Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Wick Fischer
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

A Gavillon wedding

Wick's World


A line of shuttle buses filled to the brim with wedding revelers took a right turn down Gavillon Road until it reached the ranch that could only be described as “a new compound made in the ancient traditions”. Maybe there isn’t a word for what I just described, but there certainly should be. However, this story isn’t about the ranch or the tiny village in New Mexico that sits on a mountaintop a few thousand feet higher than Denver, Colorado.

As soon as we arrived, I got altitude sickness just like I do every time I go there. This time though, I was prepared for the nausea, shortness of breath and aching bones that accompanies this mountain phenomenon. The edge was relieved just slightly because this time I had a partner to share the pain: my wife. Not being certain what was wrong with her; she researched altitude sickness as she often does to solve problems that are beyond her grasp.

“I have every single one of those symptoms!” she exclaimed.

Our traveling partner was suffering from a different illness. Hers was the one called loneliness. Her husband was laid up and could not attend. He had an injury that is touted as worse than a heart attack, gout, shingles, and the heartbreak of psoriasis combined. Every person I know that has experienced this injury says the exact same words about the accompanying surgery.

“If I knew it was going to be this painful, I never would have had it done.”

It seems as if there isn’t a painkiller that exists on the planet that is powerful enough to diminish the torture and agony of knee surgery. The hubby and his knee had to stay home while the rest of us celebrated what was as close to an authentic Mayan wedding as this country will ever see.

I will spare most of the details as they are meant for the bride and groom to share. I will say that it was the longest and most exotic wedding ceremony any of us had the privilege to attend. I have performed over 30 wedding ceremonies myself and often have been accused of being too long-winded.

The entirety of a Wick Fisher Wedding was shorter than the Mayan opening prayer. Despite the length, no person got bored. No one even coughed or shuffled in their seat. We were entirely captivated by the Mayan Shaman and the strange, but exquisitely beautiful words that flowed from his being.

For over a decade, I was worked to the bone by this Mayan Shaman. I had once been his right-hand man until my weary body wore out. But I didn’t come to see him perform the wedding ceremony even though this was the first one he had done in this country.

Many times he had told me, "Wick, there are only two real holy moments: birth and death. Everything in between is simply what we call life.”

Many, many times couples had approached this man and asked for his blessing in matrimony. He always refused. For him, marriage was simply a celebratory time where two people vowed to be lifelong lovers. His work was more of blessing and being blessed by the holy.

When I received the wedding invitation, I immediately knew I would climb the highest mountain and cross the widest river to take that journey down Gavillon Road. I knew I absolutely had to witness the marriage of a small, diminutive hard-working cowboy to the tall, beautiful hardest working and most resourceful woman I have ever had the pleasure to meet.

It was almost two decades ago that the bride and I, along with a half-dozen other youth, had spent a week in ritual ceremony on a different mountain half a continent away. The marriage of the small groom to the great bride meant much more to me than a simple wedding. For me, it was a passing of the torch. When I offered the bride my congratulations, she also felt the passing as she showered me with gratitude.

I later learned that when my wife and I walked past the building housing the bridal party, the bride peeked through the slats of the window and exclaimed, “Papa Wick is here; now I can get married!”

No greater compliment have I ever received.


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