Adonis Diaries

Monica-Lynn is wed to Samer: How Chevy Chase met Beit-Chabab?

Posted on: July 2, 2011

Monica-Lynn is wed to Samer:  How Chevy Chase met Beit-Chabab?

July 2, 2011

I attended the wedding of a relative of mine three weeks ago.  I also intended to write a piece on the wedding and I saved the title for later posting.  I was sidetracked by other articles to getting it  out.  I am reminded constantly that I have a draft to finish, and I am delivering.

Asaad and Nadia, the father and mother of Samer the groom, visited my parents to deliver the invitation.  I was not home.  Asaad and Nadia are from Beit-Chabab, the hometown of my parents: My dad is the uncle of Asaad from the mother side.  My parents were born in Beit-Chabab, though I was born in Bamako, the Capital of the African State Mali.

Actually, Samer met Monica in Bamako:  They both were working in Mali.

Samer works with his brother Shaker in Segou, a town that I visited for a couple of months in the early 80’s, and where my parents got wed, so long ago.

It was a harsh and dangerous travel for my parents from Lebanon to Mali after the end of WWII:  It took almost two months to reach destinations on rickety boats, rickety trains, rickety cars, rickety planes…

Just to reach the seaport of Marseilles (France) from Beirut the boat needed 3 weeks, and then waiting for a month for an available rickety plane to land in Senegal, and resuming the never ending trip to Segou by land. The captain of the boat predicted that mother would not make it: She was constantly seasick…

The beautiful and alert brunette bride Monica-Lynn was born in Chevy Chase (Maryland), just on the northern border with Washington DC. It also happened that I lived there for three years in the late 90’s and know Montgomery County street by street.

Monica-Lynn parents, Linda and Julian have been divorced for many years.  Julian lives in Dallas and Linda in New York City?

They attended the wedding of their unique daughter; the unique brother was here too, along with his fiancee.  Six other girl friends of Monica made the trip.  Masha, the air hostess, was the best girl, the one who signs as a witness to the marriage, performed in the Maronite Church of “The Great lady” of Beit Chabab.

My parents could not join the ceremony for health reasons, and I represented the family since I am still single.

Actually, my parents and I attended the wedding of Shaker, three years ago.  Shaker has a blonde boy by the name of Asaad (as custom goes to naming the first boy by the granddad name).

The wedding was to be held at 7 pm, an excellent timing for the hot season.  I arranged to be at the groom house at 6 pm to have my photo taken, with Monica and Samer, separately and at different location within the building.  The invitees flocked an hour before the official ceremony for the official photos at homes.

I chatted with the “American” guests who have been touring Lebanon for the last three days. It is Saturday, and all of them are to return to the US on Tuesday to “work”.

I forget names. There is a Theresa who is a civil engineer working in Detroit. There is the fiancee of Monica’s brother who is a administrator at Columbia University. (a university I visited twice). There is this lady who said she is known as Kaika (I guess) and who claimed that Monica considers her as her second mother.  There is another beautiful blonde who read the English version of St. Paul epistle (You know the lousy epistle on Jesus marrying the Church and that no power can divorce the bondage of a marriage done with Jesus or God…)

A band dressed in Lebanese ancient traditional attires played their instruments as the bride descended the stairs to go to church.

The groom had advanced the bride to receive her at the door of the church, 100 yards away.  Thus, we accompanied the bride in fanfare on foot.  In the yard of the church, the traditional band danced “dabket” and someone blew fire.

We attended mass and the priest read both versions in Arabic and English from the New Testament, and we had a choral (without the customary US organ setting…).

After the swapping of rings and vows, the closest relatives took photos with the newly wed in front of the altar.

Outside, we had extravagant fireworks.  The family lined up outside to receive congratulation, especially for those who might not attend the dinner party at the Delb Restaurant, five miles away, up by Bikfaya.

I had ride with Jihad and Nada, and was seated with the Bouhatab clan, on a long table, loaded with a variety of food “mezza”.  Fifteen minutes later, the newly wed arrived and were met by another dancing and singing band.

I encouraged the adolescent girls on my table to join the dancing floor.  We danced like crazy: The girls barely left the dancing floor:  I didn’t either, though I took time eating well of every dish and drinking whiskey.

The uncle of dad Jean from the mother side, and younger than dad of a few years, had a long glass of whiskey and was ready to go home after the glass was over.

It was pretty common in previous generation to still have children at older age, mother and daughter giving birth at the same time...and giving birth to dozen children, half of them dying in childbirth or shortly after.

It is still the custom to carry the groom and the bride on shoulders and dance with them. The tired newlywed are to be at the center of the floor most of the time, and we danced around them.

By the by, it gets confusing and order is relaxed.  The “american” girls got over their shyness and got crazy on the dancing floor: they even got wild on “Night Fever” too.

I think we left the party around 12:30 am.  Happy marriage to Monica-Lynn and Samer.  More of these multicultural weddings are needed in Lebanon.

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July 2011

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