Thursday, September 2, 2010
Nana and The Bikers for Jesus Go To a Wedding
I just returned home from California where I attended my cousin’s wedding. Held at a lodge in a mountain town with a lake, the folding chairs were set up on a small patch of lawn in front of an arbor decorated with fresh flowers. The sky was blue and a gentle breeze whispered through the pines. We arrived early since our drive was over an hour and we weren’t sure how easily we would find the lodge.
The minister was a long-time friend of the groom. He stood under the arbor in front of a cross of flowers and was my first indication that this wedding would be different from any other that I had attended. The minister’s wife was sitting behind me and in the hour and a half that we sat on the folding chairs (thank God I chose a padded one) waiting for the bride to make an appearance, we had plenty of time to chat. The minister’s wife, dressed in levis, biker boots and a t-shirt, told me that her husband, when first asked to officiate the ceremony, told the groom that he didn’t have anything other than his biker clothes to wear. His congregation is bikers and he has a roadside ministry. He was an intimidating figure in the denim jacket with embroidered insignia, the blue bandana on his head and biker chain accessories.
Wedding guests started to fill the chairs at 3:45, 15 minutes before the scheduled 4:00 wedding. The groom waited at the altar. He stood there for two hours waiting for his bride. I had plenty of time to observe the other wedding guests. It was not my usual peer group. I thought I was being pretty adventurous because I didn’t wear panty hose with my dress. Since it was summer, blazing hot California summer, and we had a long car ride, I let my legs go natural. I wasn’t the only one with bare skin. The bikers for Jesus and their women folk were showing plenty of skin covered with, ummm…art.
My brother has tattoos; they were covered by the long sleeves of his dress shirt. The other wedding guests had a different style sensibility. The theme seemed to be that if you had tattoos then the maximum amount of skin should be showing. My sister-in-law thought that some of the women had been told that they needed to gain weight so that there would be more surface area for their substantial tattoos. Yes, there were lots of interesting wardrobe choices. My family group stood out…like Gulliver in Lilliput.
The minister had a Saturday night service that he needed to officiate. He finally left the alter to encourage the bride to start the wedding. The sun was starting to go down when we finally heard the first notes of the bridal march. After making it safely down the aisle, one of the bridesmaids fell down…either she’d been drinking all day or she fell in a gopher hole, both stories are believable. I carefully avoided the numerous gopher holes myself and based on her behavior at the reception I lean toward the first explanation.
I expected an outlandish ceremony, but it was sweet and loving. The bride and groom read their vows and promised to be true to each other. The “F” word was never uttered (I think they were saving it for the reception.)
Lesson learned: Love can look different, but the important thing is the relationships…well, that and cake. There was a lot of love at that wedding, and the cake was good too!