Sunday, March 8, 2009
What a long, strange Friday it's been.
I already knew, waking up that I was going to have to cook the Friday meal for 70 or so people. I wasn't sure who was going to help, though, or when. But that's okay. Styxx and I headed out at 11:30 and helped Richard unload the food for the meal that night at Sunnyside. I noted that we had a lot of cranberries and peaches. Hmmm, what kind of sauce would that make? I called up Diane to have her read me the recipe for cranberry sauce from the Joy of Cooking.
Then we headed out to Gresham to do our run. We picked up food from our "Silver Tray" folks, Marie and Victor. Then we picked up bread from Zarapath pantry. We hit our regular dumpters, and it was an excellent day-- we got undented cans of beef stew and chili, a 25 lb. bag of white onions, and about 200 dollars worth of pepperoni sticks.
We get back to Sunnyside at 3pm and start prepping for the meal. Lo and behold, we have many people to help! Yea! Robert and Ray and Clay and Chuck all show up! Styxx and I actually passed Chuck in Gresham, but we had no idea he was coming to meet us at Sunnyside!
So Clay gets working on the peaches so we can make a unique kind of cranberry sauce. Ray makes lemonade and cuts bagels. Robert warms up the ministrone soup and butters bagels. Chuck cleans off the tables and floors. And Styxx moves stuff around. Wow, it's just so smooth and organized!
Kevin Wayne also shows up to set up sound. He has brought a documentarian with him who is making a movie about street musicians in Portland called In Plain Sight. She wants to film, and I arrange it for her to film a certain section of the room, so those who don't want to be filmed don't have to. She pretty much focuses on Kevin anyway.
At 5pm, Jesse and his friend Tabitha show up. At 6, I open up talking about the fruit of the Spirit and we pray and we serve the meal all eat! It's wonderful!
Then, after most people have been served, I note that there is a couple-- David, whom I know from Anawim long past, and Patsy. Patsy is in a wedding dress and David is in a suit. Oh, man.
About a month before David and Patsy told me that they were getting married by a judge and they wanted me to lead a spiritual ceremony the same day. I did a little bit of counseling, but it was the judge actually marrying them, so I had no problem with this. It gives me a chance to talk about commitment in marriage, which is good. So I told them that if they wanted me to do this, they had to give me a call, because a wedding takes preparation. And that we could have it in the park across from Sunnyside on Friday night-- that way I could be there for Sunnyside and do the wedding, no problem.
Except they never called. I wasn't ready and I was still organizing the kitchen. AND I had a Bible Study to lead? Nope, that had to be put off, I guess.
So here was a couple, prepped to have a wedding ceremony and I am not ready. I'm dressed in my usual hat, leather coat and blue Guatamalean pancho with boots. I don't have my Minister's manual (which is actually online-- I never bought one), so I don't know all the official/traditional things one must say. Okay, this is crazy.
But it gets done. We hold the ceremony on the ramp outside the church, in front of the sanctuary. All the people in Sunnyside are invited, and many of them look on. The couple's friends are there as well. I open with I Cor. 13, and talk about how "love endures" and "love never fails". They read the vows they have prepared. And I make up vows of love and life-long commitment from the top of my head as they exchange rings. It was nice, and touching and short. But the couple was happy, and that's all that matters.
I go back inside the church to find it pretty much emptied. Most of the people had left after the wedding. Kevin has stopped playing for the evening, the cooking crew is gone, and we had run out of soup. I go to the kitchen to hear Styxx say, "Sorry, we're out of soup," and I look at him and say, "That's not true. You know that!" Then I go to the van to collect the cans of beef stew we've got in the back. Styxx warms it up in the microwave, and we're all set. We have just enough food for those that straggled in late.
Then the wedding party comes in and sits around, hanging out. Kevin decides that since there's a crowd, he'd play another set. He plays a few songs and then he plays "Knockin' On Heaven's Door". The bride and groom start to dance. Then others do. So now Sunnyside has turned into a wedding reception. A lot of people get teary-eyed (including Kevin-- come on, admit it) and I take some picture, as above.
At Eight I make my usual announcement: "You've got ten minutes to leave or I put you to work!" The wedding party leaves, grateful. We do the clean up stuff. Jesse and Justin and friends help us out and there is a short drum circle using counters and pots. Awesome.
It was the most unique Friday ever. And, on top of it all, we ate the one-of-a-kind creation of warm cranberry-peach-pear sauce. It was great. I can give you a recipe of it for a hundred people, no less.