Weddings, funerals often turn into family reunions

By Helena Rodriguez: PNT Staff Writer

I thought it was going to take another funeral to get our familia together again, but low and behold, my sister’s wedding in Vegas this weekend is becoming an unplanned Rodriguez-Madrid family reunion.

My sister Becky and her fiancée, Billy, are tying the knot in Vegas this weekend — Las Vegas, N.M, that is. Actually, it’s not really even in Vegas, New Mexico. The life sentencing hearing, I mean the wedding vow exchange, will take place in San Miguel. But everyone knows the main event of any traditional Mexican wedding extravaganza or pachanga, is the dinner and dance, which will take place on the famous Las Vegas strip of New Mexico.

Festivities will not stop until after midnight.

Just like funerals, weddings generally become family reunions. But over the past five years, our extremely large, extended clan has drifted off into little tribes. In fact, the last time most of us were together was when my Uncle Hymie died in 2001.

So sad to say, I thought it was going to require another funeral before we got together again, especially given the fact that more people these days are choosing not to marry or remarry.

With this in mind, and also given the great distance between some of us, I really didn’t think some of my tios and tias would be coming.

We were certainly overdue for a family reunion, but it looked like it was going to be a small wedding, by our standards anyway, until my tias, Paula and Vanessa of Dallas, and my uncle Paul of Arkansas announced they were coming.

I know they were especially coming to see my mom whom they haven’t seen in about a year, which happened to be when they all met in Santa Rosa for the funeral of a family friend, Herbert Anaya. But I also think it was a close call we had, a big scare last week, that prompted some of my relatives to RSVP at the last minute.

Last week, my mom went to see a doctor who informed her that she had blockage in her heart; her heart was only functioning at about 45 percent.

Within a few days she was in Lubbock undergoing outpatient surgery. But when they inserted a small camera device in her, the doctor in Lubbock could not find any blockage whatsoever. Call it a machine malfunction, which gave an improper reading or call it nothing short of a miracle, which is what I call it. Lots of people were praying.

As you could imagine though, this close call really put things into perspective and reminded us how unpredictable life is. I think that prompted other family members to find a way to get off work.

I have to admit I wasn’t looking forward to the wedding at first. The timing was bad and I complained about the inconvenience and expense. My daughter is in the wedding party. But when Uncle Paul called and said he was bringing his family and was also stopping in Amarillo along the way to bring Uncle Phillip, I started looking forward to hearing those wedding bells ring. In fact, I decided to go a day earlier than what I had planned.

We even decided to pay a little more than what we were comfortable with to get hotel rooms in the same place as my tios and tias.
Mom said it would be worth it and we finally sold dad on the idea, telling him there was no telling when we would get a chance to get together like this again.

She’s right. Although sooner or later we would have ended up getting together again, I’m just glad it’s going to be sooner. And I’m glad our upcoming reunion will not be to mourn another loss; it will be to celebrate a new addition to our family.