I was in the backseat of my friends’ Subaru, holding a parsnip.
My friends are both timberframe building instructors and have a beautiful home that they built together with a huge permaculture garden that provides most of their food. While her husband drove, my friend turned around and made a lewd remark about the parsnip which I won’t repeat here because I literally froze in my tracks.
I had arrived on Thursday for a Sunday wedding because instead of receiving a printed invitation, the groom had invited me verbally after camping out in the back yard of the tiny washing house where I lived in Hawaii at the time. He was working at the Four Seasons Resort, restoring what is called a “Living Machine”, an ecosystem of water plants designed to clean wastewater from the hotel so that it could be used for a fish pond. Then he visited me and very politely ate a modest meal and slept in the backyard, like a real gentleman.
Flip back to me riding in the Subaru with my two hosts (thankfully, I had a great place to stay!) and she asked me why I had arrived so early for the party. When I explained it to her, she said, “XY. XY. It’s his chromosomes. Guy doesn’t even remember his own wedding day”.
Fortunately, the bride’s family being Italian, she and her parents were delighted to see me and have some fabulous wine and antipasti together at one of those places where they use wine casks as tables. It was a reunion filled with delight and heartfelt celebration. We had all been aghast when, a year earlier, the couple had almost split up at a point where the bride was facing a life threatening health crisis. Her life had turned around after a visit to the Amazon where she took ayahuasca with an Ecuadorian curandero. Our greetings were heightened with a sense of relief and happiness that she was not only alive, but the relationship had turned around and they were deeply in love like never before.
On the day of the wedding, me and my permaculturists piled into the Subie in our fancy clothes and drove to the venue. It was a beautiful house with a magnificent view of gentle meadows outside, where the ceremony was set. Of course there was an arbor with flowers on it! What else?
The vows were beautiful and they invoked several cultures during their ceremony. The bride read a poem. The musician played Neil Young on the piano.
Beautiful Italian food was arranged gracefully under the branches of a white oak tree. Everybody got that kind of perfectly tipsy where we stayed on this side of wasted. Her local friends played music under the big white tent and we danced. I did get tears in my eyes knowing how close she came to disappearing from this life, only to experience something as beautiful as this.