Posts Tagged With: weddings



On our way home from our respective home hosted dinners, we spotted several weddings. Ranvir tells us he rode a white horse to his wedding. It is a tradition, a white horse, black horse or an elephant.


Revelers were waiting on the groom and his entourage. Ranvir told us anybody would be welcome to join if they just showed up.


Ranvir asks the bus driver to drive slowly so we can see, but that is a pretty tough thing to do in heavy traffic.


We catch a glimpse of this beautifully dressed groom on his way to his wedding. No flash,  a window, a moving bus, it is blurry, my apologies. But look how colorful his clothing is.


As we pass the window to our hotel, there is a wedding celebration on a lower floor. I decide sleep is more important and to bed.


In the morning, before leaving for Nagaur, we make several stops. An ATM and a drug store where I buy cough drops for Theo and batteries for my clock. Everyone it seems needs something. It is a muddy, crowded spot with a laundry next door. I was fascinated by the steam iron the laundryman was using. But, the man in the pink sweater was very curious about us.


His friend indicated he wanted his picture taken. It is one of those ever sweet moments you don’t forget as he smiled proudly at his own permanent image from my camera.


As we load into the bus, this young bull stole an eggplant off a vegetable stand. The owner physically pushed him out of the way and scolded. They have to be harsh to protect their livelihood.


From the bus window I see a wild pig that also has the run of the town we are passing through.



The road is bumpy in places, but it is a major highway as well. These men are digging this huge ditch by hand tools and carrying dirt and rocks away with pans on their heads. Reminds me of China.


We pass through a town that produces marble. People in the area suffer high rates of silicosis. They have masks, but don’t use them.


Another town that specializes in shoe making. Leather, in a country that does not eat beef.


I saw a large herd of obviously “owned” and cared for cattle. There must be a sect that doesn’t worry about the sacredness of the cow.


This herd of cattle crossed the busy highway and when a huge truck coming at us approached, they hustled a bit faster. dsc00088-copy

We crossed a bridge and the tariffs to cross are fairly steep.


Women with heavy loads walk with their back to traffic.


It appears to me they use their own clothing to wrap around the burden.


Ranvir guesses that these horses are headed for the Fair to be sold.


We roll into this small town and Ranvir is talking about the people here who escape taxes by building their own funky motors. They are pasted together with spare parts from here and there. No license fees to pay. The government doesn’t know they exist. They break down often but they are happy with them. He said maybe we could ride in one? I thought he was kidding.


Remember, this is a long drive. And a funky motor is quite a diversion. Theo grabbed the seat next to the driver.


The rest of us loaded into the back, and here we are, after the ride was over.dsc00203-copy

The ride attracted a lot of curious onlookers.


They seem ever fascinated by blonde hair. Kathy and Theo get a lot of attention.


Ranvir decided to get some fruit for us to snack on in the bus.


Sandy bought a bunch of veggies for the skinny looking cows nearby.


If you feed one cow…


They all come.


Back on the road again. The terrain changes. This area is moist now. But, summer monsoon, it is flooded.


I see drying dung piles all along the way and I finally get it. It is fuel and it must be dried and stored before the rains com.


And finally, Naguar, the tent city for the camel festival. More tomorrow.






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DSC07092 (Copy)Somewhere, in a lighted, heated, tent, my “baby” brother, Clark,  got married to Theresa Gillick, a second marriage for them.

DSC07104 (Copy)Theresa wore a lovely wedding dress and the best man, my nephew Tom, wore a traditional suit. For Tom, a suit is a mile marker. I joshed that I had to attend this wedding just to see Tom in a suit. He told me he wore a suit to Clark’s first wedding as best man, and that it might be the last time he wore a suit. Uncle Clark is younger than his nephew Tom.

DSC07098 (Copy)Tom’s wife, Maryanna, claimed he didn’t wear a suit when they married. “I like it she said. I hope I can get him to wear it again.” (At his funeral he claims.)

