Culture vulture

South of the border
When my bro-in-law Al and his partner, Adriane, announced a year ago that they’d be getting married in Cabo San Lucas in November, the destination was icing on the wedding cake. Not only would we get to attend the wedding of two of our favorite people in the entire world, we’d get to check out the fabled playground of Sammy Hagar, hard-rockin’ owner of Cabo Wabo, and millions of other leisure-loving gringos.

The three-hour flight down was flawless and scenic, straight down the Sea of Cortez along countless miles of rugged desert coastline to the tiny airport near San Jose del Cabo. From the airport we shuttled by van up the Pacific coast to the—I’m not exaggerating—fabulous Pueblo Bonito at Sunset Beach resort, a gargantuan, labyrinthine complex of luxurious rooms, swimming pools, restaurants, swim-up bars, cocktail lounges and a huge, riptide-stroked beach constantly caressed by the most gorgeous, lacey-foamed waves imaginable. The perfect setting for a November wedding.

The welcoming banquet at Mi Casa in Cabo San Lucas proper was everything a night-before party ought to be: awesome food, never-ending margaritas of the most genuine sort, dancing, speeches honoring the bride and groom, deep conversations with family and friends, hilarious, long-winded toasts and taxi transportation back to our rooms.

The following day’s pre-sunset ceremony on the beach was gorgeous and fun and just solemn enough to remind us all of how genuinely precious and worthy of celebration the union of a loving couple really is. And the banquet and party that followed the ceremony was the quintessential bonding experience for everyone involved.

Looking around the terrace at the height of festivities and seeing family members and friends clustered in comfortable groups, or joyfully filling the dance floor or nestled in intimate, head-to-head conversation, I was swept by an admittedly sentimental epiphany about how a wedding is so much more than just the formal joining of one couple; it is a binding together of all the worldly forces that create the family histories that shape our individual lives and guide us to our friendships and influence our relationships with everyone we encounter. And in that moment of epiphany I realized how deeply I appreciate and respect any person who accepts the challenges and responsibilities of admitting their ability to love another person.

It ain’t easy, but it’s worth it.

As I was writing this column my father-in-law called to let us know that our friend Mary Anne Houx had passed away. Mary Anne was a wonderful friend not just to myself, but to my wife’s family and the entire community she served for so many years. She will be sincerely missed at the family Thanksgiving dinner, where traditionally and consistently she and Daphne would make the most perfect roast turkey gravy ever to cross the lips of a human being.

Her keen wit, insightful conversation and genuine caring for the citizens of this country will be sincerely missed.

May flights of angels bear you home, Mary Anne.