Tales From St. Joe, Part II

I’m pretty fascinated by spam comments. I got this one again today, one that I started getting semi-regularly a couple weeks ago:

I have to say, I don’t know if it’s the clashing colours or the bad grammar, but this blog is hideous! I mean, I don’t want to sound like a know-it-all or anything, but could you have possibly put a little bit more effort into this subject. Its really interesting, but you don’t represent it well at all, man.

For a spam comment, it’s intriguingly well-written and devoid of typos. I like how he/she uses the word hideous to describe both the physical attributes of the blog, like colo(u)r, and the bad grammar at the same time. As if the combination of bad grammar and clashing colors was making this person physically ill. Maybe I should work on my grammar and representing “it” better, man.

ANYWAY, Jessica’s Great Aunt Kay – Terri’s father’s sister – was able to make it to the wedding, coming from another corner of Missouri with her charming husband Emilio at her side:

I had a few wonderful conversations with Kay, and while speaking with her I realized that I have such rare opportunities to speak with elderly folks. My grandparents and great aunts and uncles have long since passed away, and I spend my days surrounded by children; I miss the types of conversation that can only be had with people who have lived long lives and have experienced life in a completely different time. Jessica and I have also come to the sad realization that there were be very few elderly people at our wedding, as her grandparents have all passed away as well – we hope Kay and Emilio will be able to come, and another great aunt of hers may be able to come as well. But for the most part, it will be a pretty youthful wedding, a fact that I can’t but feel a little bit sad about.

Kay greeting Jessica's aunt Naning, an expert cake-decorator about whom I'll be making a delicious post very soon

Kay provided perhaps my favorite line of the entire weekend, which was one she spoke to Jessica, while reminiscing about her years spent as a student at UC Berkeley:

“My fondest memories of loneliness and companionship are from my days at Cal.”

It’s not common to hear someone speak of loneliness in a positive way, but Kay has had over 60 years to reflect upon her college experience and realize that loneliness, for her, held a deep importance, something I connected with as well. She and I mostly spoke about our experiences in Latin America – hers dwarfing mine, of course – where she did Catholic work for many years, learned to speak fluent Spanish and Portuguese, and met her Chilean husband Emilio. She offered perspective on my trip to Guatemala a few years ago, the first and only time I’ve ever spent significant time traveling alone. I learned a lot about myself and about my ability to be alone, my ability to spend time in a strange place, about the importance of companionship and the ways in which I’m able to cope with extended periods confusion and emotional discomfort. Her Spanish is flawless, and during the rehearsal dinner – between bites of pulled pork – we weaved in and out of Spanish and English, discussing our experiences, and sharing our lessons.

Emilio was one of the more charming people I met at the wedding, a short and bubbly man who was a consistent joy to be around. I shall use a pictorial example to illustrate my point – a few of us went to the Mitchell Park Plaza, where the reception was, the day before the wedding to help with setup. When we got out of the car, Jessica started dancing, something she does a lot:

I asked Emilio, who was standing right next to her, if he wouldn’t mind dancing as well. Without giving it another thought, he launched right into it – you can see in his look that he’s still figuring out just how excited he is about the whole thing:

Then, for posterity, I had them both dance at the same time, and this is where they both found their groove:

He was a delight the entire time, and so was Kay. One of the reasons weddings are so great is the opportunity to meet people that are new, but that are connected and always will be. Many of the people I met will soon be part of my extended family; as Sam’s sister’s fiancé, which was my main identity at the wedding, I was greeted with love and kindness.

I’ll end with perhaps my favorite photo from the wedding, during the time that Emily and Jessica and Terri and some of the bridesmaids were preparing the flowers, and Emilio was resting nearby:

I'm not sure what he's reflecting upon, but it's probably not about flowers.


4 responses to “Tales From St. Joe, Part II

  1. I really love this post! So excited to keep reading about the wedding and all the awesome people that were there. You are such a great writer Bret, and I love the dancing pics of Jessica and Emilio!

  2. A) traveling alone is one of the best decisions i ever made in my life.

    B) spam, really?! i hope one day my blog is cool enough to get spam (kidding…?)

  3. This post reminds me of a cookout we went to on Monday. (I think I mentioned this in a previous comment re: Magic Two) Josh met Jack, a 61 y.o. veteran, sniper, gun nut and caretaker for his 89 y.o. mother. It was like, every time this man opened his mouth he spewed something awesome. Josh was dude crushing and last night all he could talk about was how awesome it was that Jack went to the ’96 Olympics with the Canadian equestrian team because they needed an excellent horse shoer. Crazy stuff.

    One day we’ll be the elderly folk and I hope I have even half of the wisdom, joy and charisma as Emilio, Kay and Jack.

  4. Mary C. Jorgensen

    Dare I write this? Your dad and I are legally senior citizens now, so perhaps we’ll straddle the line between parents and elderly folk, if not this year, then in two years when your dad turns… yikes! 70 and I turn 69… The wisdom part might be a bit challenging. At any rate, we look very much forward to meeting Kay and Emilio at your wedding next year, as well as more of Jessica’s family and friends between now and July 28, 2011.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s