Juan and his wife (C), whose name escapes me,* on their wedding day. They were lucky enough to have Magnum PI (Roy) in attendance. Also, some kind of human fly appears to be standing in the background.

Weddings in Bolivia were very festive affairs. They were pretty much just an excuse to have a giant feast and invite around 1000 relatives and the mutant fly-man. I’m sure many of them were days long. Such was the case with Juan. He was one of the groundsmen at school. Roy (Joel’s dad) was lucky enough to be godfather for Juan’s wedding. Usually not a big deal; superficial kinda thing. But it went deeper than that for Juan. A little over 9 months later, Juan actually named his son Roy out of respect. It sounds honorific and I think anyone would be proud of the gesture. Except Roy wasn’t a Spanish name, so the kid got called ‘zoy’ his whole life cause that’s how they pronounced it. Oh well. The original Zoy didn’t care. He was too busy driving Ferraris in Hawaii, surrounded by swimsuit models and practicing scribbling ‘P.I.’ after his name. Being the godfather or ‘padrino’ of the wedding meant organising and paying for the cake and food & what-not and some kind of great gift. One time, my parents were in a similar position for another couple. I think the couple were going off the false assumption that Australians were good gift-givers. If memory serves me correctly, Mum bought them a kitchen knife. Handy for a culture that eats soup for lunch. True Story: When she organised the cake, Mum sent a note to the patisserie saying “please write on the cake, Happy Wedding Day” It arrived a few days later and scrawled in lovely pink frosting along the top was “PLEASE WRITE ON THE CAKE, HAPPY WEDDING DAY.” Ugh… I think they got most of it scraped off. At the time mum wanted to replace it with text of her own and take it back, but Dad talked her out of it in case someone on the bus read it and fainted.

Mum & Dad usually never took us with them to weddings they were invited to, because we were annoying brats and my brother and I would fight and complain the whole time about how long the food was taking and why couldn’t we walk to the corner store or something where there was a toilet that wasn’t just a hole in the ground and why was everyone staring at us when we clearly blended in with our pasty white complexions and why couldn’t we sell our sister to the nice cross-eyed lady with the dirty fingernails? The wedding would also always go for about 157 hours which is a long time when you’re 11 and are busting so bad for the toilet, you can’t even feel the clothes-peg anymore. One time a couple of dogs started brawling in the middle of the party and they got rid of them with buckets of water and lots of shouting. Every wedding should have dogs. But, most of the time, we got left at home. Sounds smart, except my brother was the poster child for ADHD. You couldn’t keep that kid still if you had chains and stakes and a large grassy area for him to graze on. We should know, Dad tried. He made squirrels look calm. Somehow he also got stuck in a chair one time. And Mum’s spinning wheel. Like you, I’m sure Einstein would agree that neither of those are physically possible in this universe. The boy was a reverse Houdini. So while Mum & Dad were at this wedding, he decided to clean a treehouse he’d made with a friend. That was bizarre enough in itself; none of us kids had ever wanted to clean anything before. There were 2 issues arising with said tree scenario:

  1. The treehouse was in actual fact an old metal slide they had used to bridge two high trunks, chopped off halfway.
  2. The boys (and my sister for some reason, whom I figured was smarter) thought using water would be a good idea. And soap.

Of course, there was no way soapy water on a metal slide suspended 10ft up could possibly go wrong. Amazingly it did. My brother slipped off and smashed himself into the ground and was winded for some time upside-down. He looked like some kind spastic, featherless bird fallen out of the nest. I looked similar I suppose, since I was cramping from laughing so hard and, uh, being caring and helpful. Mum and Dad took forever to arrive, since there were no cell phones back then. Someone drove out to the wedding and brought them back in a disgruntled state since they’d missed the dog fight. After making sure he was ok, and removing the soil from his nose & mouth, they gave him a fair belting and locked him in a chair.

He was also banned from any future soap use, which, looking back, actually explains quite a bit.

In other fond wedding memories, A teacher at school invited our whole class to his wedding when I was in Grade 11 I think. That was a lesson in patience and listening. Not the wedding itself, but the invite. He started out by saying “I’d like you all to come to my wedding next week…” to which the class erupted in rapturous joy. He finished with “…to help serve food” to which we began flinging faeces in his general direction and kicking over our desks. I kid! But it didn’t go down well. I think maybe 2 of us showed up, mostly for free food that we pretended to share with the guests. So remember, if you get invited to a wedding, read the fine print.

And if he’s available, invite Magnum P.I.

*I remembered! Rosa! It was Rosa. Memory like an elephant.

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