DSC07093 (Copy)My son, Ken became licensed to marry them. A first for him.  By their own vows they pledged their fealty and wed. Writing your own vows has become traditional.

DSC07094 (Copy)Theresa has the cutest little grandchildren. This little angel spread flower petals for them to tred upon. Later, she gathered them up, from her own sense of right, and put them back in the bag.

DSC07101 (Copy)Having children in a wedding is always a joy as we look upon tears, smiles and questioning faces. Lucky Clark inherits a beautiful set of grandchildren as well. One of the good things about second marriages.

DSC07102 (Copy)This little grandson I believe was the ring bearer. He was only interested in his toy unless someone convinced him to look up for that crucial moment. Got it!!

DSC07110 (Copy)I like to tease Clark about being my baby brother but when he reminded me he was 60, I decided maybe I better knock it off. I doted on him when he was a kid and liked to play mother to him and my brother Mark, 13 months older. Of my five brothers, two are deceased.

DSC07112 (Copy)I watched fascinated when the photographer  stopped to arrange Theresa’s flowing veil and actually tied it up so she could walk properly. Gown’s can be shortened on the spot without a needle or thread. Traditional?

DSC07115 (Copy)My daughter Virginia mentioned how easy it is for kids to get acquainted. Abbie, on the right, stepped out on the dance floor and made instant friends with the grandchildren she’d just met.  Life is simple if you’re a kid.

DSC07116 (Copy)My oldest brother, Bill, parodied some movie character:  “Bring on the grub.” Soon enough, we were eating prime rib, chicken in a rich sauce, vegetables and a tossed green salad.

DSC07121 (Copy)A non-traditional chocolate cheesecake.

DSC07124 (Copy)The adults hit the dance floor after dinner and a few drinks.

DSC07127 (Copy)You go girl! Everyone danced with everyone. It mattered not if women danced with women, or children or dads and brothers. My Uncle Veron and Uncle Norman taught me how to dance for my Uncle Roger’s wedding.

Some years back it was tradition to put cameras on the tables and guests took pictures of each other. Clark and Theresa engaged the services of a photo booth.  Zany pictures, fun pictures or prim pictures, mixing people who didn’t know each other; instant results. Clark and Theresa and  guests get a copy. Clark also hired a limousine service that drives anyone home, and a second driver follows with your personal car.  Safety for anyone who may have had a drink too many. It was really fun. To see the rest of the pictures, click the link below:

















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We drove up the coast headed for Galveston. We stopped at a BUC EES, I think that is how you spell it. I saw a  huge billboard advertising genuine Czech Kolaches. Well, as y’all know by now, I’m a foodie. If I haven’t tasted it I gotta try it. They had sausage and jalapena, sausage, sausage and cheese and ham and cheese. Well, guess what a kolache is just a Czech name for a sandwich. These were not even good sandwiches. White, pasty bread, the sausage itself was good, but the cheese was Velveeta or its cousin. People must love them, but I’ve never been a sandwich person and these were  mundane. (They are eaten heated.)

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We drove past miles of beautiful beach. Jim commented how nice it is that Texas has many beach exits for people to enter the beach. They didn’t allow private builders to gobble it all up and prevent the public from enjoying the beach like in Florida and many places in California. But it is January and people were swimming out there? I guess I have to try it, because the weather is warm enough.

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We waited downtown for about three hours to get permission to park in a very crowded American Legion. We waited happily catching up on our reading, but the trees wanted to scrape the top, the place was busy and narrow. In the end, we moved 15 miles to the mainland  and found this friendly VFW, post 8248.

Kathy,me and Denise

We had a couple of drinks and had fun visiting with Kathleen and Denise.  Denise told me about a new food to try. The Spanish call it barcoda. I won’t tell you what it is until we find and taste it. Hey, gotta keep up my reputation for trying new foods. Denise is the Commander of an American Legion Post and a member of this VFW. Fun gals. Kathleen is hoping to hit the road some day.

