‘Til Death Do Us Part

I expected a small adobe brick building in a field somewhere. They were getting married in a Mission and for some reason that conjured rural images in my mind.

We parked on a city street, at a meter, and walked through a bustling crowd. “Where are we going?” I repeatedly asked. They pointed. “Right there. The white building.” Said building was sandwiched between others, not even a hint of a lawn surrounding it. As we neared, I heard amplified noises. The others, while not surprised about he location, were surprised by the sounds growing louder and louder as we approached the church.

Strains of loud Christian rock assaulted our ears as we rounded the corner. I turned to Em. “Diane doesn’t seem like the type to hire a band to greet guests.”

As we rounded the corner, the music grew louder and we were astonished to witness a festival, a “Freedom Fair” taking place in the courtyard and on the front steps of the church. The drummer hammered a steady beat with his eyes closed, head turned towards the sky. Several musicians, men and women, strummed electric guitars. A singer belted out words praising her Lord. People gathered around, singing, clapping, observing, praying.

The only thought running through my head was, Are we going to be able to hear the ceremony? We entered the Mission yet the sound didn’t diminish. I had a flashback to my brother’s wedding, almost 20 years ago, in the small town of North Wilkesboro, North Carolina. The church happened to be adjacent to a race car track. The wedding happened to be on the day of a major race.


It was one of those moments during my life when I knew that it was completely inappropriate to laugh, yet I couldn’t ignore the irony of the situation. Being sixteen probably didn’t help either.

Thankfully, on Saturday, the band took a break moments before the wedding began. Solemnness was restored as Pachelbel’s Canon in D rang through the church. Two beaming mothers were escorted to their seats, followed by the bride, elegantly radiant as she sashayed down the aisle.

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