Rose Gets Married

August 30, 2015

Rose got married yesterday in the gazebo of the Rose Garden at Gordon Moore Park. There was an acre of roses of every description and color, including Rose the bride in her fabulous white wedding dress. Lorenzo, the groom wore a blue, open-sleeved, suit coat extended to his knees, a look I hugely admired and wished I owned such a coat.

As with everything in my life, I arrived to Rose and Lorenzo’s wedding an hour early so that I could pace and get one hundred per cent nervous owing to my utter awkwardness as a human being.

This was especially helpful, as the day was overcast with about eighty-five percent humidity. So I was sweating buckets well before the ceremony. My armpits soaked my black dress shirt, and my back grabbed the shirt and tried to drown it.

Then there were the black slacks. I bought them for the occasion without trying them on, as I know I wear a thirty-four length pant, but the slacks were thirty-two, there were no thirty-fours, and I wasn’t about to go to another store, so I reasoned that two inches wasn’t a big deal—which is why my cuffs hung above my shoe tops and made me look like Gomer Pyle.

So: I was the man in black in short pants and squeaky black shoes. All around me were family, friends of the family, some dressed to the nines, a few in blue jeans, all toweling themselves off with handkerchiefs against the humidity.

The minister, a towering man, arrived in his striped, three piece suit. Either he had no sweat glands or he was showering inside that suit.

There was a sand ceremony (blending of lives), an exchange of vows, some live songs and recorded jazz, two cute little flower girls strewing petals on the ground and arguing with each other. It seemed that every guest made a smart phone video, and selfies were the order of the day.

The sound system went on and off; the sand was poured with shaky hands; Lorenzo recited a poem; Rose spoke away from the microphone and she laughed continuously, a booming laugh which is her signature.

Rose is the happiest person I have ever met; she smiles when she sits alone. She and Lorenzo wept during their vows, they laughed; their intimacy was poignant. They are as suited for each other as people can be.

At the reception, a three piece band played: sax, singer, keyboard. A DJ supplied dance music in the band breaks. It was a joyous occasion, punctuated by some beautiful women and lots of gossip and man strutting (oh no, not me) and tweens running around and group dancing and toasts and tears.

Rose stopped at the table where I was sitting and asked the other guests if they had met me: writer, archaeologist, playwright, teacher. I gave her an “oh jeez” look. I turned a sort of rose color, blushing and then blushing some more as Rose threatened to make me dance.

I have to mention that the guests and family members were blended tribes: mostly black, some white, some black-white, church people and heathens (me) . . . and, I thought, this was the way the world is supposed to be.

It was too happy of an occasion for me. I hugged Rose and walked into the night and drove home. White smoke rose up around the house, the aftermath of two huge fires set in the yard that day which burned the remains of a hundred and eighty trees my landlord cut down.

I sat in the dark and sipped cheap red wine and petted the cat and thought about my white trash DNA.

Until dawn.

About Eugene Jones Baldwin

I am a writer: non-fiction, fiction, journalism (Alton Telegraph), essays (The Genehouse Chronicles) and have a website: I've published a couple dozen short stories and had eleven plays produced. Current projects: "Brother of the Stones" (available on Kindle), a book of short stories; "The Faithful Husband of the Rain, short stories"; "A Black Soldier's Letters Home, WWII,;" "There is No Color in Justice," a commentary on racism; "Ratkillers," a new play. I am an avocational archaeologist and I take parts of my collection of several thousand Indian artifacts (personal finds) to schools, nature centers, libraries etc. and talk about the 20,000 year history of The First people in Illinois. (See link to website) I'm also a playwright (eleven plays produced), musician, historian (authority on the Underground Railroad in Illinois, the Tuskegee Airmen) and teacher.
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2 Responses to Rose Gets Married

  1. Em Miller says:

    I do believe the deaths of those trees – especially the one in your yard – was one of (but not quite) the most depressing things you’ve written about, so I’m right sorry you brought up the subject again. Your yard tree entry caught me at a bad moment so managed to make my eyes watery. Senseless destruction gets me every time, especially when it’s completely out of one’s control but can still have an unpleasant effect on their life. Even with the poor, never-did-nuthin-to-nobody trees reminder, though, I have to admit – Shovelhead’s woman & Rose’s wedding have left me smiling. It would be nice to be able to wish Rose every happiness with her husband, and shake Shovelhead’s hand and tell him, “Glad for ya, man!”

    Okay, enough with the sap.
    (but the sentiment’s pure)

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