One Wedding and a Funeral

Spent more time in churches last week than I have in years.

The first event was a funeral in St Joseph’s Catholic church for the sister of my old friend Brian. A sad occasion, as are all funerals, but uplifting in many ways.

Moyna was elderly and had been in poor health for some years. But she had a full life, growing up on a small farm in South Australia, eventually becoming a well-known piano player, living, working and teaching at various times in Adelaide, Canada, and Melbourne, before returning to Adelaide.

Brian told us of evenings at home on the farm when the family made its own entertainment with family members singing and playing various instruments, often to the delight of local friends and visitors. Moyna first played in public at the age of 12 as the subsitute pianist in her local church. She played for dances during the war, and later played in various bands and small combos.

As usual, I enjoyed the mass. I love the ritual, the theatre, the glorious old words resonating in the spaces and down the years.

The second was an Anglican affair in St Andrew’s: the marriage of my niece (my wife’s sister’s daughter). One of the most genuinely happy weddings I’ve been to. The bride and groom are a bit older (34 and 40) and combined modern and traditional elements in their ceremony and reception. A black tie affair, the theme was ‘vintage’, with bride, bridesmaids and m.o.b. looking great in 1930s style gowns and outfits. Again the ceremony was rich and warm in an elegant venue.

Hmmm, this was going to be a piece about the nature of ritual, the language of religion and the spiritual experience. Instead it’s turning into something from the social pages. Oh well, let’s go with the flow.

The reception was at Kooyonga Golf Club, where both bride and mother are keen players. The groom still can’t believe his luck that his new wife is a fanatical sports person and loves her golf. Added to which she is stunning looking and a successful business women. I’ve rarely seen a new husband looking so genuinely happy, and like the cat that got the cream. At times he was almost incoherent with joy. Entertaining speeches from the bride, groom, best man and father of the bride. The band “Wintercherry” got the upmarket crowd dancing with an eclectic mix of old favourites and uptempo newer stuff.

All-in-all, a good night.

Good night.

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