The stage in front of the church was decorated with hay bales and saddles. The groom had on his best country-western outfit, cowboy hat included. The bride wore a shimmering black dress punctuated with silver sequins, plus matching earrings and necklace and boot bracelet all sparkling in the afternoon light.
There must have been 20 biker-guests attending, dressed in their leathers. The wedding was co-performed by Allen, a great friend of Sylviana’s, and by Carlos (or “Doc”) from Pagosa Springs. Doc and his wife rode in on two bikes. With his black hat, hair to his shoulders, and full-length black coat he reminded me of Wyatt Earp in the movie. Twenty years ago he was a dropout, drinking too much, when he walked into a church in Albuquerque. Garland reached out to help him, and Carlos got rescued by God.
Garland and Sylvianna exuded smiles and tears during the ceremony. They each confessed they had come to accept being single (over 10 years for Garland), and their blooming relationship was a huge surprise. It had started when Garland brushed has hand across Sylvianna’s cheek, and she tingled all over. They both attributed their beginning to the hand of God. Up on the stage, the love they felt for each other was perfectly clear from their affectionate touching and tears and grateful words.
During the ceremony, a couple of biker-guests came forward and each gave a small speech. The dominant theme was that Garland was a good man and he would give the shirt off his back to help you. I already knew this, because at very short notice Garland had come to stay with me the evening of my hernia operation. I hadn’t planned on anyone staying over, but the worried anesthesiologist insisted I call somebody. Garland never hesitated.
How did Garland and Sylvianna meet? I spoke with one of the biker-guests called Chris (or “Truck”) after the wedding. He belonged to the HellFighters, and this was sewed into the back of his leather jacket. Under this was the word Soul-Snatchers. He stated there were about 20 bands of HellFighters across the USA. On a cold winter’s night, one of these HellFighters visited a homeless group sleeping under a bridge in Albuquerque, and asked them what they most needed. “Blankets” was the reply. This man initiated a team called Mercy After Dark, which has been taking clothes, blankets, and food to the homeless of Albuquerque…… every Saturday night for four years! Garland and Sylvianna were each involved in this ministry for a year before they got to know each other. She is a Physician-Acupuncturist, and Garland needed something to fix his hurting back! Voila! The hand of God again?
Riding along on Saturday evenings are The Guardians of the Children (GOC) Motorcycle group, as well as the CMA (Christian Motorcycle Association). Both had representatives at the wedding. Garland and Sylvianna plan on joining GOC and helping out with the great work that the GOC does.
Note that other biker communities exist, such as the Bandidos and the Cossacks. Their “colors” both named Texas as their territory of control. Recently, these two groups got into it in Waco, Texas, and the rumble left 9 dead and 190 arrested.
One last thing. Sylvianna is a physician, and has a neighbor named Mary Ann, who works for Honeywell. Another Honeywell employee named George, who lives in Tennessee, developed a serious kidney problem. After Sylvianna reviewed his blood work and biopsy, she told Mary Ann that George needed a new kidney. Three days later she told Mary Ann that she had prayed and God told her that she had two kidneys, but she only needed one, and to give one to George. George and Pat had lost a 42 year old son to cancer the previous year, and Sylvianna said she couldn’t imagine Pat losing her husband as well. Sylvianna called the Transplant coordinator in Nashville, TN and told him she wanted to donate a kidney to “George”. “George who?” the coordinator asked, as he needed the recipient’s last name. She replied that she would have to call back, as she didn’t know George’s last name. How often would someone donate a kidney to a complete stranger? The hand of God?
After everything was sorted out, and tests verified that they were a match, Sylvianna started pushing the hospital to get all of George’s additional tests scheduled as he was not yet on the transplant list. The transplant was finally scheduled 43 days after he was placed on the list. Sylvianna and George went to the hospital together, and her post-op recuperation was at George and Pat’s home, contrary to the standard practice where donor and recipient are kept separated. They have all become “family”. George’s health rebounded and has been great in the year and a half since the transplant.
I met George and his wife Pat at the wedding. They had purchased the last two seats on the plane to Albuquerque! George had the privilege of accompanying Sylvianna down the aisle along with her father. Had to be the hand of God!!!
The Gray Nomad
Probing the practice of Christian believers……
For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. (Book of Isaiah, chapter 41).
He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful, and so that you might always fear the Lord your God. (Book of Joshua, chapter 4).
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