They made their way from the atrium to the altar at the front of the church where Padre Navario led them in the vows that made them husband and wife.
When he had finished, Slade asked him, “Do you suppose, Padre, that you could pray a blessing over us? Not a one of those prayers full of empty words approved by the Church, but a real one where you simply talk to God and ask His blessing on our marriage?”
The old priest smiled. “I understand.” He said. He put his hands together in the manner of his religious teachings.
“Our Merciful and Hallowed Father of All, we come in the Name of Your Blessed Son to thank you for the commitment of these two young people. We ask your eternal and supernal blessing upon their union. May they live in joy and in the center of Your Eternal Will for Mankind. In the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen” Although his language carried the formality of the Catholic Church he spoke as one familiar with talking to the Lord on a regular and intimate basis.
He barely restrained himself from making the sign of the cross over their bowed heads.
“Come now,” he said, “we will fulfill the legalities of your marriage.
“You, sir, may kiss your bride.” He smiled beneficently as Slade took his wife in his arms and shared their first deep and lasting kiss as husband and wife.
Slade’s heart swelled until he could hardly draw a breath as he set her back on her feet. Ellen’s shining eyes were overflowing with tears. The padre turned and led them to the rectory without another word. There he completed the paper work that declared their marriage legal before the church and government.
As they came out of the church with their wedding certificate safely tucked in his pocket, Slade stopped dead, still in the shadow of the church door. “I am dressed in my old clothes! I’d planned to wear my suit for our wedding! You are looking beautiful and here I stand in my old coat and tattered jeans!”
Ellen linked her arm through his and pulled him close. “I don’t care about your old coat or your old jeans!! I am married to you. And that is wonderful!
“Let’s get on to the general store before they close. Do you have the list?”
They stepped into the buggy in their own circle of sparkling sunlight. Ellen could not resist speaking to the driver, “You must be happy for us! We have just been married!”
And their joy was so infectious that the taciturn driver could not help smiling at them as he rendered his good wishes. “The Comandante will be happy when he discovers that, I think.” And he turned to back to his horse.