GE weddings, exploring the Portland connection and a ‘Bloody Jackson’
The folks in Glen Ellen
Blue moons and August weddings
Today, let’s travel back to lovely August, ripe and golden with the warmth of a summer sun and the pleasant glow of wild oats.
Last August was one of those rare and exquisite months that feature a blue moon. The term refers to a month with two full moons, and that means a month of double blessings. As a child, I learned the simple prayer, “I see the moon and the moon sees me; God bless the moon and God bless me,” which I still repeat each full moon.
August’s double blessing was magnified even more when two wonderful weddings took place in our Valley, both involving Glen Ellen “kids,” one from a former scouting family of Glen Ellen and the other a former Westerbeke Ranch camper. Both of whom I fondly remember from back in the day.
Sebastian and Celine
On Aug. 18, Sebastian Parker, son of Christiane and David Parker of San Francisco and Glen Ellen, celebrated his marriage to his longtime sweetheart, Celine Alwyn, in a ceremony at his parents’ Glen Ellen home on Sonoma Mountain. Sebastian’s mother, who is best friends with Celine’s mother, laughingly shared that this was “not an arranged marriage,” though the union makes them both ever so happy.
Christane Parker, who is a well-known San Francisco dress designer and one of last year’s judges at the Sonoma Community Center’s Trashion Fashion Show, designed the bride’s dress, a lovely, form-fitting, formal length white dress with a skirt of flounced tiers edged in summer sunshine orange, echoed in Sebastian’s bright tie. Celine is a professional dancer, so the curvy tiers of swirling fabric enhanced and highlighted her graceful movement among the live oaks that dot the Parker’s property. Bride Celine also choreographed a dance performed by three of her friends before the ceremony. Later, the wedding party performed a Bollywood dance in honor of the Indian guests, included among wedding visitors from around the world.
Sebastian, a furniture designer, created bentwood sculptures for each table. The groom’s sister, Gabrielle Feuersinger, a San Francisco cake designer and baker, known to her happy clients as Gabby the Cake Coquette, created a collection of wedding cakes based on the art of California painter, Wayne Thiebaud. David Parker, papa of the groom, is a jazz musician who performs at clubs in San Francisco.
The happy couple, the new Mr. and Mrs. Parker, make their home in San Francisco.
Gabby creates Okinawan cake for Creekbottom critters
Another recent cake created by Gabby the Cake Coquette, was an amazing dragon complete with golden scales covering his entire body. Gabby’s Cake Coquette features an amazing array of artistic cakes. My fav? I fondly recall the memorable and beautiful cake that Gabby created for our son Gabriel and Hilary’s “welcome home to California” engagement party at Creekbottom House. That cake replicated the Okinawan design of Gabe and Hilary’s wedding invitations designed by his brother Schuyler, which was also the graphic design on Hilary’s wedding dress.
Blake and Megan
Another August wedding in Glen Ellen was on the 25th at K-2 Ranch on Trinity Road when Blake Rector exchanged vows with his sweetheart, Megan Klenow. Blake is the son of Paula and Bruce Rector, and Megan is the daughter of Jerry and Mary Klenow. The Rectors and the Klenows are well-known and populous Sonoma familes, so the guests numbered more than 250 – with Blake’s brother, Clark, and Megan’s sisters Erin, Lauren and Kristen, along with her friend Mary Sweeters, included in the wedding party. Along with his brother, Blake’s Sonoma County-raised groomsmen included Jason Barbose, Dan Donovan, Aidan Basinger, Ray LaVoy, Damien Teitelbaum and Brandon Beaver of Long Beach. Venus Happ of Glen Ellen was officiant, and sound engineer was Brendan Reiss of Kenwood.
Megan and Blake have known each other for many years, having met as youngsters at piano lessons. After a cross-country honeymoon, including attendance at two other weddings, Blake and Megan are back home in Portland. Ore., where Blake is pursuing his doctorate in applied math at Portland State University, while working as a teaching assistant and continuing projects for Itron, an energy measurement company. Megan has completed her board exams in pediatrics and will be employed by Randall Children’s Hospital at Legacy Emanuel.
