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Rule number one

     "It was awesome! The best wedding I've ever been to!" That was followed up by, "I didn't understand a word of it, but it was the best!"

     You never know when to leave for an event. Be early? Get there just minutes before? Rule number one: do not be late. Rule number two is for parties hosted at a person's home: do not be early. Since this was a wedding, we were in compliance with the first rule.

     Not wanting to be late, we left home about a half hour before the ceremony at Holy Trinity Church, which is about five minutes from our house. I had no idea how many guests would be there—hundreds of people or dozens of people, so I was playing it safe.

     When we pulled into the parking lot it was empty except for a few vans delivering flowers. So much for my fear of not finding a parking spot where I could get Paul and his wheelchair out of the car without having to walk several blocks back to the church. There were plenty of handicap spots available.

     With Paul and his wheelchair ready to go, we went—slowly, of course, since no one else had arrived yet—to the side door closest to us. It was locked. I stood on my tiptoes and peeked through the high window to see if anyone was inside. A few people were standing around.  

     I thought maybe some of the guests had parked in the back and were waiting at the front entrance so after making sure there were no steps to maneuver the wheelchair over, we made our way to the front of the church.

     No one there. I tried the door. No luck. It was a pleasant sunshiny day, so we waited there a few minutes longer before we went back to the side door. Again I tried the latch. It didn't give. But now people were starting to arrive and soon the doors were opened. Paul and I went in and settled halfway back, where the wheelchair accommodations were. Before long, the ceremony began.

     Lourdes, the bride, glowing and beautiful, her mother Lupe, glowing and beautiful, and Felix, her father, handsome and smiling, each slowed up to nod and say hi to Paul as they walked down the aisle where the pews were festooned with posies of cream and pink flowers.

     The ceremony was entirely in Spanish. Being familiar with the Mass and the wedding ceremony, I reached way back into my mind for words and phrases I learned in the few Spanish classes I had taken. I whispered in Paul's ear my amateur translation of some of what the priest and the bride and groom were saying.

     The ceremony ended with the bride and groom presenting flowers to the Virgin Mary. As they walked toward the statue, the beautiful "Ave Maria" filled the church. After the ceremony Lourdes, Angel—her new husband—, Lupe, Felix and other family members came over to visit with Paul, who had made sure he got an invitation to Lourdes' wedding.

     As we walked up the aisle to go home, Lourdes stopped and invited Paul to join them for the bridal photos. Of course we made a quick U-turn and headed back toward the altar. Paul's smile almost shattered the camera.

     It was a beautiful wedding, a beautiful day and before we left I felt like we had become members of an extended family of beautiful people. Glad we got there on time.

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