Thursday, August 19, 2010

You came to Oakland to get married? Why?

Couples come to the Clerk Recorder's building to buy a marriage license and are surprised to learn they can marry right then. The clerk asks, "Do you have a witness?"  And the couple says,"No."  Many think we will provide a witness but we don't.  So they are sent through the lobby looking for a nice person to be a witness.  We also send them to our little cafe. The funds from this cafe support a program for teenagers who have turned 18 and can no longer be in the foster care program.  The teenagers work in the cafe to get a certificate for food services. 

My first bride and groom were in their 50s.  They had no witness so I sent them to the cafe. C agreed to witness and went up with us.  After the wedding they gave C some $10 bills.  That was huge to him.  And I am thankful for couples like this one.

The next couple managed to tick me off before I met them.  I called their names over and over in both lobbies.  No answer.  I yelled last call and said the names again.  I started back to my desk and the couple sauntered up and said here we are.  I had stood next to them a couple of times calling their names.  What is wrong with people?

Couple three was very interesting to me.  The bride was from Argentina by way of San Jose.  The groom was from Pikeville, KY.  This town is way up in the mountains from Corbin where I grew up.  Way up there.  It was nice to talk to some one who sounds just like I do. 

SIDEBAR:  And speaking of Kentucky, there are foods Marty and I miss from there.  California has wonderful food.  But sometimes you just need Southern cooking and you don't wanna do it yourself.

The next couple was from the South also, Mississippi and Louisiana.  I jokingly said, "We need to talk food. You just can't find good ribs, pulled pork, string beans . . ."  And the bride said, "You need to come to our restaurant."  She gave me a menu, said they deliver free, even in the Oakland Hills where we live. When she told me that, I hugged her and told her I loved her. Hardly any one delivers up here.  I am so excited.  I plan to call some afternoon and order ribs, and beans, and potato salad, some barbecued chicken and then we will pig out.  Of course we have our fingers crossed that the food is good.  It does have good reviews on Yelp.  Oh, I did marry the two of them.

The clerk brought me the last license.  The bride lived in Paris, France.  The groom lived in Paris, France.  The witness lived in Paris, France.  Interesting.  When we got in the elevator I said, "There has to be a story here.  If you live in Paris the most romantic place in the world, why are you marrying in Oakland?"  The groom said, " Too many relatives in France."  They thought San Francisco was a romantic city, so they wanted to be married there.  They planned the trip, went to City Hall in San Francisco to marry, and got shot down.  You have to make an appointment to be married there, weeks and weeks ahead.  Alameda County is the only place in the 9 county area that doesn't require appointments.  So this lovely couple ended up in Oakland, CA to be married by me.  

Wednesday was a fun day.  Interesting couples.  A lead to Southern food.  I think I'll go back and do it all over again on Monday.

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