My niece is getting married this afternoon, outdoors in her brother’s back yard. I have traveled the three hours to my brother’s city where all this is taking place, to represent my family at the occasion. It’s been years since I’ve been at a family wedding and I’m aware that my status has changed. Instead of being involved in the necessary prep, I am an elder watching the busy-ness of the younger generation. I hadn’t thought of this as being the case before, and it’s kind of a nice surprise.
Even as I sit down to write in a quiet room, the mother of the bride comes in to take a few deep breaths and we talk for an hour, then the father of the bride also joins us and we talk. The bride comes in and needs to sit for a few minutes even though she has nothing to say. In the managing of a thousand details, people still have the need to step back and evaluate, to hear their thoughts articulated and validated. I get to listen and hear my family.
In the kitchen the groom’s cousin, a chef, is making sauces and marinades for the food. There has been much cooking, baking and tasting going on the past couple of days. It is a hands on wedding with the food being prepared by friends and family. It is also inclusive of a different culinary culture, the Hispanic Miami vibe being present in the background music, the exotic smells, the names of dishes being prepared.
Yesterday afternoon the decibel level went high in the kitchen and dining room as the friends of the bride gathered to do table decorations. Laughter, loud discussions, and the occasional episode of dog barking sent me looking for a place apart where I could observe and listen without being overwhelmed. Problems with the candles were solved, people were dispatched to pick up needed items. Everyone had a job or was given one.
When I did venture out I was assigned to watch the frosting on the stove top, which, according to the recipe was supposed to get thick and fluff. Counters were laden with food items and dishes. The sister of the bride was making the cake and stirring up generous amounts of butter, eggs, and flour. Nuts, pineapple, cherries, brown sugar – all this and more adding to the smells to be smelled and the flavors to be tasted. It seemed like each new person who appeared at the door had more food in hand. Throw in a small fire as parchment paper in the toaster oven burst into flames and you have an exciting kitchen.
I finally saw the place where I was comfortable making a difference – the sink full of dirty dishes. I know how to wash dishes. I am a part of this wild, family adventure. It is good.