I waited for about two hours for the Cura to see me, but there were a lot of folks waiting for him, so the delay was understandable. He invited me into his office, and he seemed to be pleasant, understanding and approachable. I explained our situation to him, and he very kindly explained that it would hardly be appropriate for him to reach any conclusions with me, when there were others that would be affected, others that were members of his diocese. He really needed to meet with Coco, too, and of course with her parents, to ensure that they were in agreement. He also needed to see some documentation of my availability (read: divorce papers), as well as evidence of my “lineage”.
I told him that I would arrange for Coco’s parents to speak with him, and convey their blessing, and that Coco and I would return to see him, as soon as the opportunity presented itself for her to take the time off work.
The next day, Coco’s mother accompanied me to the Cura’s office, to give me the nod, and we got that taken care of. The Cura told me that now all that remained was for him to meet with my parents and my grown children, and we could get on with scheduling the wedding. I explained that my father had passed away over a decade before, and my mother lived a couple of thousand miles north, and couldn’t travel. Nevertheless, he was adamant that it was imperative that he ensure that all concerned parties were in agreement before he could bless our union.
I suggested that we could do it by telephone, inasmuch as my mother was concerned, but that if he felt it necessary to speak to my father, he probably had better connections than I did, to accomplish that. He said a phone conversation with my mother would be fine, as he had someone on his staff that spoke English. He especially felt it necessary to speak with my son and daughter, although they were already married, and living in Texas and Illinois, respectively.
We placed the calls, got the collective agreement, and had finally satisfied all the prerequisites.
Or had we?
Now, it seems, all that remained for us to do was to show proof that we had already had our civil ceremony performed, and we could proceed. However, we had never planned to have the civil marriage ceremony until later, and hadn’t even begun that lengthy process. I told the Cura as much, and his response was that we would simply have to postpone our Church wedding until afterward. I told him that we had no intention of postponing it, and that there was no legal or logical reason that either one should have precedence over the other. He remained adamant, and I saw that I would have to take another tack.
I asked my soon-to-be mother in law if she would mind waiting outside for a minute.
As I ushered her out the door, the Cura tried to edge out too, but I planted myself in his way, and shut the door after her.
“Sit”, I told him, in Spanish.
“Mande? (what?)”, he asked.
“Sit”, I repeated.
“Are you left handed, or right?” I asked.
“Mande? (again, ‘what?’)”
“Left or right? Which hand do you use?”
“No intiendo (I don’t understand)”, he answered.
“I wouldn’t want to break the arm that you use most, but since you insist on playing games to which I don’t know the rules, I’m going to change the game to one I’m familiar with. You’re going to sign these papers, if you have to do it with a pen held in your teeth! Now, which arm should I start with?”
Shortly afterward, I took Coco’s mother home, and took my signed document over to Plateros to lock in our wedding date. No, I never laid a hand on him. I didn’t have to.
My future father in law was relatively wealthy, and a powerful individual by all reckoning. He held a lot of sway in just about anything that happened in Fresnillo, as well as in a number of smaller communities nearby. He packed a gun, and had a badge to go with it, he nearly always had several thousand dollars in his pocket, and had only once been assaulted. Many years prior. Nobody ever repeated the sin. He was feared, perhaps even respected, but outside of his family, he was not exactly loved. It seems that while he wasn’t willing to tell me that he was against us getting married, he was more than willing to say it to the Cura.
When the Cura informed me that he was throwing up obstacles because Coco’s father was against our marriage, I was a little upset. I decided to take care of business in Plateros, and give myself a chance to cool down a little, before confronting dear old dad.
When I got back to Fresnillo later that afternoon, I stopped by the swap-meet he owned and ran, and asked him to step out where we could talk.
I told him that I was concerned, because I knew that any businessman could make enemies, whether from business or simple jealousy. I said I felt he needed to know that there were people telling lies about him, saying he had done things I knew he would never do.
He seemed upset by the prospect, and wanted to know WHO was saying WHAT about him. So, I told him. I told him that the Cura had made up some preposterous tale about him having approached him to delay a wedding with which he didn’t agree. I told him that I KNEW this was a lie, because hadn’t he himself told me, not once, but three times, that he WAS in agreement? And I told him that furthermore, I KNEW this was a lie, because any man with any balls at ALL would have had the courage to say as much to my face, if that were the case. Then I told him not to worry, that I had set the Cura straight, by explaining to him that I had been assured THREE TIMES that he was, in fact, giving us his blessing. And I told him that he could rest easy now, because I had made sure the Cura understood without a doubt who the REAL liar was.
By now, his face had taken on the color of an overripe strawberry, and his eyes had narrowed to slits. Then I leaned across and said, very quietly, “Don’t ever try to come between Coco and me again. I’m not sure she could ever forgive me if something happened to you.”
I turned my back on him and walked away, and we never spoke another word, for the remaining ten years of his life.
Funny how the family seems to work its way into yet another chapter, isn’t it?