And We’re Off
“You should come,” my pal said last fall, when she told me her son was going to marry his sweetheart from another country. The wedding would be in the bride’s hometown, she said. Thousands of miles from Virginia Beach. In April. Lots of time to make plans.
I smiled and nodded the way people do when they have absolutely no intention of following through.
“I’ll try” I said. “It sounds like fun.”
But a few days later I found myself at a funeral. Another funeral, actually. One more sad ceremony in what sometimes seems to be a growing tsunami of loss. First it was our grandparents. Then our parents. Now it’s our friends.
As I looked around the church at the somber faces, I thought of the wakes I’d attended in the past few years.
There’s an antidote to grief, I realized. It’s a celebration of life. Weddings, baby showers, baptisms, bar mitzvahs, confirmations, graduations.
As I sat in that church pew, in my black dress, I resolved to accept every happy invitation that arrived in 2019.
Yes, even the ones for Saturday weddings during football season - I have three this fall - although I cannot understand why couples tie the knot when college teams are playing. It’s just a dozen Saturdays out of the year. Couldn’t those be off limits to brides?
Someone tell my nieces that I’m kidding.
On the drive home from the funeral I remembered that invitation to the far away wedding. How I’ve known the groom since he was in middle school when he was learning to play the bagpipes and already fascinated with foreign lands and cultures. How his parents are two of my favorite people.
I went online to check the price of airline tickets and was astonished to find a round trip from Dulles costing less than a trip to California.
I called the airline to see if it was a mistake.
Next I Googled the country and began to read about its exotic culture, its food and customs. Most of all, the nation’s history, tragically wrapped up in our own.
My daughter said I should go. When would I have another chance. Oh, and she wanted to come, too.
“We could work on the website from there!” she enthused. “We’ll bring our laptops. I’ll take my Nikon.”
I thought of funerals. I thought of weddings.
I bought the tickets.
Then I got a typhoid shot and a prescription for malaria pills.
Today, I’m flying to Hanoi.
nhiều hơn ngày mai
That’s “more tomorrow” in Vietnamese.