late, wedding, familyAs I sit in the car in utter fear and mortification, counting, counting, counting, I wonder: what has led me to this humiliating, horrible experience?

Is it because of some deep-seated hatred for my brother?

No. I shake my head vehemently as I whisper 77, 78, 79… I love my brother.

Do I want to sabotage myself by making my family, and my new sister-in-law-to-be, hate me?

Again, I shake my head no and continue counting…80, 81, 82.

No, the fact is that I hate being late, and yet, I am always delayed, postponed, behind, tardy, unpunctual, behind schedule, overdue; well, you get the picture.

I was late at birth – two days I’m told. I was a late bloomer, and didn’t even enjoy a first kiss until I was 17. At 35 I still didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up. Yet I did know I wanted to be a good sister.

83, 84, 85…

“How many more?” my mother screams in my ear, even though we are only sitting a foot away from each other.

“I don’t know,” I respond, gritting my teeth.

I am about to be late for my brother’s wedding, and I can find no excuse for it.

I rack my brain for any clues from my brother when he left the hotel (earlier) to get ready at the church.

We are all in strange territory. His fiancée’s family lives in West Virginia. I arrive from San Francisco, my mom from Delaware, my bro from Maryland.

89, 90, 91, 92…

“Don’t be late!” I do remember brother telling me that at breakfast.  “It’s a 15-minute ride to the church, and there could be traffic.”

I scoffed at him. “Traffic? In this little town?”

He grimaced and admonished: “I know you.”

So, my mom and I leave 20 minutes early, noting a bit uncomfortably that we are the last relatives to leave the hotel.

93, 94, 95…late, train, wedding, sister, brother, herd of sheep

“Beep your horn!” Mom shouts.

“It’s a train, Mom, not a herd of sheep!” I shout back.

Yes, that is correct. We left 20 minutes early, but our car is stopped at a railroad crossing, and the longest train in the annals of history is chugging in front of us.

98, 99, 100…

One hundred cars I’ve counted, with no end in sight.

“Mom, we’re in the back waters of nowhere, and we are going to miss your son’s wedding.”

Like in a stupid adolescent movie, the kind rated PG13 that only gets two stars, Mom and I scream out loud, to no one in particular, together.

But the train moves no faster.

We are desperately…



brother and sister, sister-in-law, wedding

Thanks to my brother and sis-in-law, who 26 years later, are still talking to me!

Buttercups, Bollywood, and World Peace

buttercup, 60's musicLast weekend I attended a wedding in which I barely knew the bride and groom, yet I left the reception thinking of world peace.

My man’s brother’s daughter, just finishing her fourth year of med school, married her college sweetheart, a handsome brown-eyed MBA grad, in their New England college chapel.

The Irish-Italian bride was gorgeous, all wide-eyed and lithe in her white lace gown. The Indian groom was svelte and handsome in his tux.  Their splendid contrasts were highlighted by their family and friends: long and short dresses in reds, blacks, grays and purple on the bride’s side, even more colorful and sparkling saris on the groom’s side.

I wondered about the tradition of a ‘bride’s side’ and a ‘groom’s side’ during the wedding, since it separated the two families, instead of integrating them.

The same lack of merging occurred as we were seated at the wedding reception, although I admit I was relieved to be sharing a table with my daughter and son-in-law, my man’s siblings and spouses. No hard work required to talk to strangers.

But then the music began.

The DJ played loud and 60’s.

Proud Mary, Twist and Shout, Bad Moon Rising, the Supremes, Rolling Stones, Beach Boys.  By the third song, the dance floor was packed with pre-teen to 35-year-old cousins, mid-20s college pals, relatives from 40 to 80 years old, all whooping it up, raising arms as we sang “SHOUT!”

You know you make me wanna (Shout!)
Kick my heels up and (Shout!)
Throw my hands up and (Shout!)

Cultures, colors, and creeds collided as over 100 people sang lyrics out loud, swinging hips and laughing during the next song –  Buttercup:

Why do you build me up (Build me up) buttercup, baby
Just to let me down (Let me down) and mess me around
And then worst of all (Worst of all) you never call, baby
When you say you will (Say you will) but I love you still

As shoes got kicked off and saris twirled, I thought, now this is the way it’s supposed to be.

Then suddenly the music changed to Bollywood songs, more formally known as Hindi film songs. Moving from oldies pop to Indian pop, no one broke stride.

Kat ti nahin hain meri raatein, kat te nahin hain mere din  (My nights won’t pass, my days won’t pass) 

Mere saare sapne adhoore, zindagi adhuri tere bin (All my dreams are incomplete without you)

Khwaabon mein, nigaahon mein, pyaar ki panaahon mein (In dreams, in my eyes, in love’s arms)

 Aa chhupa le baahon mein (Come, I’ll hide you in my arms)

Smiles grew even wider, strangers became dancing companions, and through it all I envisioned world peace.

One wedding at a time.