Part 2: In San Clemente, California, in an idyllic setting overlooking the Pacific Ocean and historic fisherman’s pier, Shelley Graner and Jacob Singleton made the commitment on Saturday, March 26, 2022, to spend the rest of their lives together. He is my son. She is the daughter I always wished for. Dreams do come true! The weather was perfect on this stretch of coast likened to the Mediterranean Sea. (Mediterranean-type ecosystems (MTEs), with their characteristic and unique climatic regimes of mild wet winters and warm and dry summers, occur in just five regions of the world: California; Central Chile; the Mediterranean Basin; the Cape Region of South Africa; and Southwestern and South Australia.) The marine layer did not roll in to shroud us in fog. The sun shined and guests gathered to celebrate. Indeed, we did dance the night away.
It’s days later and I still get teary-eyed remembering these moments when they said their vows and embraced. I was also overcome by the reunion of family and friends, many, who I haven’t seen in over 30 years. Jacob’s first cousin Jennifer came from Scotland; his aunt and uncle and cousin Sarah came from the East Coast; Mary and her husband from Chicago. Best Man Patrick has been a lifelong friend since when Jacob was six months old and Patrick was 14 months growing up together in South Bend, Indiana. Elementary and high school friends came to celebrate, as did college fraternity brothers and work colleagues. Our Oaxaca family was well-represented by Eric, Elsa, Santiago, Janet and Omar. Karen and I raised our boys together, hers an infant, mine four years older. We have known each other for 44 years. My brother Fred played oboe with his violinist daughter Becca.
Blessings are many. I have embraced and been embraced by Shelley’s mother Holly, who is a generous, kind and loving person. Her family is as close as mine. Our children have the extended love and caring from in-laws who know what it means to be generous, caring, gracious and emotionally competent. Shelley, too, was nurtured by family: sister Joanne, aunts and uncles, longtime friends like Sheila and Laura.
Today, after more than a year of planning, the newlyweds are in Roatan, an amazing Caribbean island off the coast of Honduras, taking a well-deserved rest. I’m in Santa Cruz, California, with my sister and brother-in-law for the coming week, until I return to New Mexico.
For this wedding, Oaxaca was well-represented: my indigo and native coyuchi cotton huipil was woven in Pinotepa de Don Luis by textile artisan Sebastiana Guzman. It’s all good.
Oaxaca Love Story: Carol and David Get Married
On Thursday, January 12, at the bench in Labastida Park where they first met a bit more than two years ago, Carol Lynne Estes and David Levin got married.
Carol Lynne Estes and David Levin at Parque Labastida
It was one of those gorgeous late afternoon Oaxaca winter days punctuated with clear skies, bright sunshine, passersby on bicycles, street vendors hawking fresh roasted corn-on-the-cob, a group of salsa dancers in the adjacent space waiting for their teacher, school children with noses in open books, mothers towing recalcitrant children.
We gathered to witness and give support to a great couple!
As we gathered, Gail Schacter, a Victoria, B.C. snowbird, retold the story about how she introduced Carol and David. Seems that she and Carol had gone shopping to replenish incense sticks from the ceramics shop inside Plaza de las Virgenes. As they exited onto the street, Gail spotted David, who she knew, across the park on a bench eating a sandwich after his gym workout. They went to say hello. The rest, as they say, is history/herstory.
Oaxaca is a place for convergences, new discoveries, exploring identity, creating new beginnings. Living here has a way of opening us up to possibilities. It also stimulates us to see what we are capable of doing, being, becoming. This is not a new-age concept, but one more of what it means for some of us to live life more passionately, fully and in support of each other’s choices.
It is more than escaping the chilly north for a patch of winter sun and clear blue sky. Young and older gravitate here for so much more.
From the moment that Carol and David met, they were inseparable. Carol’s girlfriends had to get used to that! We quickly learned that this was a couple who stuck together, so an invitation to one was an invitation to both. Their devotion to each other, I think, expanded our capacity for friendship, inclusion and intimacy.
The park bench where it all began! Felicidades.
Some of us wondered about this unlikely couple, a Texas English teacher and a South African Jew who settled in Canada after university study there. Theirs is a model for respecting traditions and differences.
Carol, Gail and David remember introductions
In 2015, Carol and David traveled together throughout Asia for several months, learning to negotiate everything. And, it seems, they managed this pretty well. They didn’t kill each other! They returned to Oaxaca even more committed to their relationship and started planning their next adventure.
Mary and Carol, celebration time.
Life takes us in unpredictable directions. On a stopover in Toronto to visit family last summer before going on to India, David had a medical set-back. Now, with great Canadian health care, he is recovering well, but they need to be in Toronto until the treatment plan is complete.
Amidst the hubbub of a public park, a wedding!
David and Carol are making Toronto home for the time being, but they came back to Oaxaca to get married at the park bench where they first met. Oaxaca is their heart home. We gathered round in tribute to their love, commitment and testimony to all that Oaxaca can provide for each of us in different ways.
May your cup over-floweth–with mezcal, of course.
In Spanish: Saludos. In Zapoteco: Chichibayoh. In Hebrew: L’chaim. With Bob Klotz officiating and Mary Erickson standing as a matron of honor, we raised our cups of mezcal. What else would one drink at a Oaxaca wedding?
Divine lemon cake from La Pasion bakery in Colonia Reforma, tops off the event
Posted in Cultural Commentary
Tagged expat, gringo, marriage, Mexico, Oaxaca, wedding