After more than 11 years of cohabited bliss, Luna’s finally marrying Chester Nutt. This is not your regular kind of union, as you might have guessed. It is, well, let’s just say a little out of this world.
Luna is a member of the National Spiritualist Association of Church people, and they know her as a “psychic medium.” Chester is also a member and is called an “automatic drawer.”
Basically, Luna communicates with those who are “on the other side,” and Chester is able to draw random impressions of people who pop into his mind, all of whom eventually end up entering his life — kind of a forewarning of visitors to come.
“That would be nice, I guess,” my friend Alma whispers. “Did I hear someone say his last name is Nutt?”
Alma doesn’t know the bride and groom personally; she has been hired to play her beautiful German violin for their wedding.
And in the 30 years Alma has been playing for various functions — everything from funerals to Bar Mitzvahs — this is the first time she has been on Cloud Nine, literally. It was Chester’s idea to build a makeshift cloud, complete with cotton fluffing. “Let’s just hope this cloud doesn’t rain,” she says, rearranging her dress and taking her place in the center of the cloud.
The bride’s and Alma’s taste in music is about as different as chimes and whistles. Instead of the usual “Ave Maria” or “Canon in D (Pachelbel),” Alma has been asked to play some unusual selections like “The Gnomes Embrace” and “Trooping Faeries.” It has taken some extra preparation on Alma’s part, but she’s always up for a challenge.
“Throw me that extension cord,” a voice from the back of the church bellows. I recognize the voice to be that of the best man, who soon enters through a side door and marches with purpose to the pulpit where he plugs the cord into an outlet.
He checks the microphones and returns to the back where he flips a row of switches. The brightly-lit room is instantly transformed into a strange haze, which descends on the assembling spectators. The lighting effects are a mix of blue, red and yellow, much like one might see at a Vegas show. The groom’s father, sitting in the front row, is illuminated by the glow of the blue light, making him resemble Violet, the girl who turns into a blueberry, in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
The bride’s mother, sitting on the opposite side, is wearing a sky-blue dress, which, with the yellow light falling across her, is now a bizarre greenish color, and her complexion resembles a newborn baby with jaundice.
It’s not unusual for candles or incense to be burned at weddings. The difference with this wedding is, depending on where you sit, you might receive a direct spray of smoke from the numerous sage incense sticks being waved about. “Just to be safe,” Luna had said at the rehearsal dinner.
“It’s something Luna uses when she’s cleansing the home of an unwanted haunting,” I inform Alma. “Evidently it’s harmless, unless you happen to be a ‘negative spirit,’ at which point the fumes usher you on your way.”
I receive the signal from the best man, indicating the ceremony has begun. Alma sees him, too, and with a nod she places her chin on her violin and commences to play the introductory song “Fragrant Memory.”
The crowd quiets to a susurration. The music is soft and soothing. My throat tightens. It’s truly elegant. Luna and Chester make their way down the center aisle together, arm in arm. They are both barefooted and wearing white chenille silk garments, loose and flowing.
Behind Reverend Porter, who is standing at the pulpit, is a theater screen on which a foaming seascape of the rising sun is being projected. The couple arrives in front and stands in silhouette as the waves lap softly at the beach. The sky grows brighter as the two lovebirds pledge their eternal love to one another.
The ceremony progresses beautifully. There are no coughs or sneezes. Nor are there cries from cranky babies. It is as if the entire ceremony has been orchestrated ahead of time and the interruptions and distractions edited out.
The infamous kiss complete, Alma begins the exit song “Dance of the Divine.” One would have been hard-pressed to find a dry eye in the room, as Luna and Chester make their way toward the open door to the nearby reception hall where we will soon follow to celebrate the couple’s nuptials.
“What kind of wedding gift does one buy for a couple like that?” Alma asks, as we pack up her things before heading to the soirée.
“Candles are nice,” I answer. “But I had a ceramic nameplate fired for their front door: ‘The Nutt House.’ ”
“Well that’s original,” Alma replies, somewhat sarcastically.
“I thought so.”
We arrive at the reception just in time to see the noisy assemblage hush to a dead silence, reminding me of when I was a kid playing Simon Says. In my mind I see my little sister say, “Simon says, ‘FREEZE’!” and I’m left with one foot off the ground; arms stretched upward like a rock climber.
Anyone who knows Chester knows when he seizes a pencil and begins to draw, something amazing is about to happen. We wait; the anticipation is palpable. Chester’s hand moves with the stroke of a master painter, yet he’s in a trance-like state and won’t know what he has drawn until the instrument has been put down.
People strain their necks this way and that, attempting to glimpse the page. The masterpiece complete, Chester gazes at the face of the curly-headed girl looking back at him.
Luna moves closer and examines the drawing. Her psychic self advances. Her eyes widen. Then she announces, her voice cracking with emotion, “She will be our firstborn daughter, Cheyenne.” The group erupts in cheers.
“Cheyenne,” Spouser says, shaking my shoulder. “Wake up. You’re mumbling Cheyenne in your sleep.”
Vaguely remembering, the dream comes back to me slowly. “I was dreaming about the Nutt wedding again,” I say, rubbing my eyes.
“Still can’t get past it? Maybe if you stop having espresso after dinner, those dreams will stop.”
Stop espresso? Not a chance. Actually I can hardly wait to see what will happen in the Nutt house tonight.
“Well keep it to yourself, will ya’?”