Glen Ellen Eagle Scouts
My best memories of Blake are when he and Clark were Boy Scouts in Troop 63, though not in the pack that I led. We were the ones short on merit badges, they were the more industrious. Both Blake and Clark earned their Eagle Scout status and I remember speaking at their ceremony at the Sebastiani Theatre, feeling such honor to proclaim their achievements, which were many. It wasn’t that the boys in my pack (later run by Susie Joyce, Bill Crawford and Joe Donovan ) were less motivated, we just ended up doing other activities than ones that warranted badges. But, as I witnessed what the Rector boys accomplished to earn their badges, I was impressed. Few scouts go that far; it takes dedication, personal effort and willing adults to lend their experience.
We wish glorious Glen Ellen blessings on the new Rector and Parker couples.
Exploring a beautiful planet where blessings abound
The season of thankfulness didn’t end last Thursday. It’s only just begun. When we honor the blessings we receive with true gratitude, we follow the path of generous charity.
As for my own blessings: Admittedly they are many, beginning with family and community. Today, as I keyboard this column in beautiful Portland, Ore., I feel especially thankful that both of our sons and their lovely sweethearts live in gorgeous places: Sky and Amy Crawford near the Columbia River gorge, Gabe and Hilary Holbrow by the gorges of the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York. So, along with spending time with our “kids,” Sweetie and I can explore new parts of this beautiful planet.
I save up my generous column fees all year to visit family; Sweetie and I enjoy finding the bargain flights on interesting airlines: travelling off-hours, sans amenities: no food, one-drink service (water free!), no movie screens, not even a sound system. But, ah, blessed Mama Nature contributes towering clouds, wicked winds and turbulence worthy of entertainment enough to make the flight pass fleetingly.
Scouts FISHing in the Sonoma Valley, eating brown rice, giving thanks
As for the occasion for generous charity, this is the month to indulge that. My suggestion: begin with FISH, our local food bank, which provides the simple, life-giving basics that everyone needs: food, clothing and access to health care (via rides). I joined FISH some decades ago when my friend Evie Berger convinced me it was the right thing to do. Over the years, we’ve delivered food, given rides, rung the bell outside local markets and contributed funds and food.
One season, back when Schuyler and Gabriel were school boys and belonged to Cub Scouts, I held a dinner party for some of their scout friends and charged each guest whatever they wished to contribute from their own allowance. As they’d been warned, I served only brown rice and water while we talked about what it might be like to face hunger. Sounds grim, but we all had fun and games to make the meager fare a bit more palatable and the discussion acceptable. The boys were ushered home pleasantly early if they needed a more substantial repast before retiring, but with the knowledge that not everyone starving has a home.
Parents, too, were forewarned, and everyone knew that this was not punishment but simply awareness, gently and lovingly experienced.
At the next scout meeting the following week, the boys and I went to the FISH food room in Sonoma and helped pack food sacks and while they contributed their coins (with a little more added by their parents) to FISH. I don’t know if any of the troop members recall that party; I certainly hope it has impressed them with a gentle awareness of hunger and an empirical sense of the value of generosity. And fellows, you former scouts from Troop 63, if any of you happen upon today’s column, I’d be happy to know that FISH is on your gift list this year. Ditto for any of my readers, former “Good Deed Doers,” or not; now is always the time to begin. May the blessings of Thanksgiving continue to inform your actions.
Next week I’ll happily share news of another group deserving your contributions, as prompted by dear Ann Zollinger. But I’ll set that aside for now.in the neck
My Sweetie and I were recent visitors to that lovely city of roses, where lots of Glen Ellen ex-pats make their home. Portland, Ore. is a dynamic city, populated by a diverse population of active folks who pedal bikes, hike and ski the mountains, produce music, art and excitement, such as we don’t always see in our Valley. On our Thanksgiving trip to Portland, we attended the play “Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson,” a rousing musical
-comedy with historical themes. It’s a telling portrayal of the early days of our nation’s founding. Yep, the good and the bad, the truth enhanced by myth, and the myth enhanced by truth, maybe.
