A Family Wedding

Cue the scene: A large English garden surrounding an original old stone farmhouse in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, southeast of Montreal. In among the broad expanses of lawn separated by mature perennial beds, there is a large white tent set up for dinner, another open space filled with white chairs in neat rows, an aisle up the middle, and a treed area at the front festooned with white drapery and flowers. There is also a wide area of grass dotted with trees and shrubs where, near the house, a buffet has been set up and a huge roast is cooking on a spit over coals, while in front of the tent, a bar has been set up and is doing a brisk business. Central to the array is a round table displaying about ten different single malt scotches, still in their boxes and cases, a not too subtle hint of things to come.

We are here for the wedding of my nephew, along with family and friends numbering about eighty. The women are in a colourful array of dresses, some long, some short, mostly sleeveless on this very warm day for late September. Several have heeded the warning to wear flat shoes on the uneven lawns but many of the young women are in high platform heels and a few even tiptoe in stilettos. The men are mostly in suits, or at least started out that way, their jackets abandoned due to the heat. They are mostly of a piece – large, beefy, fit, broad-chested, almost square – reflecting the groom’s rugby passion. He is bustling about in full Scots attire, a handsome tribute to his clan roots, attending to last minute details. Running among the waiting guests scattered about the garden are four young children, two boys in twin kilts and two girls in matching lace dresses with garlands circling their braided hair.

I am especially charmed by this scene because I have dreamed of a wedding in this beautiful garden for a long time. It is everything I imagined and more. The wedding is the culmination of a quick trip back to my home, or at least one of the places I think of as home. I spent summers in this part of the world from the time I was two and although I rarely visit anymore, it still arouses nostalgic memories of my childhood. My partner and I have toured around all the old haunts over the past couple of days, I have shed a tear or two of joy or grief or both, I have smelled the pungent earth here, heard the birches’ familiar rustling, and here we stand amidst this gathering of loved ones. I am grateful to be home. Now, there is a murmuring in the crowd… the bride has just arrived…

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