February 7, 2018

“The Drummonds” by Joyce Stein

Marking the winter solstice, Dr. Bertha Ann Johnson officially became Mrs. Angus Muir Drummond on December 21, 2017. The ceremony and reception were held at Castello di Amorosa, in California’s Napa Valley.  Angus wore a traditional kilt as befitting his Scottish clan, while Bertha donned a golden lace Nigerian wedding dress with an elaborate head wrap.  They were a stunning.

The couple grew up on the same block and met in grade school.  Frankly, they could not stand each other.  It wasn’t until Bertha accidently backed over Angus while attempting to sneak out with her family’s car that they really got to know each other.  As punishment for borrowing the vehicle without permission, driving without a license and being out past curfew, Bertha was assigned to care for Angus until he was out of his full leg cast.  Two weeks into the recovery, Angus had made Bertha cry multiple times, and he was not sorry one little bit.  Thanks to her, his senior year on the football team was over.  Once he got over his anger and she got over her humiliation, things really started to happen.  By week four they had stopped calling each other names and began doing homework together. Both found neither was as dunce as each had presumed.  Eight weeks in, Angus convinced Bertha he needed a bed bath. The loofah scrubbing she gave him, left him bright red with multiple abrasions, but he enjoyed every minute of it.  His parents, Reverend Peter and Priscilla Drummond, formerly from Harrisburg Pennsylvania, however, were not amused.  They did not appreciate these new injuries nor how they were incurred. Bertha’s final four weeks of Angus’ care was terminated. Her parents, Professors Ralph and Martha Johnson of Los Angeles, agreed with the Drummonds and Bertha spent that summer down south with her grandmother.

The experience taught Bertha that she enjoyed caring for people. She went to UC Berkley, was accepted to their medical school and became a family practice MD.  Angus was able to return to his beloved football, walked-on to USC, received a full scholarship the following year, and was the number ten draft pick to quarterback for the L.A. Raiders, with whom he continues to play.

Bertha and Angus reconnected on a dare from a mutual friend that implied he would not go out with someone so hued, while she would not go out with someone so fair.  It was a blind date. They were shocked to find out it was each other. In their combined history together, they had never really noticed their shades.  He admitted that he thought she was a snotty bitch, while her memory of him was as a pompous jock. It was an awkward beginning, but a few drinks in and of course, after the retelling of the loofah scrub, things settled in.   Bertha challenged his memory of the event, admitting to him being shirtless but denying further knowledge of the extent of his ginger-ism. She had quirked an eyebrow at him and he had choked on a French fry.  It was then that he knew she was the girl for him.  Several hours later, after an impromptu dinner and a night cap, they walked the beach until sunrise.  They’ve been together ever since.  What they’ve found in each other is a sense of adventure, comfortable companionship, deep love and a strong friendship.

In honoring their love, uniqueness and diversity all guests were requested to attend in cultural costumes, with the hope that everyone would embrace their historical background, research and learn some new ancestry, or just experience a different dimension. Those not in requested attire were not permitted on the property

The bride was walked down the aisle escorted by her mother and father.  The groom’s father stood as his best man. The ceremony was officiated by a Scottish priest, also dressed in a kilt.  The bride would later joke that she did not understand a word he said.  She had only said ‘I do’ when Angus slipped the twenty carat ring on her finger and everyone looked at her.  There was a small disruption when someone attempted to say why they should not be joined.  They were taken out by the offensive line guests.  Bertha never got to see who was causing the fuss. The couple shared a long lingering kiss, then jumped the broom together.

Photos were taken throughout the castle and in the accompanying vineyards and gardens.  There was very little traditional about the shoot.  The bride and groom photo featured Angus seated on a black stead with Bertha on his lap.  The defensive line in kilts made quite the impression, while the bride’s maids lounging on harem pillows raised a few eyebrows.  The parents and family photo were quite quaint, but the bridal party picture turned into a series of un-posed frames that included men in women’s laps, women on men’s backs and the entire party on horses, carts and wagons.

Since the winter solstice is the longest night of the year, not a second of it was wasted. The festivities began with ribald questions reference the men of honor being in kilts and what is worn under them.  A few women received some quick flashes and from their reactions and coloring, the rumor must be true.  The bride’s maids, dressed in a variation of African and Middle Eastern wear, broke out into a wild combo African belly dance, so as not to be outdone.  The men joined the women and soon the room was ablaze with swirling colors. People were still trying to locate their seats for the reception.

There was a live band, throw-back music, circle dancing, and a conga line.  It is rumored that food and flowers were flown in from every part of the globe and that the champagne flowed non-stop.  Since all the guests had accommodations on the grounds, there was little need for limitation or discretion.

The bride and groom snuck out before sunrise to begin their honeymoon.  They are scheduled for a four week unscripted world tour of romantic cities, tropical islands and historical wonder site destinations.


About the Author: In my mind, I’m an artist and a writer.

In my reality I’m a registered nurse, avid gardener, grandmother, wife and mother.

The lines get blurred sometimes, but that’s part of the fun.

I completed my first novel this summer and am currently pitching it to agents.

My technology skills are poor, but I’m happy to say that I’ve almost given up paper and pencils and am trying to write directly on my computer.

I love the creative process, whether sorting through fabrics, paint and trim, building and re-arranging garden beds or researching and collecting words, names and ideas.

I’m a persistent dreamer, so I’m still working on making all my dreams come true.

Check out this story in our anthology: The First Annual Two Sisters Writing & Publishing Featuring International Writers by clicking here.

Joyce Stein Author Photo

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