and thanked God for her marrying, um, "Aldrin". Just like all the Auclairs breathed a very big sigh of thanks when Diane said "I do" (they were all holding their breath, because the out-rush of air caused the air-conditioner to kick in unexpectedly -- as a side note, when a "significant other" is brought to an Auclair family gathering, they are usually given the grilling by all 78 present, in the general vein of "Who are you to be invading our clan?" -- in Diane's case, she was taken aside so that she could be warned ... about me ... uh, thanks, everybody).

Then, we found out how the newly married couple met: the Maid of Honour, Carla, Claudia's cousin, shared how she's worked with JinJin for some time before Claudia came to this country, showed him a not-so-good picture of her (now, come off it, HOW is that POSSIBLE?), and that JinJin was NOT impressed (maybe he needs some serious eye surgery, or a fastball to the noggin?), but Carla persisted. She knew, as written in "Sleepless in Seattle", that they were MFEO ("Made For Each Other"). She arranged a double-blind dinner date, and the rest, as they say, is now in Maui.


Just some nice finishes: I sat at a table with Alfa and three of her cousins. I absolutely had to tell everyone the story. Alfa arranged our marriage. She met Diane and me when set was all of 12 years (Alfa, gets mo ba?) visiting from the Philippines at a San Pedro soirée. When she returned home she immediately told her family (you know that everyone is related in the Philippines, right?) about that 'Kano dating Diane.

Now, we weren't engaged yet, and, the kicker, Diane's mother hadn't heard that Diane was seeing anyone. So, needless to say, Diane's aunt (that is, Mama's sister), was waiting for us on the front porch after the party.

Did I mention that everyone's related in the Philippines?

Did I mention that news travels around the world faster than one can drive a car home?

... So that was one group sitting at our table. The other half of the table was Papa, JinJin's best friend, from "Ghana" (JinJin thought Papa was from Ghana; Papa is actually from Gambia), and Amanatu from "Nigera" (Belle, JinJin's cousin, thought she was from Nigera) ... it turns out, on these mistakes, that Papa and Amanatu met and sat at the Gambia table (I offered that this table name was JinJin's apology and correct for that mistake of many years). Papa started talking about the food of Gambia, saying that the stews are unparalleled. So I called him on it: "So, when are you cooking for us, then?" which turned into an invitation after we return from the
Philippines along with the other couple at the table: Geoff (from the Philippines) and Danielle (and /Italian/ Italian). Geoff told me that since my grandmother is Italian, I could obtain dual Italian citizenship. Danielle later corrected this: Italian ancestry must come through the Mother.

... *sigh* So close!

I told Geoff that I use his name (actually a variant, "Geophf") as my on-line call-sign and we hit it right off: it turns out that Danielle is quite the card-player, and Geoff is a rated chess player, so we talked about card games and favorite openings and defences in chess.

... so, it'll be an interesting stew get-together!


While we talked, this being a Nobre-San Pedro wedding, the dance floor was a happening place. Jeff, Ditas' hubby, just threw himself around the dance floor. There was not one woman who didn't get asked to dance along with him. A few were actually strong enough to keep up. One woman, Ate Karin, smirked throught the raw display. It was his statement: "Style? *Pshaw*!"

But, her next partner, Tito Mena, was the graceful display of elegance: every move subtle, controlled, yet absolutely in perfect flow. At the first few steps under his authoritative hand, her eyes lit up with shock that quickly relaxed into pleasure. I could read the flash of her thoughts: "Ah, a man who knows how to dance and who takes the lead. *sigh* How delightful!"


As I left the party to come here to work, I observed I was parked next to rather nice company: a jet-black Rolls Royce convertable graced the spot next to my little mazda. Then, heading out of the parking lot, I passed by the restaurant "Bam Bulé" where Diane and I attended the wedding reception of her boss, Robin from the Council of Governments. Another elegant affair where we were all shared in the happiness of the wedded couple.


So, God bless you Aldrin and Claudia: from what I saw at the wedding ceremony and the following reception, it looks like He is already blessing you with the happiness of your families. May He continue to do so.

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