The compatibility test...
We returned to our table. Lotzi told us some statistics about marriage. "Married people generally live for ten years longer than single people," he told us, among many other interesting and amusing things.
"Now, I know it's a bit late, but I think we really should do a combatibility test.
"Ben and Cherith, bring your chairs down here. Put them back-to-back.
"Okay now, take your shoes off.
This done, he added the instructions, "Give one of your shoes to the other, so you'll have one of both."
Then began the string of action-answered questions.
"Who gets up earlier?" Ben's shoe went up.
"Who will change the dirty nappies?" Both shoes shot up in their hands instantly.
"Who will wash the dishes?" Cherith put her shoe up, while Ben put up both. That was cute.
Some questions they were hesitated momentarily thinking, but overall they were extremely alike answers.
Obviously they'd talked about such topics beforehand. They were compatible.
In-between spooning down the soup, I noticed Lotzi talking to a few married couples. Next thing I knew, a string of familiar-faced couples were lined up by the wall. All were related. Two cousins of Mum's with their spouses, Mum and Dad and two sister's of mine and their husbands.
Cherith and Ben were asked to guess how long each had been married for. They certainly got our sisters' right. But the more senior couples were somewhat more difficult. The years of marriage ranged from 40 years down to 8.
Each in turn were asked what was the main factor in them being still happily married. The answers were each sweet and worth remembering.
One cute answer came from a cousin of Mum's. Uncle Genna when asked the question said simply, "I won't tell you what has kept our marriage together and happy, I'll show you," he said passing the microphone to his wife who responded, "Like usual, he leaves me speechless."
Finally, began the speeches. Markus, the best man told of the relationship he'd had with his little brother. He read an amusing story poem he'd written for the occasion.
Ben made a short and sweet speech, typical of his style.
Dad told about how Cherith was his little girl from the moment she was born. Mum made a toast to newly-weds as well as telling some history from when they were both young.
Bethany made a sweet speech about she and Cherith growing up together.
Danica told of her childhood prayers for another baby sister. She told how she and Bethany would make dresses for Cherith and look after 'their little girl.' "Now you can look after Cherith, Ben. Now she is your own little girl," she concluded sweetly.
The mother of the groom made a speech too.
"After we visited Cherith's family, Ben told me, "You know Mum, I think Cherith will make a good wife for someone, one day." Who would have guessed that she would one day be his wife?" she asked. I grinned, back then I'd wondered, but it's true, I hadn't given it much thought since.
We thought the speeches were over, along with any impromtu, un-planned things. But more surprises were to come. Elisha slipped behind us bridesmaids, making his way to the microphone. I knew this was a spur-of-the-moment idea. I was slightly nervous. What was he going to say? It only took a few moments until I found out.
"I have vivid memories of Cherith's deep-seated sense of justice. She liked to be the police. When us little boys would fight, as little boys do, she would come and sit on us. The fight would end then.
"Over the years, we developed a close relationship. One night, Cherith called my mobile. It was late and I could tell something was bothering her. We talked for a while and she hung up, happier. But, I had to work the next day and, thanks to the late conversation, I was quite tired.
"When it happened again, I knew something had to be done. She needed a husband to talk to late at night, not me! So, I decided to pray.
"Cherith and I went to Europe together, there I witnessed her romance begin. It wasn't the perfect solution though, I realized. Now, she kept me up late other ways. Like chatting to Ben. I didn't bargain for that!" It was such a fun and spontaneous speech. I wish I remembered every word of it. He ended, "Here's a toast to Cherith. May she have many happy years with Ben. And may she keep him up late, talking."
On his return to his seat he was met with a shower of applause and laughter. It was truly a memorable speech.
The last of the dessert scraped of our plates, and after the applause had died down, I had to face the fact. It was past four, in the afternoon,
and everyone was heading towards the door, where the guests made an archway.
The new couple ran through and the bridal party loaded into cars. Next was the photos. I'll tell you about that yet.