Sayulita Wedding March 4, 2011
What the Mother of the Bride Saw
In my living room there is a folk painting of a wedding in Mexico, which came true! Check out the photos and plans for the week at sladeandchristina.com. They planned a week of events for more than a hundred men, women and children on vacation from rain and snow in northern climes. Think in red, turquoise, and flip-flops! Sayulita is about 26 miles from Puerta Vallarta, a village of some cobblestone streets, but mostly dirt roads, full of pot holes, coconut and banana trees dropping fruit, and houses with no glass so the air can flow freely. The main road is crossed by a stream that destroys yesterday’s rearrangement of the path every day. A twenty-minute walk puts you in the heart of the plaza, with café seating on the sidewalks, street vendors everywhere hawking their colorful wares, a small church where the hours of service are good guesses. Whatever your worry, don’t worry. It doesn’t matter.
Mexico must be full of artists. Everywhere there is beauty, in colors and shapes, sounds and smells to delight you. Like some artists, there is a lack of rules and discipline, so projects are left unfinished. But it doesn’t matter because the air is gentle. I didn’t hear a harsh word. People were patient in the cafes and streets.
The children leaving the school were met by their parents, or walked home down the center of dusty streets. Dogs wandered freely, including “ours” which thought he owned our house and chased others away. Iguanas hung out obviously in only one tree. The “markets” are the size of a small bedroom at home, packed with goods ceiling to floor, with baskets of fruits and vegetables spilling out the door. Pastries are covered lightly with loose clothes. If you don’t see what you want, you should just ask, as they probably do have it. The streets are the width of three cars, which often requires someone to wait while others pass, and a golf cart is the ideal mode of transportation.
Our house was chief in the compound, three large bedrooms with a bathroom each, a huge living room/kitchen with French doors facing the sea that opened to a large palapa covered patio, and then a grass area stretching down to the sand. Then lapping came the ocean, waves sounding the heartbeat of the earth. No TV, no phones, no radios. Yoga at nine, surf boarding at 11, followed by lunch and shopping in the village, fishing or whale watching trips. Always sunny and 78, good for laying about on the beach anytime..
Every day a woman came and brought pan dulces (sweet breads as in corn, banana, walnut, coconut, fruit and cheese pies) that I laid out and made pots of coffee to wash them down. Everyone came looking for something to eat and start the day. They also asked for bandaides, benedryl, and antiseptics. We had “agua pura” all the time, but a few persons did take sick. All recovered. The golf cart was moored outside our door. Other women came every day to make the beds, do the laundry, and mop the floors. Wasn’t that nice? Ben and I held the fort for the Rivera’s. We were never lonely.
The Cogswells and friends did a lot too. Each night a group of them hosted some event: Sunday fish taco BBQ, Monday Ladies Night (the gents went out too, of course). Tuesday salsa dancing lessons. Wednesday Wedding Welcome BBQ (since most everyone was now present) with a special song and dance in costume honouring Slade and Christina. Thursday the rehearsal dinner included everyone on the beach at the best restaurant around. Friday the wedding starting at 5 and ending sometime after the old people left at midnight. A house full of Vail friends had its counterpart in a house full of high school, Santa Clara U. friends, Colgate Friends, Dragons friends, and assorted relatives, plus those who stayed in other hotels, time shares and on couches wherever they could.
Slade reserved the top of the Hotal Amor for the bridal party (and his honeymoon night), not far from the Palapa where the wedding and reception would be. From there we saw the whales leaping in the bay, in this place known to be the most bio-diverse in the hemisphere. Birds flew in flocks of hundreds, waded in the streams, and called to one another all day. Roosters crowed us awake. The ladies dressed here, and hung out the window to see the men arrive on horses far below, including Christina’s father! While the rest of the bridal party went up to the Palapa, Ben and I waited with Christina for the sign to bring her on, in the golf cart, up a dirt road, past the cemetery, up the steep steps.
Michelle Hovey was the minister, whose talk placed this couple in the crosshairs of rising tides of intentional global living in our world. I read the traditional description of love, Paul to the Corinthians, Chap. 13, and a part of Ps. 139, blessing them forever into the arms of the Universe. John read a Native American blessing. The bride and groom walked out to the trumpet sounds of a Mariachi Band. Dinner was served, including cupcakes made by Slade’s aunts for desert. Slade and Christina presented a slide show of their story. A team of girls danced the Firefly Dance for our entertainment, the Churro Makers served them up on the lawn, and the fireworks went off at 10:30. Ben and I, John and Patti Cogswell spoke, and then the dancing began! The salsa lessons paid off. The “mature” adults left about midnight, after the band and the DJ had gone, but IPOD music had taken over, so the dancing went on.
Saturday morning came early, and everyone departed before noon, to other places to stay or back to cold weather and shovelling. Our planes ran a little bit late, but it didn’t matter. We didn’t worry. A two-hour layover at LAX barely gave us time to catch our connecting flight, although we walked as fast as we could through Customs, Immigration, bag checks, and terminals. And now we are really tired, and it doesn’t matter, because we had a wonderful week in Mexico, and the pleasure of seeing our last child married into a good family. The Cogswell’s captured Christina, but we get Slade!
My camera ran out of battery power and memory just before the ceremony, but there were many other photographers to take those photos. The clothes I fretted over while packing were all just fine. I was pleased that my Spanish came back. I feel like I have some new friends and family, plus a tan. I want to learn to make huevos rancheros. And I am truly happy for and proud of Christina, whom everyone thinks is “amazing”, including me, her mother.
Mary Jean Rivera
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