|A Mexican Wedding|
Pat Strong - PVNN
March 12, 2010
Noticing a bunch of girls dressed in white walking on the beach Pat and Dusty Strong decided to find out what was happening. It turned out to be a Mexican wedding. As the wedding crowd left the beach and they were left smiling at the celebration, a man waved, welcoming them to join in the fiesta.
Here's their story:
"I saw a bunch of girls dressed in white walking on the beach. I think it’s a Quinceañera. After dinner let’s walk on the beach and go see what that music is about, maybe the Quinceañera is there." Little did we know what the rest of our evening entailed. As we neared the fiesta we saw not only young girls in white but also men and moms, niños and niñas and even babes all in white.
Spontaneously the men started dancing in circles around the couple as though we were at a Jewish wedding. One circle left, another right as two groups surrounded the couple in dance. Then, we eyed the bride and groom! They were so young, so happy and so beautiful.
Swiftly many of the younger men rushed the groom and stripped him to his undershorts and threw him up and caught him, again up and a catch, again up and upon catching him carried him up the stairs and off the beach to everyone’s delight and smiles.
The wedding crowd followed up the stairs from the beach and as we were left smiling at the celebration we saw a man waving to us, it wasn’t just a wave of acknowledgement to us, it was a wave of welcome. Come, come he waved. We looked around to see who he was inviting. There was no one else, it was us. We went to speak with the man to find out it was his daughter who had just married and he wanted us to come on the terrace and have some tequila to celebrate.
What an invitation this turned out to be. As the only Gringos at this Mexican wedding party, we were welcomed and encouraged. Though at first we tried to sit on the perimeter and simply watch the joy, he would not allow this. Soon we were introduced to the mother of the bride, the 15-year-old sister and the late teen, early 20-year-old brother. All were so welcoming in the midst of this special day as we felt a tinge of guilt that they were spending this time with us.
Next the lovely bride was introduced to us. She is 22 and in a lovely short white dress with simple, elegant style. Now the groom has returned soaking wet but with pants back on and bare-chested bearing a cream colored suit-style jacket. The DJ music grew louder and we watched the festivities. We convinced the mom and dad to go enjoy the party and we would be just fine sitting on the outskirts and watching the fiesta.
As we drank our Jose Cuervo Tradicional, mixed with Squirt for Pat and straight on the ice for Dusty, we smiled from ear to ear at what we were so fortunate to witness. Papa returned after about five minutes and invited Dusty to have more. Though he said "no," the papa would not hear of it and brought Dusty across the patio and into the fiesta. There he re-filled and met a friend of the bride’s family.
Upon returning to me he was followed by the friend who had as a teen moved to California, traveled to 27 states including Alaska and worked and lived in the U.S. until age 68 when he returned to Guadalajara after being told he would die, due to a heart attack, in a short time. No - once back with his family and where his heart was in Mexico, he has done amazingly well and has been back for now 3 years. It was excellent medicine for his heart to return to the place he loves.
Not long after our glasses are refilled we are brought in to the main festivities and invited to dance. We danced and danced at the boda (wedding) and when circles would form they would have the Americanos take a turn in the center, they would cheer and always would smile. We stood out not only because we were Gringos, but Dusty wore his blue Zambrano Cub’s shirt and Pat a light blue top and both of us in shorts as opposed to the white or cream colored theme of the event.
When attempting the Mexican hat dance style, Pat would pull at the sides of her shorts to imitate a skirt or dress, the men placed their hands behind their backs. We danced with little girls and boys, we danced with pre-teens, and yes, with the 75-year-old uncle. They danced with us, they taught us their special dances, and most of all, they included us as part of their big family on this very special day.
Smiles were everywhere and then, while dancing, young men would come around with their botellas de Jose Cuervo or Azul and we would have to lean our heads back as they poured tequila into our mouths, into the other's mouths, a young lad would follow and offer a shot of Squirt.
We shared the traditional wedding cake of delicious flan with vanilla specks. We were given a special cross as a gift as well as a wedding towel that had the names of our special newlyweds, Paz y Giovanni. We saw the rice thrown and heard the wedding toasts to the couple. One of our new friends translated when we could not understand. Then they even wanted a toast en Ingles de los Americanos. Pat gave a toast in English and then again in Spanish. "Thank you for including us in your special day and we wish for you a safe, good life for all forever and good luck."
Again, the dancing resumed and we were told it would go on until the sun rises. Dusty was told if they got kicked out of this hotel, they had a back-up plan of where to take the party to continue. The groom was from Bucerias, the bride from Guadalajara and family was everywhere.
Two cousins in their late 20’s or early 30’s spoke to us and they had lived in Atlanta, Georgia for 8 and 10 years and loved it in the states. The young lad continued to come around with tequila pours. Look, under the table is a young child of about 3 or 4 sleeping, look, there is a couple dancing closely sandwiching the baby in the middle of them with love, look, those adorable little girls, Isbeth, age 12 and in school Secundaria and Andrea, age 9, smiling at us again.
Andrea wanted to know what nationality Pat was and she told them she was adopted and because she didn’t know her nationality that she was a person of the world which includes all, she smiled at the answer. They tried to practice their English with us and asked our name; Patricia was easy, but "Doosty" a bit harder. Again, smiles were everywhere.
There is an area by the terrace with sand as well as the swimming pool and the young kids play in both. It is late but all generations sleep, eat, dance, drink as they choose and there is a seamlessness to this all inclusive celebration. They teach the lesson to be in the moment, to go with the flow of life. They aren’t rushing home to get babies to bed, they just sleep where they are with the music banging away but surrounded by family and close friends. It is perfect!
Papa gave us his business card. His name, we finally learn, is Juan and he owns a very successful car repair business in Guadalajara. We borrow a pen to get the email address, which his son writes on the back of the card. He says to us that we are now family. We are honored.
We learn that most of the people attending tonight own their own businesses, but those who don’t and work for someone will have to drive back to Guadalajara tonight in order to work tomorrow, Sunday. We are glad we won’t be on the roads after watching the tequila consumption and pray that they safely return. The Atlanta cousin asks us if we will walk home on the beach and when Pat says, "no, we will walk along the road," he says that is best. He wants to make sure we get home safely.
Dusty is finally encouraged that it is time for us to leave though he has settled in and would love to stay longer. We have been celebrating for almost 4 hours with the familia and their guests. As we say our thank you’s for something that the words cannot possibly reflect, we hug, wish well and then walk back to our place.
Our minds are spinning, not just from the tequila, but mostly from the unique experience we can’t wrap our heads around. We had no camera and chose not to go get one as we wanted to be part of the celebration, not looking and observing from the outside in. We only wish we could have some photos of the special occasion but they will have to be in our heads. We discussed that if at our children’s weddings someone is standing on the outside looking in that we must invite them to join our celebration.
After preparing for bed, which was harder for Dusty than Pat as his mouth opened more frequently during the fiesta, we heard explosions. Yes, the next event was fireworks at the wedding. We listened, then drifted off to sleep listening to the crash of the fireworks blend with the crash of the waves from the ocean. Life is good. Viva Mexico!