Jeff Gangwer

Rookie - 274 Points (September 23,1984 / Hood River, Oregon)

The Wedding in Utah

January Fifteenth, Two-thousand and Fourteen:

'No, I'm not nervous'—

Or so I say as the evening's guests are arriving and I begin to feel the result of some strange brain chemistry from toe tip to fingertip—
Some sort of euphoric wash that sharpens my senses and prepares me for a life with the Woman of my Dreams

I'm not nervous, but I'm circulating the manor of Aspen Landing in my rented black vest and my red silk tie and I'm seesawing like a faith healer while shaking Gringo hands and kissing Hispanic cheeks;
I'm saying, 'Thank you for being here, ' and 'No, I'm not nervous'—and then I kissed Leonard Stallliviere who told me to 'Back off, man! ' and 'Don't be kissin' me.'

Our guests arrive from as far as Oregon and Idaho:
My former stepfather, Ray Lunt; Tim Doman, the Best Man; my old education instructor, Ralph Kern; Will Austin and Matt Macedo, my college buddies; and Drew Dunn, the coolest missionary from the San Pablo Philippines Mission

'No, I'm not nervous'—just words as I check my pulse after I notice that my breathing is quick and narrow—like I swallowed four Excedrin tablets

An hour ago, I was picking up the bouquets and my boutonniere from the flower shop in Sandy with my mother in tow and we heard the steady, violent rumbling from the tires (or wheels) of Rebeca's little car—
Another hitch in the plan

'I think it's getting worse, ' I said—
'I think it's on my side.'
'I hope the wheels don't fall off! '

We stopped at the neighboring Les Schwab Tire Center and this guy named Dave tells us that the rubber tread from the rear tires—God knows why—is breaking and splitting—BREAKING and SPLITTING—and that the front passenger side wheel bearing is loose and wiggling—LOOSE and WIGGLING

And I don't believe in bad omens—but at the same time, over in Taylorsville, Rebeca is using a steam iron to frantically smooth out the wrinkles in her bridal veil—and she burns a hole in the fabric that's big enough for you to stick your head through!

I pay the bill at Les Schwab and remind myself that marriage is ordained of God—a sacred institution, a blessed, holy, rewarding union, the right thing to do, et cetera

Bishop Terry Wright shows up and I'm relieved to know that the ship will sail

We shake hands and I say, 'Thank you for being here.'

No, I'm not nervous

The groomsmen descend with the bridesmaids; then the flower girl and the ring bearer—young Brianna and little Genesis

Then the Bride descends and everybody stands—
My Rebeca—
And she looks muy hermosa (like I knew she would) —
Mi Novia Latina perfecta—
Mi Esposita

She carefully steps from the stairway and joins me at the head of the room near the arch and the bishop

We hold hands through the rush that was our ceremony and reception—a three hour celebration that felt like a three minute mixture of adrenaline and chocolate-marshmallow milkshake

We line up and greet our guests as Husband and Wife

Several men stuff cash into the jacket pocket of my tuxedo

We stand for pictures and smile through the fatigue of winter as the flashes nearly blind us in the dimly lit reception hall

We cut and sample our white, raspberry flavored cake—and it's a little too small (but certainly tastier than anything served elsewhere)

Rebeca throws a bouquet of artificial flowers that she prepared for the occasion—and my mom catches it (but gives it to another)

We dance awkwardly (but romantically) to Shania Twain's 'From This Moment On' and I look down to watch and ensure that I don't step on the dress

Finally, at 9: 15, we depart from under a cascading shower of blazing sparkler gems

Submitted: Monday, July 07, 2014
Edited: Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Topic of this poem: marriage

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