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  • My town has two predominate ethnicities - Mexican and Eastern European. Makes sense - it's the Coal Region. I like the dichotomy.

    One beautiful summer morning last June, I was cleaning up the breakfast dishes when I heard Billy calling me from outside. His voice sounded urgent - and at first I thought he may have hurt himself. He is forever tinkering with the old cars that he manages to drive way beyond what is reasonable to expect - I didn't think odometers went that high.

    I rushed out to see what the emergency was. "Listen," Billy said. The air was filled with music. A Mariachi Band was playing. We began to walk in the direction of the sound.

    At the corner, we saw her. A bride and her bridal procession marching down the middle of the street. The Mariachis, wearing short white brocaded jackets and matching sombreros, serandaded a young bride as she walked onward to the church. The song they were playing was "Que Bonita." It was true. The bride, very young, resembled an exotic bird or a tropical flower. She was not dressed in white, but wore a gown of vibrant turquoise, with a bustle containing four rows of ruffles. Her coal black hair was swept up and hung in ringlets around the nape of her neck. She wore a tiny silver cross. The bride knew that today was her day. She walked confidantely, surrounded by her bridesmaids, her head held high. It was a fortunate day and the sky was smiling down on her.

    Billy and I followed them, walking along the sidewalk all the way there. We stopped when the procession got to the church. The young girl's father came out of the church and took her hand to lead her inside. We burst into applause, shouting Que Bonita! Que Bonita! She then graced us with her smile.

    Walking back to the house, I told Billy that if we ever married, I wanted to parade through town being seranaded by musicians. He said I could, but it wouldn't be Mariachis, it would be a Polish polka band!

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