‘Where Have All the June Brides Gone?’

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Abian  Fausto, 25, from La Union, Region 1, slugging his way to college through odd jobs , spat on his hand, rubbed his  callused palms  and continued sieving  sand last Saturday, wondering  why  June is the  most-sought  month  for wedding  and how it spun about. His thoughts related to his Humanities study.

Saturday was last day at the construction site. At day’s close, he received his pay. Vexed by answers to his thoughts, he packed his bag, grabbed a ride and headed to Baguio City, Sunday.

Peeling from the bus station where he dropped off, he boarded a jeep bound to La Trinidad, Benguet, to see his uncle, Diosdado Fausto, 65, retired teacher now turned successful vegetable farmer and entrepreneur.

Diosdado, married to a hardy and pretty Cordilleran lady, once taught as professor in Central Luzon. He and his wife presently manage scores of vegetable gardens along Halsema National   Highway.

Diosdado is one jolly good bloke that not even nagging by his wife can erase the silly smile on his face. He’d present a poker face when his wife is on the warpath, but the fact is, yea, he hears with his other ear and let it pass the other.

A professor for so long a time with PhD in Philosophy, he turns upbeat whenever his wife rages mad, “Can’t remember the last time I forgot my good wife jabbering at me like a magpie,” he’d say with a naughty wink.

One evening coming home after days of helping his uncle till   vegetable gardens, both uncle and nephew eased their tired bodies for warmth besides a small fire at Diosdado’s yard in La Trinidad.  Diosdado opened a bottle of gin. He offered beer to his nephew.

In the midst of conversation, Abian   presented what pestered him, of couples wanting to be wed in June.

Diosdado   gazed at tongues of flames leaping from the small bonfire and wanting to incinerate his face. Drawing from his reservoir of knowledge, he said June derived it name from Juno, Roman goddess of marriage. It was believed – and still is – that couples marrying in June would be blessed with happiness and prosperity.

Diosdado squinted at the third guy with them for approval. The third guy raised his thumb.

Beforehand, Diosdado warned his nephew to be discerning in separating wheat from the chaff whenever the third guy talked, “You never know when he’s serious or not, or pulling your leg.”

Added the third guy: “During Medieval times when people rarely took a bath, even women, people’s annual bath during those times fell in the months of May and June. It was the time women smelled relatively fresh and the time women chose to be wedded.”

“Back then, people didn’t bath often, so brides carried bouquets of flowers to mask body odor. During the annual bath that is June, women smelled more pleasant. But to be on the safe side, brides carried bouquets to smell most pleasant.”

“Hence the custom of carrying   bouquet when walking down the aisle, a tradition still in practice today.”

Abian, confused more than ever by the third guy’s explanation, metamorphosed into a Doubting Thomas and suspiciously warned the third guy, “I’ll quote you in my study.” The third guy happily approved.

The third guy explained the Philippines National Statistics Office (NSO) came up with a study disputing June as no longer the most-sought month for wedding either in Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), Region 1 and other regions for that matter.

“Why?” Abian asked. “The culture of wedding and marriage seems to be changing,” the third guy replied.

“What’s the secret to a happy June wedding or any wedding for that matter?” Abian persisted   asking.

“Secret of happy wedding remains a secret,” the third guy intoned further adding, “The secret of a happy wedding is never going to bed mad, stay up all night and fight.”

“How was your wedding?” Abian’s question   caught the third guy off guard.

A smile crawled up the third guy’s face:” I was trying to put off my wedding then, offering lots of reasons to my would-be parents in law, bless their souls, why their daughter’s wedding must not be June must be at a later time. My would-be parents’ in-law fidgeted, aghast.”

“Then one day, my would-be father-in law, enraged at my smart-aleck reasons of putting off  the wedding, and growling  enough was enough,  herded scores of pigs, loaded them on a truck and headed in my direction. I woke up one morning to see my father’s backyard crawling with squealing pigs.”

“Inside our house were my would-be parents in law, in cahoots with my parents, grinning from ear-to -ear, their happy eyes seemingly saying, “  You think you can outsmart us old folks, you insufferable young pup of a fool?”

The third guy rose from the small bonfire, downed  his last drink of offered gin, raised his hand in goodbye but was stopped by Diosdado’s  query,” So what happened, Ah Kong?”

Ah grinned mischievously and said, “Well, at the altar, my wife-to-be said to me before the priest, “For better or for worse, I take thee… to be my AWFUL wedded husband. Repeat: awful wedded husband. Amen.”

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