Poetry & Writing

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Chinese Wedding In Vegas

George didn't want an Elvis impersonator at our wedding.

His eighty-year old parents, from the heart

of the Bible Belt, wouldn't understand.

Joplin, Missouri was a dull place

that was a boring drive from other places

just as dull, and his parents had never attended

any of their children’s weddings. But us moving

the date up and eloping to Las Vegas skipped over

obstacles—the Chinese banquet, with the best

that money can buy, picking our pockets clean.

Since his parents were hurtling towards Vegas

for a military reunion, George, forty-three

and no longer waiting for his life to begin,

developed a bittersweet yearning to bring the wedding

to them—meet them halfway. When I told my parents

about the instant-wedding shack and motel

right off the strip—without inviting them—

my father booked flights and accommodations

for the extended family. We don't want

your new mother- and father-in-law to think

you're an unwanted child.

                                          The families converged,

days later, in front of a 30-foot salad bar,

my father buying lunch for everyone. My tight-lipped

mother, who didn't speak English, pointed out

that George's mother, half Cherokee, looked

Asian, her black hair slicked into a glistening helmet.

Did she actually give birth to him? His father,

the Lt. Colonel, in full uniform, snow-white hair

cropped short, wanted us to pray together,

while his mother, asked if I knew the Lord, Jesus

Christ, Our Savior. The whole time, Grandma waved

for someone to take her picture next to her favorite

slot machine. When his parents handed us the basket—

used polyester pants, lawn shoes, and a spray-painted

gold candleholder—for our wedding gift,

everyone was puzzled. We didn’t know

it would be followed up a year later by a baby food jar

of old buttons.

                                                                        Priscilla Lee

George and me at the company party 2 months after we met.

May 1, 1997 George and me at our wedding.  
My wedding "dress" was a $50 house coat from Peking Bazaar in Chinatown. The skirt was from Old Navy.  George's jacket was one I got in the 1980's from Aaardvark's, a second-hand/vintage clothing store in the Haight. The wedding (I Do Package) at the Wedding Chapel at the Excalibur Hotel costs us $127
and we got a free bottle of bad champagne and 6 wedding photos.  My sister Sherilyn paid the $55 fee for the minister. He wasn't included as part of the package.
Incidently, the pose above is not a natural pose. It was damn uncomfortable.

A lot of Chinese like to have a wedding portrait taken in traditional Chinese wedding attire.  
Click the double-happiness character to see what I mean .

George and I decided to go the other route. We were in replicas of clothing worn during the renaissance period.

Grandma did get someone to take her picture in front of her favorite slot machine.

Meet Mr. and Mrs. Ripley as tiki mugs.
George makes wonderful blue cheese burgers with grained Dijon mustard.