Sunday, July 3, 2011

Wedding Day

As I awoke this morning I sensed a tension unique to Alaska. Alaska, particularly remote Alaska, is populated by independent individualized people. This uniqueness sometimes goes beyond logic and far enough from the normal range that it becomes a challenge to accept or understand. While these individuals will claim that keeping up with the neighbors is not important, it almost seems like there's a type of "keeping down" with the neighbors. No one wants to be known for their big house or neat yard and advanced education is not a virtue. Of course, because of the unique nature of Alaskans, the above statement certainly does not apply to everyone, or even a majority.

The wedding day started with wet grass and a heavy cloud cover. Arriving a couple hours before the ceremony we again helped with some details like setting up the electronic slideshow at the guest book and carrying the cakes from the house to the tent. At the time of the wedding the rain held its breath and so the microphone and handful of chairs were moved to the bottom of the ridge making a grand amphitheater and a great view of the brief ceremony. The couple arrived together in the back of a '56 red and white classic Chevy from the far end of the open field. The bride and groom each read prepared statements avowing their love and exchanging rings. The minister who said very little announced them as lifetime tentmates and the chatter began after the kiss.

For the next couple hours some hundred or more old acquaintances and strangers shared stories, ate and drank. Around the time the sun would set by most people's standards, a bonfire was started, the older generation went home and the canoe filled with beer kegs was pulled down the hill to the fire. The rain showed its moist head and gently showered the ongoing party.

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