Sa-ka-eh-woon, love, has been the theme of my weekend, here on my visit to the Six Nations area to attend the wedding of my friends Rob Vokes and Brooke Bradley. Just about everywhere I looked this weekend I ran into that word, “love.” It really feels good to see people go out of their way to provide support and encouragement for each other in circles of family and friends.
It was also good to see the union of not only two people in marriage but also of two cultures. Brooke is special to me although I have only known her for a few years. She has a cultural background of Mohawk and Irish. Her dad John comes from a large family headed by John Sr. and Norma Bradley who live at Six Nations.
The Bradley family members have two things very predominant about them: they are very kind and they have a great sense of humour. Brooke’s mom, Patty, is my best friend’s sister and she is well-suited to have married into the Bradley clan as she too is very kind and open. Granny, or Emily as most of us refer to her, beamed with pride as Brooke, her only granddaughter, was married this weekend. The event ran smoothly with the participation of many family and friends and with the special attention of Judy Vokes, who is Rob’s mother.
Most weddings I have ever been to have their glitches here and there, and somebody’s nose always seems to be put out of joint. It was great to flow through a wedding where everybody seemed to be genuinely satisfied and you could feel the spirit of love in and around the ceremony and celebration.
One of my friends has a saying, “A sign of wisdom can be seen in how kind a person is; the more kind, open and understanding the more wise a person is.” This weekend I count myself lucky to have been in the company of some very wise Elders and younger people too. I didn’t hear one unkind word from anyone about anyone else. Perhaps this is the true meaning of love, to care about those you share space with and to treat that space with respect and with an emphasis on kindness and understanding.
It really was a pleasure to see two families unite and at the same time to witness a union of cultures. It is good to see that this joining together will create strength in the name of love and I am sure that Brooke and Rob will touch many on their journey with this loving nature.
Another thing I noticed this weekend as I got to know the families better is that both bride and groom have roots that are solid. They have good values in such simple things as devotion to family and friends, hard work, time to play and the spirit of humour. They are also people who have endured the challenges and pitfalls of life to surface again with a zest for living.
One of the things that caught my eye was a book of colourings and best wishes from Brooke’s kindergarten class. She teaches school in Six Nations at Oliver M. Smith Kawenni:io School. This book said it all with colourful renditions of Brooke and Rob on their wedding day (some of the drawings seemed a little abstract) and with titles like, “Go to the park together,” “Sit with each other,” “Eat with each other,” “Have children” and “Love each other.” It seems fitting that the best suggestions for a happy marriage come from the innocent minds of babes.
Brooke and Rob are a force to be reckoned with and it is a force of great love and joy. My hope is that they will have a long and happy life together that will enable them to spread this force out into the world. Sa-ka-eh-woon.