My Big, Fat Pig Wedding
Bark and I planned a simple, elegant wedding. Since we'd already broken tradition by purchasing a house and moving in together, we also wanted to pay for our own wedding. Our budget was small, however, so we decided to hold the ceremony and reception at home.
The wedding would take place in mid-May. If our Pacific Northwest climate
cooperated, we'd exchange vows in our backyard, amid fallen apple and cherry blossoms. If it rained that day, all sixty-five guests would end up crammed in our small living and dining rooms.
More worrisome than the weather, though, was family. Most of them hadn't met and we didn't know whether the elder members of my Caucasian family would mingle with my Asian fiancé's relatives. As far as I knew, my British-born grandfather had never socialized with anyone from China. Also, Bark's grandfather was only one of several Chinese relatives who didn't speak English.
Truthfully, not everyone approved of our marriage. I knew we couldn't hope to change attitudes at one wedding, yet if we could provide opportunities to break down some barriers, then it would be a start.
A few members of Bark's family were disappointed we wouldn't serve the customary twelve-course banquet usually presented at Chinese weddings. Bark assured them, though, that the caterer would have plenty of sumptuous dishes.
On the morning of our big day, I anxiously looked at the clouds. As the day progressed, my plans unfolded beautifully, and by noon the house was spotless. Colorful flower baskets hung in our sunroom, red wine waited to be uncorked, and Mozart tapes sat near the stereo. All I had to do was finish dressing before the guests arrived at 1:00.
When two cars stopped in front of our house shortly after noon, I was applying makeup in my underwear. Bark went to see what was going on. A minute later he returned.
"Deb, you've got to see this."
I peeked out the bathroom window and watched two unfamiliar Asian men lift a
red wooden platform out of the trunk of their car. Lying on the platform was an enormous … roasted … PIG? My eyes widened in horror. The head was still on the beast, and they were bringing it up the steps to our front door.
Members of Bark's family emerged from the second car, carrying boiled
chickens and roasted ducks. I didn't look to see if the heads were still attached. I didn't want to know.
"Where are we going to put the pig?" I asked Bark. "The kitchen counter isn't big enough and the table's covered with wine glasses."
"I don't know."
"We've already ordered tons of food."
"I guess they wanted to make sure that pork, duck, and pig would be served
at the wedding," Bark replied. "Those foods are believed to bring good luck."
Funny, I wasn't feeling lucky.
More cars were arriving, I was still in my underwear and my house was being overtaken by a fat, crispy, brown pig. What was I supposed to do? Hand everyone a bib and tell them to chow down? I hadn't even rented fingerbowls. I finished dressing
The pig wound up on our kitchen floor, surrounded by newspapers and pieces
of cardboard. At this point, I desperately wanted a soothing cup of tea, but the porker was blocking access to my kettle.
More guests arrived, commenting on the delicious odor permeating the house. It didn't take them long to discover the uninvited guest on my floor. In fact, the pig rapidly became a conversation piece.
At 2:00, the ceremony began. As we were pronounced man and wife, the sun
broke through and the afternoon grew warm, but few people stayed in the blossom-carpeted outside. They all went inside … to see the pig.
One of Bark's relatives, a butcher by profession, used his meat cleavers to cut with an expertise that had guests from both sides of the family spellbound. And pig grease splattered my once-spotless floor.
Business associates, friends, and more relatives drifted to the kitchen to watch. As the meat was carved into bite sized pieces and transferred onto aluminum plates, people smiled and began chatting with one another. By the time the butcher finished, the caterers arrived and our dining room was soon overflowing with food and budding friendships.
The new camaraderie gathered momentum all afternoon. Over piles of succulent pork, our accepting families were talking and laughing with one another like-old friends.
I guess that big fat pig brought good luck after all.
Debra Purdy Kong
Reprint by permission, Chicken Soup for the Bride's Soul
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