Flaws meet faith at a family wedding

A family wedding lets us reconnect with relatives, revisit memories, and reflect on the bond that draws families together.

That’s what I did last weekend, when I attended the wedding of my husband’s cousin’s son. While neither of us knew the groom well and had never met the bride, we were happy to visit with so many relatives gathered in one place.

Goin’ to the Chapel

The wedding itself was a suburban Los Angeles affair. Held at a wedding chapel on a trafficked boulevard, the event was relaxed but efficient, a bit impersonal although personalized. The “chapel” had a front room with wooden folding chairs and stained glass windows. Adjacent to it was the dining room, where guests retired immediately for the reception and dancing with a DJ.

Like any wedding, this one had its “moments.” Face it: planning (and paying for!) a wedding is hard. For example, it’s tough to find a bridesmaid dress that suits the array of figure types most weddings entail. Selecting soloists can also be tricky — there were three long minutes last weekend when I focused on the carpet design and thought about serious things in order to keep from giggling. But that was me. Most likely there was a reason behind choice they made.

Weddings can be particularly dicey occasions nowadays, when multiple sets of parents and blended families are the norm. This event was no different, as the groom’s parents divorced years ago. Both halves of his family, plus the bride’s relatives, spent several hours in the same building, but we barely interacted. Photos and table assignments gave us individual versions of a communal event.

This wedding was a notable day for our family, an unforgettable one for the bride and groom. No matter whether the setting is a wedding chapel in California, a cathedral in London, a courthouse in San Francisco or

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Reflections on a ring

AT&T Park, at the edge of  San Francisco Bay, floated with celebrations last weekend.  The San Francisco Giants’ 2011 home opener on Friday saw our “Fear the Beard” closer (Brian Wilson) run the 2010 World Series flag out to the right field arcade and hoist it up the flagpole to rest just below the Stars and Stripes.

Saturday night fans arrived an hour before game time to witness the historic presentation of the World Series Championship rings – enormous, gaudy things that went to every player on last year’s team, plus the front office folks and untold others in the Giants organization.  The first ring was presented to 53-year Giants veteran Mike Murphy, who manages the Giant’s Clubhouse.  Not to be left out were Giant fans’ favorite radio voices, Kruk & Kuip (Mike Krukow and Duane Kuiper).  Also receiving rings were the team’s six living Hall of Famers, four of whom attended the festivities.

Non-players donned tuxedos or even tails (with orange bow ties, of course), lending an air of class to the occasion.  Many players put on their rings immediately.  They lined up along the first and third base lines, with each new individual receiving his ring making his way down the ever-longer row of players to fist-pump or bear-hug on the way to his spot.

Sunday marked the 2010 Rookie of the Year presentation to catcher Buster Posey, who characteristically deflected praise in thanks to his teammates, the selection committee, everyone in the Giants’ organization, and of course, Giant fans.  He was joined by four other past Giants who received Rookie of the Year awards, and he was given a day off catching to revel in the moment.

Monday the Dodgers were in town, and Juan Uribe (last year’s SF shortstop, now a Dodger) received his ring before the game began.  The upshot: fabulous ceremonies, once-in-a lifetime experiences, all pulled off in true San Francisco style: celebratory and sophisticated.  On the diamond, the first four home games amounted to two come-from-behind wins, followed by two losses.  Sports commentators agree that it’s time to set 2010 aside and turn our attention to 2011.

So what does this have to do with me, a sports fan by marriage?   [Read more…]

Date Night at the Sharks

People are swigging beer, waiting in line for hot dogs and pizza, partying as if they didn’t have work tomorrow.  In search of healthy food, we follow the big foam finger pointing upstairs as a Japanese man calls out, “Bento Box, Sushi Here!”  The cashier recognizes my husband.  She knows a lot of the season ticket holders, as does the foam finger man.  Regulars nod to familiar faces, a community drawn together by fervor for hockey.  Or is it something else?

The San Jose Sharks vs. the Colorado Avalanche.  Number twenty-eight out of forty home games.  Hockey has three periods, each lasting twenty minutes.  Between each period is a seventeen-minute intermission.  If teams tie in regulation, they go into five-minute “sudden death,” where the first team to score wins.  If no one scores, they go to shootouts, three shots per team.  The whole thing takes about two and a half hours.  Not that I’m counting.  I’m married to a man who enjoys spectator sports, especially baseball and hockey.  Well, maybe basketball and a little football.  He loves sports, and I love him. You get the picture.

The temperature drops as we descend towards our seats.  Having learned that my jeans aren’t warm enough, I dress as for skiing.  Except in black and teal, of course.  One sees more black and teal in the Shark Tank than out in real life — adults wearing hats like shark heads, fuzzy teal scarves and jerseys everywhere, emblazoned with names of players past and present.  The gal in front of me still has the tags on a Sharks tee she’s wearing.  Does she plan to return it if we lose?  Then there’s the size of the fan base: not only is HP Pavilion always sold out, but REAL hockey fans come in three sizes only: Large, XL and XXL.  Despite the wide seats, there are spillovers everywhere.  A woman to my left texts faster than I type, but from the look of her, she exercises only fingers and thumbs.  Guys without necks chum with their seat mates, and in most cases, letting someone slip past you means getting up and stepping out of their way. [Read more…]