The Nuptial Vultures

Nuptial Vultures

So I went to a Ukrainian wedding. I trained for this by singing with a German chorus for several years, and surviving the dinner dances that followed their concerts, though I forebore to mention anything about this to the celebrants; the bride’s mother had told me years back about Wehrmacht soldiers billeted in her house when she was seven. Still, if you have danced with a good whack of booze in you while someone worked the squeezebox, you are prepped for this kind of thing. One of the guests bent in toward me and the Engineer later and congratulated us on being able to keep up.

Eastern Rite Catholic wedding traditions are something to witness. Most of the service is sung. The priest could have given aces and spades to the choir’s entire tenor section, and I think we have all heard that Saint Paul cantrip about Love Is Patient And Kind enough times to make our eyes glaze over, but I’d never heard it done in Gregorian style, about the only part of the service that was in English. Foliage was everywhere.

The church was a little traditional keepsake box built entirely of timbers — I think the bride told me there was not a nail in it, old country craftsmanship — surrounded by new growth woods north of the city. As we approached it, looking for the entrance, two vultures settled on the roof tree. While we watched, they scrabbled around on the slope of the roof shingles several times, using their wings for lift.

I do not know the significance of this as a wedding omen. I’m going to go with one of those counterintuitive “good luck” things, like the Italian tradition if a bird shits on you. Maybe it’s a thing and they live there like the ravens at the Tower. I’m just kind of afraid to ask.


No One Knows How To Dance Any More

Presidents and Vice Presidents have way too much to do as it is, so probably it is churlish for me to observe that neither the Obamas nor the Bidens seem to have managed much past a display of closing-the-bar slow dancing at the inaugural balls.

After the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Cabinet and who all else I guess it would be excessive to expect our Commander in Chief and his deputy to spend time with Arthur Murray.

But on the other hand, I once learned to plattl in a hurry (the guy step, not the girl step; don’t ask me to do it today) for a New Year’s Eve panto performance, so you would think even a politician could learn to, oh I don’t know, box step?