Since this is a short blog, I thought I’d tell you about a Port Aransas wedding. Weddings can be very personal. I once saw a wedding invitation posted on a light pole in downtown Murphys. I’m paraphrasing a bit, but it read, Sandy Bristow has finally gotten Ricky Sanders out of the bars and off the streets of Murphys. Come join us for the event at Murphys Park, etc. etc. with a picture of Sanders  with a lasso around his  neck and his new bride in a cowboy hat and boots.

I read about the Port Aransas wedding in the Coastal Bend’s Community Magazine. Because it was Halloween, it was a two day wedding. The setting was a Port Aransas Beach Lodge described as  laid-back and casual, nestled in the sand dunes with a commanding, panoramic view of the Gulf with awesome sunrises.  The day before the wedding,  gaiety started as the sun began to set. Guests donned their Halloween costumes and went off in rented beach carts for a fab dinner at LaPlaya. Afterwards, in full costume, they set off for the Salty Dog where they drank and danced . The next day, they hired a boat and went on a two-hour cruise. Entertaining land locked guests with the beauty of sky, sea and sun with dolphins playfully posing and following the boat enraptured them.  Back at the lodge, the guests enjoyed a scavenger hunt, a white elephant party and a final ceremony at sunset on the wharf. The dinner was a crab boil with champagne.

Sound like fun?  Wow!

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We arrive in a very crowded Wuhan City, population 10 million with another 6 million surrounding the city. It has temperature extremes with hot tropical summers and snow in the winters. It is considered one of the furnace cities of China. Vicki has a friend here who owns a Citron. He works for the factory, he has company housing and can park his car on the roof of the plant. Here we see American brands everywhere, McDonalds, Michelin, Milky Way, KFC. People love KFC, Vicki tells us. Merchants here do knockoff designs, very smart Gucci bags, Rolex watches and other designer goods. If caught, they pay heavy fines. We pull into our Shangri La Hotel and police stop our bus. It seems Jacque Chirac, the President of France is in town and we had to by-pass the hotel and have the porters come to the bus. Secret Service all over the place escorted us up the sidewalk to a freight elevator, then to another elevator into the hotel.  We could not take pictures and were asked to leave our cameras in our rooms. We had a great dinner and got to taste dishes typical of the area, a huge sea bass, some special potatoes in broth, a sticky rice with pork and eggplant, a marvelous juicy dumpling with tasty meat and vegetables inside.  Cuisine from this area  is considered one of the major cuisines of the world. We could see why. Everything was delicious.

The next day, on our way to the Wuhan Provincial Museum, we see a bride and groom in a bright red Volkswagen. People marry on even days. They pick a lucky day and a lucky time.

The revelers followed in a decorated open truck. Weddings have become westernized. The man proposes and puts a ring on during the wedding ceremony. The bride will wear a western type wedding dress and a cocktail dress for the reception. Old Chinese women wear rings but they have nothing to do with their marital status. Chinese joke:  The groom used to jump over a broom. Now they say, we love each other but we haven’t swept together yet. Ha, Ha!

Vicki tells us that in the 1970’s a person wanted his own watch, his own bike and a sewing machine.  A man had to earn 50 yuan a month before he could get married in Mau’s planned society. People needed a coupon for oil, pork, or cloth and most fairly basic commodities.

People in the 1980’s wanted TV’s, refrigerators and washing machines.

People in the 1990’s wanted a private telephone, a CB or Ham radio and they got mortgages starting in 1998.

Now people want cell phones, cars, houses and computers. The government controls TV and the internet. But, after the technician installs it, you hire another guy to unblock it. There are  10 provincial channels, 40 others from the government. Foreign TV is not allowed but you can pirate it easily, Vicky tells us. They will crack down and block the internet in the future, she predicts.  It is just too much freedom and will give people corrupt ideas.

