Jesus told us that we must be ready when God comes for us. He said each of us should be like a servant whom his master, on coming from a wedding, finds watching. That might remind you of another of his stories: the one where ten virgins who were waiting for a wedding party were delayed so long that five of their lamps ran out of oil. Those two stories, and others like them, could start you wondering why it took so long to get home from a wedding.
The answer to that was that every wedding had two banquets; the first one wasin the bride’s village, and the second in the groom’s. People would not set out for the second banquet until they had ran out of food and drink at the first banquet. I know that because it was the same way in Korea where I officiated at over a hundred weddings between 1954 and 1965.
Let me tell you about the first of them. In November of 1954 while I was visiting the village of Do-Moon, I overheard the chief Catholic from the Myung-ji-col telling the chief Catholic of Do-Moon about a girl who was ready for marriage. The chief Catholic from Do-Moon had a boy whom he said should suit her. So, I watched them then and there draw up the papers for a wedding of those two in May of 1955.
That year I had an illegal Army jeep I was soon to lose; but in May of 1955, after waiting two days for the people to finish that first banquet, I drove out there to perform the Catholic ceremony. The bride had been secluded, but when the partying cooled down, she came out in white with a small lipsticked mouth.
After the ceremony, the groom’s companions took off on mountain paths, determined to reach Do-Moon before the bride and groom and I made it in my illegal jeep. The bride, In getting into the back seat moved my 12 gauge shotgun up beside me. The boy was jabbering away about the wonderful foods prepared for the banquet in his village.
Then, suddenly, at the five mile mark, the bride, who all day had not been allowed to say anything but her “I do,” cried out, “Gwong!” That was pheasants. She had spotted a covey of them out on a paddy recently cleared of its rice.
She pushed the shotgun into my hands, and forgetful of her wedding dress, she hustled me out, and then she joined me in the chaise across the fields. My downing a bird would have been the big thrill of her wedding day, but I’m sorry to say, I didn’t bang one. When we reached Do-Moon for the second of the banquets, everyone was asking what had taken us so long.
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