Today, May 18, 2011, I’m please to bring you the first of my promised Travel Blogs. Cedar and I left Denver International Airport a week ago yesterday, a mere three days after our wedding. As some of you know, our division of labor was—Cedar organized the wedding weekend, while I planned the six-week honeymoon tour to follow. Today I’ll write only about the former. By all accounts a huge success, it began with a Friday-afternoon trip to the hand-made carousel in Nederland, a charming mountain town thirty minutes from Boulder. That evening our bright, beautiful triathlete goddaughter, Robyn Knowlan, organized a memorable 90-birthday celebration for Mother Barstow at the ever-hospitable Kanniganti-Klinke’s Ahimsa Platz. (We were blessed with Mother’s quiet, loving presence for two weeks prior to the wedding weekend.) The next morning, Saturday, began with our Subud spiritual exercise for visiting and local members. Next came a 10-2 Open House featuring home-made vegetable soup and Breadworks breads courtesy of our housemates Doug and Jack. The pièce de resistance of course was the interreligious wedding ceremony at St. John’s Episcopal Church in downtown Boulder. Some 170 people packed the sanctuary as Cedar and I followed our eight Flower Children down the aisle. Seven little girls, each adorned with a pink straw hat Cedar had bought, presented a rose to Robyn or my daughter Christine, who then stated which virtue of living as a couple that flower represented. Roan Kanniganti-Klinke, the male presence among the children, was our ring-bearer.
The service itself combined prayers and blessings from the Anglican Book of Common Prayer authoritatively delivered by Fr. Ted Howard, the church’s associate rector, together with the vows we had written, a short message by Cedar’s good friend the Rev. Dr. Marni Harmony, and brief concluding blessings by Magid Charna Rosenholtz, the Rev. Marti McMane, Heather Starsong, Gayan Long, the Rev. Rohana Laing, and Dr. Rohini Kanniganti from the Jewish, United Church of Christ, Earth Spirituality, Sufi, Subud, and Hindu traditions, respectively. The parish organist, Brian Du Fresne, provided classical organ accompaniments to the processional and recessional as well as a prelude while the church filled and, after the service, an exciting carillon of bells as Cedar and I walked the gauntlet of happy friends and family members outside the church who showered us with rose petals courtesy of Heather Starsong. Rafia Rebeck and Gayan Long next involved three circles of us in doing two Sufi Dances of Universal Peace under the 80-degree afternoon sun. Then we entered the Parish Hall, beautifully decorated by Sarah Hartzell, Amina Knowlan, Robyn Knowlan, Lawrence Pevec, and helpers, where Margaret Pevec, Laurie Adato, and company presented a delicious meal of poached salmon with green sauce, quiche, and strawberry salad together with a variety of home-made pies courtesy of friends. Entertainment was provided by our 60s Rock Choir, its brilliant director Mike Cappo, the mother-daughter singing duo of Amina and Robyn, singer Sophia Bennett (formerly of the New Christie Minstrels), and Merlin’s Assistant aka Dan Barstow, who did a marriage-appropriate set of magic tricks with his silver rings. During a half-hour Open Mike, friends and family toasted us with champagne and said things both loving and witty to send us on our way. The entire program was masterfully emceed by Magid Charna, without whom Cedar and I never would have met. Finally, around 9 pm Sarah and crew restored the room to its original condition, with some heavy vacuuming by our sister-in-law Linda Barstow. Throughout, a half dozen photographers led by Hilarie Kavanaugh documented everything. The weekend’s concluding activity, then, occurred Sunday morning, when Khalil, Rabiya, and family opened the Tangier Restaurant to some 36 of us for a Moroccan feast. Cedar and I as well as brother Dave and sister-in-law Linda Barstow were duly decked out in Maghribi finery. I should note that my long-time family friend Rachel Jones, from Asheville, NC, along with my daughter Christine helped with lots of details throughout the weekend. Altogether, some three dozen people volunteered to make our wedding weekend both affordable and lovely, and over 40 friends and family from out of town honored us with their presence. After brunch, finally, we went home to begin preparations for our trip, about which I’ll start blogging next Wednesday. Meanwhile, love and gratitude from Kapadokya (Cappadocia), Central Anatolia, Turkey from Cedar and yours truly, Ren Ruslan