The day was beautiful; the kind that offers a suggestion of cooler days to come. The location serene. Fields, lush with crops set the background and a ravine hidden among towering trees was to be the stage; literally.
An entryway, complete with open doors, welcomed guests to the seating area among the trees while photos of ancestors were displayed within window frames as though they were watching from another dimension.
It was a wedding day for our cousin. She had traveled around the world, served in the Peace Corps and lived a life of adventure. On this day, this woman who had grown up in Chicago, would start a new chapter and she was doing it by having a Jewish ceremony in Appalachia. Probably the first of its’ kind in the area, a certainty on that plot of land.
Her father and aunt had grown up on this farm, helping with plowing fields, caring for the dairy cow, the horses and the guineas. The had weeded the garden, picked beans, tomatoes, berries and apples and had played and explored that same ravine with my mother and other cousins. Eventually, they had gone off to college and had left to start a different sort of life in the city.
The farm stayed the same in many ways. I remember visiting my great aunt and uncle, Arlene was an amazing cook and baker. She catered to Elmons’ love of sweets with delicacies such as gooseberry pies, lemon cakes or moon pies. In summer, it was not unusual to see the ice cream churn ready for cranking with sweet cream and strawberries or peaches as the adults visited on the large wraparound porch. Uncle Elmon would be talking a mile a minute about every topic under the sun at full volume since he refused to wear his hearing aids.
As I stood in the yard, it felt like a comforting a wave of nostalgia washed over me. The scent of the sweet lilies in the moss edged concrete fishpond, dark and mysterious in the shade of the garden, an elusive memory, almost, but not quite there. I could almost see the old farmhouse, hear the guineas cackling and being greeted by the bird dogs; it was easy to visualize Arlene ringing the huge bell by the garden gate to call Elmon in from the fields. Recollections of days long gone by.
Some people would say, the weather chose to not cooperate that day. The wedding was not in the carefully prepared leafy chapel created by my cousins. It wound up being in a tent. As they stood there in the chuppah built by her father, utilizing a quilt top stitched by Arlene as a canopy, wrapped in her prayer shawl; the inclusion of past and present brought tears to my eyes.
The wedding party was closely surrounded by beloved family and friends as the bride and groom pledged their lives to each other and the rain fell like natures’ own backdrop music. It was beautiful and made me think it was as if family members, who live on only in our hearts were there, showering blessings on this new union. Much the same way, rain from the heavens provide nourishment to seeds buried within the earth, so a new generation of life can spring forth. The rainfall concluded with the ceremony, a rainbow forming in the distance.
No, it may not have been the wedding of their dreams, but it was the most perfect wedding imaginable, complete with gifts from heaven.
Written and submitted by Sarah Roush for The Circleville Herald. The views of this column may not necessarily reflect that of the newspaper.