We arrive at the Provincial Museum. As always, everything is ornately decorated, though this 350,000 year old city, was bombed, and flooded  and destroyed over many years of conflict including Japanese and revolutionary warfare of Sun Yat Sen. In 1911, the uprising led to the fall of the Quing Dynasty and the emergence of the modern Republic of China, right here in Wuhan City.

The area is noted for its intellectuals;  poets, writers, and artists. They specialize in bronze and gold,  interesting garden design, bridges and buildings, very contemporary. Our city guide, Harry, teaches us the word for cold beer, bing peejo. We would like to have a good beer here. It hasn’t happened yet. Mostly a weak rice beer that is wet. Ditto the wine.

The centerpiece of this museum is an ancient tomb unearthed in 1978.

The huge timbers covering it since 430 B.C. are incredibly intact. Inside was the remains of the Marquis Teng and 13 of his concubines. There were thousands of artifacts, much of  them musical, zithers, flutes, drums, whistles. Bells that could produce two separate tones. Ancient musical scripts that are still used today.

The bronze work was extraordinary, very ornate and beautiful. Everything here is under glass and almost impossible to photograph with my meager skills and first digital point and shoot.

This is how the aristocracy served wine. From a vessel with dual handled dippers.

The dippers were made of bronze and gold.

Much talented ancient Chinese craftsmen made these  intricate carved legs and decorations in bronze.  This vessel has an inner bowl so that ice or hot water could surround the food to keep it warm or cool on the serving table. And we thought that was a fairly modern idea.

The ancients had developed a special lacquer ware then as well.

Of all the finds, the unique utensils, grand pots and intricate bronze work, is a gold and bronze triple bell. No two tones are the same.

On this sophisticated triple bell, musicians can play Ode to Joy, by Beethoven and Adelweiss.   Harry, our city guide, sings Adelweiss for us in a very silvery voice to demonstrate the versatility of this amazing bell.

I found it interesting that this ancient bell looks like those of later centuries. The pattern carried  through many generations. Later in the evening, we attend a concert on a replica set of bells as those found in the tomb.

During the concert, the musicians played typical Chinese music, but also demonstrated classical music from Irving Berlin and other composers. What a trip to see another what is considered “8th Wonder of the World” this magnificent bell.

There is also a legend that got started about the tomb, Harry tells us. It was opened in the dead of winter with snow on the ground, and somehow the story got started that a couple of butterflies hatched and flew from the tomb when it warmed up.

From Vicki we got a list of movies  about China considered very good. Balzar, The Little Chinese Seamstress, Raise the Red Lantern, Mostly Martha, Zellany. Also the book River Town. I thought Keys To The Kingdom was a fascinating look at China through the eyes of a priest.  Also made into a movie.

Tomorrow, another UNESCO city.



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Most people didn’t know his last name. They fondly called him Buggy Bill.  He died unexpectedly at age 63. Murphys has lost an icon.

When I first met him, about 30 years ago, his horse and buggy was just a dream.  He had just arrived in town with an acquaintance from Nevada where he worked driving a chemical truck. They set up housekeeping on her property way out on Ponderosa road where there was no electricity or running water. He loved horses, the leather, the times. He would say, “I was born too late.”  He went to work mending fences for  John Davies Ranch, at first.

He was visible in town with the same battered hat and an old battered pick-up. Over the years, he built his dream. He bought horses,  broken down buggies that he lovingly fixed. He didn’t  deck himself out like a cowboy. Bill looked the same in this picture from 2009 as when I first met him all those years ago.

