Monday, November 20, 2006
Tree planters are a tight-knit little tribe. When they roll into town-Port Hardy, B.C.--at the weekends, the locals tend to lock up their daughters, valuables and movables, and bartenders are on alert.
Despite this gypsy tag, they comprise a startlingly large proportion of very talented and creative people--writers, musicians, dressmakers, cooks and so forth. In addition they have a strong tradition of looking out for one another. In grizzly-bear territory this comes naturally.
Everyone knows--or knows of--everyone else. At parties the planters are like family; the hangers-on at the fringes are the wannabes.
So when my elder daughter and her fellow planter man, Kevin, decided "What the heck, let's get married," at a month's notice, the planter "family" kicked into high gear.
The ceremony, and the dinner party that followed, took place at a modest community centre in Vancouver--albeit one with a knockout view of the harbour.
Friends designed and made the bride's dress, a stunning white silk bias-cut creation. A friend baked the sinfully lush chocolate wedding cake. Family and roommates rolled and dipped 160 Belgian chocolate truffles to decorate the tables. A hairdresser friend came to the apartment to work magic on the hairstyles of the bride and the women in the wedding party, and would accept no payment except a small tip and a bottle of wine. There were many, many other splendid gestures--in part, no doubt, because the bride and groom had announced that they wanted no gifts, the day being not only about them but especially about the guests, who'd travelled from as far as the little outports of Newfoundland and the deserts of Arizona.
The men, too, looked gorgeous: tall, slim, groomed and, well, studly.
But one of the happiest guests was the groom's mother, Kathleen. Kathleen lives a simple life back there in Newfoundland. Her wants are few. She doesn't drink or use makeup. But her one vice is chocolate. I gathered up the unconsidered truffles and set aside some more chocolate cake for her. She went home with a bag full of booty and a grin from ear to ear.
"The best wedding I ever attended" was the frequently-heard verdict.