A Wedding and a Funeral

My weekend plans kind of sound like an English movie- I have a funeral and a wedding to go to tomorrow. Harriett's service is at 1:00 at Harriett Hall, yes, it was named for her, at the Fairgrounds, and Adam and Amelia are celebrating their marriage with everyone in town at 5:00 up at the Tribal House on the Parade Grounds. They will provide fish and drinks, please bring sides or salads because, as the newspaper ad invitation says,  Adam needs a break from cooking. He is the chef at the Fireweed and they have had their busiest weeks ever recently. Back in June I was in the Fireweed having lunch with Grandma Joanne when I overheard Adam talking to Paul, the brewer who was delivering kegs. Adam said the wedding was getting larger than he had expected.  Paul said that's how weddings are, and to invite as many people as possible. He  said that a wedding isn't supposed to be a private, personal thing, that you invite lots of people so that they will be witnesses to your vows, and help you to keep them. Paul said standing up in front of everyone you know and declaring life-long love is why we have weddings. It makes us appreciate marriage and not to take it lightly. It may also be why we have fairly big funerals in Haines. Unlike weddings, no one really likes to attend them, but humans who live closely in a community for many years with people who are more like shirt-tail relatives than neighbors, need to collectively bless our dead and especially honor the life they lived among us,  in much the same way we bless a wedding. In one we think good thoughts for the future and in the other we remember good times past. The women's chorus will sing at Harriett's service, and who knows, our director Nancy Nash may have us break out in song at the wedding reception as well, since Amelia is her daughter.  She won't be able to make the funeral, but assures me that the choir can sing Amazing Grace and Down to the River to Pray without her. I am glad the funeral is before the wedding, since that is the proper direction for the big old wheel of life to turn, and a not so gentle reminder why we should love the ones we are with very well.

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