(Originally posted on Saturday, September 17, 2005)

After the civil ceremony, which took place in the home village of Isti’s parents, Ahnatal, those present adjourned to the home church of Isti’s mother. A number of Isti’s relatives from Hungary were present for both the civil ceremony and a small reception for the new couple. The Hungarians had made a special soup and a luncheon meal was catered.

This was my first time to meet and mingle with these relatives. We were faced by a dilemma: they only spoke Hungarian (Magyar) and Grace, Heather and I spoke English! This made any conversation difficult. Any dialog with them needed to be through appropriate facial or body language or via either Isti or his mother who would go from Hungarian to German to English. Consequently, two basic groups were isolated during this get together… Those who spoke English and those who spoke Hungarian!
But the luncheon food was great. I was provided an excellent offering of fish, chicken, vegetables, and pasta that had been fixed without salt, so I could partake of the celebration within the bounds of my diet. Tasha was extremely considerate on this point and watched over me like a ‘mother hen’ to make sure that I was cared for…

After the meal, many of us meandered out to the front of the church for conversation and fresh air. At least until it started to drizzle! The weather had been nice during the civil ceremony with the sun shining nicely for the event, but then the showers came…

This reception had not been initially planned by Tasha, but was added by Isti’s mother. This made it a somewhat awkward event; it seemed that it emerged as an event to focus on Isti’s side of the family, but it did give us an opportunity to meet them all before the church ceremony the following day. However, this event placed additional stress on Tasha, which was almost too much for her… She handled it pretty well.

After the luncheon, Isti’s mom had everyone gather in the small church’s sanctuary for a brief time of prayer; this was unplanned, but a nice touch. The church was a very modern building, very much like the small Catholic Church (Our Lady of Perpetual Help) in Riverside where Grace and I had attended a wedding of one of her co-workers several years ago… It almost seemed out of place in Germany, however! In this land of historic, awe-inspiring churches, this modern church seemed out of place.

Tasha had initially planned to have her religious service in this church, but found out very late in the planning that the regular service of this church was on Saturday afternoon! I had not seen the church where she would be getting married yet, but from what I had been told it was quite a historic church, first built in the twelfth century. After this informal reception, Grace & Heather would go with Tasha and AnaMarie to visit both the church and the reception hall. I would hear more about it later in the day…

After the reception, Rudi drove me back to the Mövenpick to rest. He also needed to rest before the evening’s festivities for family and close friends at a little Brauhaus ‘Zum Rammelsberg’ in Kassel. In the meantime, Grace accompanied Tasha to see the church and reception hall, as indicated above. Grace shared her experiences with me after returning. She had been very impressed with the church, but seemed somewhat less than impressed with the reception hall, Sommerhalle ‘Am Burghain’ in Naumburg/Hessen.

That evening, we took a cab to the Brauhaus for the evening’s get-together. It was a ‘real’ German eatery and we dined on good German food and sampled the local German wines and ‘Bier’. In addition to the family, many of Tasha & Isti’s friends joined the celebration. This included some of Tasha’s friends from school and Haike and her companion from Berlin…

I finally had an opportunity to meet Heike who had been Grace’s host when she went to Germany for Christmas in 2002 to visit Tasha in Berlin. Grace had always gone on about how beautiful she was, but I believe that Grace was not overshadowed one bit by Heike. My Gracie is both beautiful and elegant!

Anyway, we had a free-flowing interaction with many of the guests. Fortunately, we avoided any major confrontations with Tasha, although one almost arose over changing hotels for the reception the next night. Grace’s experience in traveling the narrow, country roads on the way to the church and reception hall had made her think twice about staying out in the ‘boonies’…

After all, we had two very large suitcases, my walker, and other things to move. The little car we had rented would have required two trips to take everything there and then bring it back. That would have detracted from the joy of the day. We finally worked out a plan to leave our suitcases at our present hotel for the one night that we would be out of Kassel, and just take what we needed for the wedding. Disaster averted!

In the next installment we will share our move to the countryside and go on to the beautiful church wedding ceremony itself…

Jerry