No, your eyes do not deceive you. This is me and Ronni, moments after being married. The more diligent Facebook newsfeed readers among you noticed my telltale status change a little while ago, and right away the rumors started flying! So you can stop the excited whispering, or twittering, or whatever it is you single people and members of Today's Youth do, because the rumors are true: after 13 years, a Kenyan registrar made it official. And yes, this was entirely legal. After all, we had to sign some papers or something. And wave a stick in the four cardinal directions. There was also a witch doctor/medicine man who danced around with his fertility horn and rubbed us with various magic powders and adorned us with saliva-covered amulets. (Not kidding; real saliva.) According to the customs of the medicine man, I am indebted to Ronni's father for a dowry of three goats, a camel, and twelve head of "healthy, unblemished" cattle. That all sounds legally binding, right?
Where exactly are we? In a fig forest on the floor of the Great Rift Valley. There are baboons nearby.
Who are these awesome people? The groomsmen and bridesmaids were local Maasais. Some warriors, some girls, and other interested parties, all in their usual beads enhanced by their ceremonial best: colobus hats, lion manes, and sundial headdresses of ostrich feathers.
Who else was there? My friend Melissa, her daughter Georgia, and a small band of merry-makers from Los Angeles and New York.
Did you drink the blood of a freshly slaughtered goat? Yes. Well, actually no. We could have though.
Is spitting on people a ceremonial sign of esteem in Maasai culture? It is! How did you know? Usually the medicine man spits on the bride’s breasts and rubs it in. Ronni’s dress (actually separates, from Marni, for the sartorially interested) prevented this practice. Which maybe means we're not technically married?
How did the happen? As Beau Flynn described it, a "magical mitzvah."
Here is the medicine man:
Post-necromancing and -dancing came a Just Married jaunt in the festooned land rover to a special wedding sundowner session on a promontory overlooking the whole valley. There we saw a melanistic (black) leopard stalking in the high grass. We were very lucky, said James, our Samburu driver and guide. This is the rarest felid, certainly never seen near Shompole. (That's the name of the lodge where we were, named after the sacred volcano it faces.) A little while later, two lionesses came stalking as it got dark. Also very auspicious, said James. Very auspicious.
There are many more photos where those came from, from the wedding and the safari that followed -- including one of Ronni feeding a baby rhino named Lola with a giant plastic baby bottle. See if you can find it! Plus, one more:
Except for a feverish nighttime reverie where I thought the amulet that the medicine man tied permanently around my neck had been accidentally cursed and that I needed to take it off or be swallowed by animist entities, all has been very well since. It is great being married.