He liked it when little kids rode in his buggy and petted the horses. For a long time, he had a white  horse  named  Pepper,  half blind, with only one eye.  It amazed him that  some  kids had never seen a horse up close enough to touch one. He didn’t make much money, but it was what he loved doing. Some years, during fair time, he was hired to taxi dignitaries around the steep grounds in a larger buggy with a team of horses. If he was hired to do a wedding, he decked out the buggy with white ribbons to carry the  bride to the hotel, or Kautz winery to meet the groom.  I can’t imagine how many rides he has given over the years. And, he had his problems. For many years he parked in front of the Murphys Hotel. A new owner wanted him gone and considered him a nuisance. He appealed to the Board of Supervisors and they designated his business as a cab,  and provided a parking place away from the hotel’s main entrance, for cabs only. After three years, the owner put dining tables in the garden adjacent to the hotel, then claimed the horse drew flies.  Bill was again relocated in front of the water company building.

Like everyone else, I’ll miss Bill. It  won’t seem right  without  him on the streets of Murphys on weekends, giving rides to tourists.  His son Zac lived with his dad and went to Bret Harte High School for one year in the 1980’s. He and my daughter became good friends. We will get together on Sunday at the Nugget,  Bill’s favorite watering hole,  and hoist a warm beer, (his favorite drink) and salute his long tenure as the last remaining remnant of a past life. If he were still with us I would tell him,  YOU WERE NOT BORN TOO LATE.

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Last year Jim transferred his slides and family photos to digital format by scanning them and saving them on his computer. When we visited his family this year, in August, he gave a slide show of family pictures. Now he is scanning my family photos to my computer so that I can do the same.

I have an original of this photo of my great grandfather and his siblings. The French way is to leave a space for a loved one deceased as you can see in the back row.

About 15 years ago, I took my 35 millimeter camera and zeroed in on individuals in the picture using 400 speed film with a 55 millimeter lens. My equipment was not expensive, professional stuff, but they turned out quite well and scanned well, too. I like the idea of getting a closer view of my ancestors faces.

In 2004, at a family reunion, my cousin allowed me to choose from among her mother’s pictures and had them made for me. They were beautiful black and whites. I hadn’t looked at them in several years and much to my dismay, discovered they were like proofs, beginning to fade and chemically turn purple. I have no idea where she had them done but the paper seems to be quality photo paper. My point is, check your vintage photos. Since digital arrived on the scene, computerized photo reproduction may not be as stable as in the old days.

Some of the snap shots are quite small. Even so, they show up quite well on a full computer screen, and better yet on your television.
When Jim did his family slide show, he hooked his computer to their family television set. Without too much difficulty, most newer television sets will accept a connection. Then the family enjoyed the show together.

Color pictures are also digitally rewarding. There was a time when I would have considered this method of rescuing pictures as inadequate because I envisioned losing them in cyber space. Now, I know different. I can actually edit them in a computer program and enhance the originals, yet your computer saves both the originals and the enhancement. I haven’t done that with any of these family photos, but I have recently learned to do that with my current photos and I like the improvements.
Plus, you can save then to a disc where the pictures do not tear or fade and hand them out to other family members economically. You can print them out from your disc and also give a slide show from the disc inside your computer. Be warned that anything saved on a disc needs to be re-saved in 10 or so years. Disc quality is not yet permanent, although I’ve been told there is an archival quality disc now available.

Saving your old and current photos on computer into separate “albums” allows you to be creative and separate a temporary “show” from a permanent one; to view a specific event like your grand kids soccer game, or a graduation or wedding. You can selectively mix pictures from one event with another event if you choose.  And, my last point is using the digital picture frame. I never thought I’d want to program a limited number of pictures into it and watch them cycle all day over and over again. I was so wrong. I love my digital picture frame and I don’t sit it on the mantel and let it cycle all day. I download my photos on these cheap little flash drives, ($5.), and plug it into the frame. One day I might enjoy the horses and puppies, etc. at Michele Boulets’ rescue ranch. Or another day watch the beautiful glass pieces from the Sandwich glass museum cycle by; or laugh at the Halloween costumes my kids wore when they were little.

I hadn’t dug out my albums in years. Now I’m enjoying my pictures so much more.

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