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'Let there be spaces in your togetherness'.

On our last Sunday in Australia, we went to the town of Pokolbin in Hunter Valley, a rural area north of Sydney known for its many wineries. It was a scenic two-hour drive.

We arrived at almost noon, checked in at our hotel, had lunch and got ready for the wedding of a grandniece.

Nicole and Andrew were married in Peppers Creek Chapel, a simple wooden structure in the middle of a vast vineyard.

The bride was gorgeous in a form-fitting white lace gown, her veil billowing in the cool late spring breeze that blew all evening, making it necessary for us to either bundle up or have a second or third glass of bubbly.

The little chapel was filled to capacity with about a hundred guests. A lone guitar played romantic, almost danceable tunes while we waited for the bride. The handsome groom looked nervous standing with his father and the deacon at the altar.

The mother of the bride was stunning. Anna practically grew up with my children in Honolulu. She has always owned a huge part of my heart. Her grandson William, adorable in linen trousers, suspenders, a white linen top, Burberry bowtie, loafers and a Scottish cap, walked in after her.

The bride was radiant. Nicole is a carbon copy of her mother. She walked in on the arm of her good-looking dad Brenton, her eyes only for Andrew, her buddy since they were teens.

It was beautiful, romantic.

The reception at the Barrel Room was a joyous celebration. Along one wall was a cavernous fireplace adorned with fresh flowers and lush greens, and lit up with numerous candles. A trio played dance music.

Dinner was exquisite. There were speeches of welcome and thanksgiving. The father of the bride spoke about his 'baby girl.' The groom's dad recounted their escape from war-ravaged Lebanon when Andrew was barely a teen. It was a sad tale with a happy ending. It was everything a wedding should be. And more.

Oh no, not again!

I was away a month. I had forgotten. But here we are in the middle of yet another campaign. All over media, social and otherwise, I see faces I thought I would never see again running for office. I thought for sure they would not have the nerve.

But I underestimated the shamelessness of the overambitious. All right, I will grant that a few, a handful at best, may deserve your vote.

I hoped that after all the intrigues and scandals they would crawl into a corner in shame. But they have the audacity to again pretend to be squeaky-clean. Never mind promises not kept, penance not done, or debts not paid.

Save the date!

If anything at all, this event may make you stop Googling your symptoms. You do it too, right? Come on, confess.

'Be in the Know,' a breakfast forum, will be held on Nov. 17 at 9 a.m. at the Manila Polo Club. It will feature guest speakers Dr. Chia Yin Nin and Dr. Benjamin Tow.

Dr. Chia is a gynecologic oncologist at Gleneagles Hospital, Singapore. She will discuss the prevention and treatment strategies of cervical cancer based on her expertise in the screening of cancer and precancer gynecological diseases.

Dr. Tow is an orthopedic and spine surgeon from Mt. Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore. He will talk about common problems involving the shoulder, neck, back and knee. He specializes in treating degenerative conditions of the spine, deformity surgery and pediatric orthopedic cases.

QandA and possible consult will follow breakfast.

Tickets are at P600. Proceeds are earmarked for Assumption Mission Schools.

The event is held under the auspices of Manila Polo Club and Parkway Hospitals Singapore in partnership with Assumption High School Class of 1971.

Call 0918-9227102.

More 'I dos'

It seems that among the latest trends for young couples are 'destination weddings.' My granddaughter in Florida has chosen a barn in Georgia six hours away for her big day. A grandniece was wed in Bali.

I'm happy that my granddaughter Alexandra and her beloved Chris have chosen to walk down the aisle at his lola's sprawling property in Alabang.

Now I panic. What to wear! I must go on a diet. I need smear-proof mascara. I am a mess at weddings.

In Hunter Valley, I wept. The groom's sister read from Khalil Gibran's 'The Prophet.' And the lines that once upon a time seemed enigmatic to me suddenly made perfect sense.

Listen:

'Let there be spaces in your togetherness, and let the winds of the heavens dance between you.

'Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.'

'Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.

'And stand together yet not too near together for the pillars of the temple stand apart, and the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.'

I don't know what it was that made the words resonate so deeply in my heart. But it startled me. The tears came. And memories imprisoned in my soul were finally set free.
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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Nov 11, 2018
Words:995
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