My parents were married last weekend in a lovely little ceremony in one of Tulare, California's two Catholic churches. Yes, they were married already, but not in the eyes of the Church, a point that has lately become vitally important to my dad. He wanted this so badly, so earnestly, that The Engineer and I even refrained from making cracks about the burden of growing up in a small town as bastards. This was no small feat, holding back the quips. The Engineer and I are legendary smartasses.
It was a lovely, ceremony, custom-made for my mom, who is still not Catholic, and my dad, who can no longer kneel on command. Father Rick did a wonderful job of accommodating them and making all of us - Catholics, Methodists and atheists, gay and not gay, young and old - feel welcome and included. Our family beamed proudly from the pews as The Engineer, Big Guy and I stood up for our parents and saw them married.
And then this happened.
Here's the thing. If you put me a room with a bunch of loonies, I'll naturally become the straight woman. Nothing I like better than standing back and making wry observations about people as they make asses of themselves. I like it when events have something that makes them memorable. When it seems like there's no chance of that happening, when everything seems like it's going to be staid and, well, ordinary, it triggers something in me.
When yet another group was gathering behind my flash-addled parents, that something fired. "Oh for God's sake! Why don't we ALL get in the picture at the same time? You don't like how you look in pictures? I'll fix it so that nobody's looking at you, then. Problem solved!"
I come by this trait honestly, and through a woman who had been dead some fifty years when I was born. Guess which one of these women is my grandmother? Yes, that would be her on the right, Miss Grace Loinaz. For the longest time, this was the only picture of her that we had.
A couple of years ago, we found my grandfather's photo album and came across this picture. My dad's sister Madeleine is pretty sure that this is also Grace. Wearing a man's clothes. Backwards.
My father and Aunt Matt weren't old enough when she died to remember anything about her. Anyone else who might have known her has long since passed beyond the vale. These pictures of Grace are all that we have of her.
I think I would have liked her. I hope she would have liked me.