We loved the energy, enthusiasm and the questions posed by the show. Was President Jackson a hero or a devil? Or like most of us, a bit of both, yet more famous, more popular, more reviled. Did his populist followers embody democracy or chaotic mayhem? What does equality mean if it doesn’t include women or blacks, or worse yet, if it does include the murder and displacement of thousands of Native Americans? Inconvenient, uncomfortable thoughts? You bet. As the play’s narrator pointedly warns, “You can’t shoot history in the neck.”
That may make the play sound like a subject unworthy of a musical show with rockin’ good tunes and raucous dance numbers. We laughed until our sides hurt, and then caught our breath wondering why we were laughing at such bitter history, full of death and destruction. It also prompts this reader to pick up a couple of biographies of Jackson, while he remains such an enigma.
In flavor, “Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson” recalls last summer’s production at the Sonoma Community Center of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” with its amazingly talented cast of local actors. But in theme “BBAJ” is deeper and more satisfying. Granted, “Rocky” is an entertaining frolic, fun for the audience and fun for the actors, and its Sonoma production was supremely well done. But on leaving the theater after “Rocky,” what do we take home with us? Sure, we feel uplifted by an awesome theatrical production, but we are left with little to digest or ponder beyond “was that guy a man or a woman?”
Equally hilarious, crude and bawdy, “BBAJ” is a play more worthy of the actors’ art, made stronger and more memorable by its “redeeming social importance.” So, Cat Austin and Philip Sales, Jaime and Rick Love, this suggestion is for you: think about trying “Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson,” soon! It’s a show I most highly recommend. And you’ve all gathered the skills and talented local folks to pull it off.
Meanwhile, my grand applause to the team at the Portland Playhouse for the theatrical highlight of my Portland soujourn. I’ll return for more.
Obscure Glen Ellen to Portland blessing spied on bathroom wall
An obscure little Glen Ellen connection presented itself at the Portland Playhouse. The company performs in a beautiful old church, with the stage set in the chapel. With various remodelings, the powder room (as women of a certain age used to call it) was an interested scramble to locate across the stage and behind a curtain, down a crooked path. Being forewarned, I made a pre-play visit to the loo, where, framed so nicely on the wall was a Vanguard record album cover from 1957, “Travelling On With The Weavers.”
The Weavers, of course, was where our Henno Road neighbor and driver of the speedy ECOUTE car began his fame in the world of sound. He was the third replacement for the Weavers’ famous founder, Pete Seegar, one of my personal heroes, epitomizing everything that Andrew Jackson was not. Seegar’s a simple man, highly talented and humbly gracious, dedicated to justice. The same can be said of neighbor Bernie Krause, former member of the Weavers whose recent fame is the best selling celebration and illuminating study of natural soundscapes, “The Great Animal Orchestra.” If you haven’t read it yet, put it on your Christmas list.
Blessings by November moonlight
While we introduced the subject of full moons in today’s column, one of the purposes was to alert you to tomorrow’s full moon. Be sure to check the sky tomorrow night. It’s your November chance to recite my childish prayer, bringing God’s blessing on us all. If the 28th is cloudy, and apparently sans moon, just have faith that it’s there, and cast your blessing heavenward anyway.
If your news doesn’t appear in the newspaper, check online, where the Folks in Glen Ellen continues at sonomanews.com under “Lifestyle and History.” Share your good news with friends and neighbors in Glen Ellen. Call me at 707 996-5995, or write P.O. Box 518, GE 95442, or email me @ Creekbottom@earthlink.net. Glen Ellen chatter rarely requires timeliness; however, if your news is time sensitive, please be sure to contact me at least three weeks before the run date.