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Attending A World Event. . .In The Backyard

September 16, 2019

Have you ever done something for the first time? What am I saying? Of course you have. But, have you ever done something that was the first time it had ever been done?

When I was in the 5th grade, my teacher, Mr Mickelson walked from the back of the room to the water fountain and took a drink. He then told us,

What I’ve just done has never been done before. And will never be done again. Never again will there be these exact kids in this room and the earth in its exact location.

He was trying to explain the nature of the universe. It worked. Forty years later, I still remember what he said and more importantly, what he meant.

But, nearly everything we do has been done before. My son hopes to score a touchdown in a football game one day. I’ve told him that when he does, “to act like you’ve been there before.” But, the truth is that a million touchdowns have been scored.

I’ve had the chance to watch three of my children be born. There’s nothing like it in the world. It’s a unique and special event. And it’s happened billions of times before.

But, what if you could attend a truly unique event? A once in a lifetime, a once in the history of the world event? Would you even recognize it?

I attended just such an event last Saturday. My cousin Nick got married.

Marriages, of course are not unique. There have been as many marriages as babies, probably. But, it was not your ordinary wedding. It was a traditional Persian wedding. That’s also not unique, of course. There have been millions of Persian weddings throughout history.

My cousin is not of Persian descent. He married someone who was. His husband’s family is from Iran. Yes, it was a gay wedding. I would imagine there have been very few gay, Persian weddings. Muslim influences and Persian influences are heavily intertwined. The Muslim religion is vehemently anti-gay.

But, there is certainly the possibility that two men or two women who were raised in Persian families chose to get married. My cousin’s husband is also a Trans man. He was born a woman and transitioned to being male.

The odds of there having been another traditional Persian gay wedding where one groom was trans?

Yeah, I’m going to go ahead and say that’s probably not happened more than a couple of times if at all. . .ever.

My cousin’s best friend was part of the wedding ceremony. The friend is an active Mormon, as I am. Another cousin also attended the wedding. She’s an active Catholic. (The Catholic and Latter-day Saint churches do not have a history of pro-LGBTQ policies.) Even more uniqueness. And the wedding officiator was a woman. She joked that her uncle called her a mullah. It was a funny joke, even if I don’t understand it.

I have never been to a gay wedding. I wasn’t sure what to expect. It was a wonderful experience. The grooms were in contrasting green and purple vests under conservative suits. The groomsmen matching them. The people in attendence were a wonderful eclectic mix of dress, ethnicity and gender.

I’ve also never been to a Persian wedding. There’s a spot in the ceremony where members of the crowd who are in stong relationships are invited to come up and sprinkle sugar onto the canopy over the couple. (It’s way cooler than the way I’m describing it.)

You could not have asked for a nicer day for a wedding. It was sunny. Not too hot with a slight breeze. The venue was my aunt’s backyard.

I’ve spent a lot of time in that backyard. My aunt has concord grape vines. Each fall we pick a few bushels full and make a very thick grape juice. The grapes are currently ripe. Visiting after the wedding we even picked a few off the vine and ate them.

The reception, later that night was equally memorable. My cousin’s husband is a member of a community choir, the Salt Lake City Men’s choir. There was a flash mob that sang. There was karaoke. There was something called the Persian knife dance that involved lots of dancing women, a large knife and an awful lot of money changing hands.

I hope my cousin never gets remarried. He and his husband were together for the past ten years and I expect they will have a lifetime of happiness together. But, if by chance he does, I can pretty much guarantee he will never have another wedding like this.

I don’t think anyone ever has.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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