Weddings are meetings of family cultures

Last Sunday, we went to Steve and Yelena's wedding. Steve called us three days before to invite us, and though it was last minute and we had lots of things we needed to do, we knew we had to rearrange our plans to go.

We knew Steve and his wife Penny for years. Steve was chairman of the local Democratic committee at the time I served as treasurer, and he had a hankering to run for office, He made a couple of attempts at becoming a state senator in the 1990's. Later I was his treasurer when he ran for lieutenant governor. He didn't win any of his races, and he faded from the local political scene. He kept some friendships, though, and we saw him from time to time. He is a kind, gentle person, if not very effective as a politician. Penny was always a hoot to run into at Democratic parties - she had a sardonic take on the political scene, and some great stories. I wouldn't hesitate to say that they were happy together.

Then a few years ago, Penny suddenly died. I think she had a blood clot go to a bad place. In a wink of an eye, Steve was alone. And he didn't like it.

He dated, and we met a few of his dates at parties. None of Steve's dates ever became a long term relationship. Then he told us recently he was pursuing marriage to a woman he had met via a dating service of some kind - the modern version of the mail-order bride. She is a Russian emigre.

The wedding finally happened, and it was a meeting of cultures. Steve's friends came. Many of them are from the conspiracy theorist wing of politically interested folks in the region. One of the members of this local subculture is the attorney who is representing our son, and I talked to him about the case for a bit. Another is a sweet middle-class lady, an active Rotarian, who told me that she believes that the government develops two strains of flu vaccine; one is for people who go to doctors, but the other is administered at health clinics in places like senior citizen housing, and that one is designed to make people sick.

I am sweet in turn, and do not discuss or dispute. I don't think there is much percentage in arguing with other people's belief systems.

The consensus in this group was that they are voting for Cynthia McKinney, the Green Party candidate. Obama is a bit too much in the mainstream for them. We did have a spirited discussion about fascism, and its place in current society.

Then there were the Russians. Yelena is a striking woman - bleached blonde, lovely figure, warm and friendly. There were two other blond Russian women at the party, and I thought they were all sisters. They were not related however, except by culture. To be Russian in the US seems to mean you are family to all other Russians.

The women were sensous. They all wore low-cut, tightly fitting dresses, showing off their chests and breasts. After dinner, the stereo played contemporary popular Russian music, and the women started dancing. The style has more than a touch of the east - shoulders shimmy, arms are expressive. A Russian man danced with his partner, and they were wonderful. He would hold both arms outstretched, like a barrier to her leaving him, and she played against it, raising her arms and then wiping her hands along the sides of her torso. It was erotic - one of our friends said, "they need to get a room."

Steve was obviously besotted with his new bride. She in turn seemed to be warm and affectionate. They made a handsome couple together. And her daughter and Steve's granddaughter already seem to be best friends. I am hoping for the best for both of them - that the days ahead feel like a good life to them.


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