The traditional ceremony and the prayers and scriptures used in the Abbey reminded me of the words spoken by the late Rev. E.W. Heckenberg, at my wedding nearly 56 years ago.
A few days after the royal wedding my friend Ruth and I, and several hundred of Dr. Quan’s closest friends and relatives, were present at his nuptials with Linda Chow. Though the duke and duchess of Cambridge had a more showy affair, it probably wasn’t more fun than Bill and Linda Quan’s.
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El Centro dentist Bill Quan and his lovely bride exchanged vows at a restaurant in Rancho Bernardo. Pearl Chinese Cuisine easily accommodated the many guests. All the folks at our table were Imperial Valley residents, and they were a good-humored group. I didn’t even mind it when a glass of sparkling cider was spilled in my lap.
Former El Centro Mayor Hank Kuiper performed the brief ceremony. Linda wore a lovely gold gown, and Bill wore a suit. Linda later changed into a traditional Chinese red silk gown with a mandarin collar.
We feasted on various appetizers before the multiple main courses. These included braised shark fin with dried seafood, pan-fried scallop stuffed with shrimp, steamed live fish, lobster sautéed with spicy garlic, sliced abalone with vegetables, cubed filet mignon sautéed in a bird’s nest, Peking duck, and garlic seafood fried rice. This was followed by traditional wedding cake and mango pudding. The unique menu sparked lots of conversation. All in all we ate for nearly three hours.
Four of Dr. Quan’s classmates from Harding Elementary School through Central Union High School were on hand for the festivities. The group included Dr. William Valusek, King Kimball, Robert Duncan and Wes Blakely.
The next day Ruth and I, and our friend Fidela, took a walk along the beach. It was a beautiful day. We found a nice place to have lunch just off the boardwalk. An interesting couple from New Jersey shared their table with us. They had an unusual story. It seems they were first set up 38 years ago, but she spurned his advances at that time. In the subsequent years both married, and divorced. They met again nearly four decades later at her brother’s birthday party; everything clicked and they married. They both felt most fortunate to be together, and to have so many shared interests.
Later that day while checking out the wildflowers around the bay, we met two friendly young men who were standing next to a large Catamaran at the boat launch area near Sea World. Turns out they had just taken ownership of the boat that morning. It came to them without charge by way of an ad on Craigslist. Apparently the former owner’s wife had given her husband an ultimatum, “Me or the boat, one of us goes.”
The fellows were most pleased to be boat owners. They were waiting for an experienced sailor to look it over before they took it in the water.
Not wanting our mini-vacation to end too quickly, the following day we picked up pastrami and Swiss cheese on rye from D.Z. Akins delicatessen for a picnic in Pine Valley on our way home.
D.Z. Akins, right off Interstate 8, opened in 1980 with the purpose of serving “San Diego’s starved deli-lovers.” Some of the mouth-watering menu can be seen online.
After driving the back country of Pine Valley we ate our lunch at Noble Park, part of the Cleveland National Forest. It was delightful to drive over a beautiful stream in the midst of the pines and listen to the sound of the wind in the trees.
We saw lots of wildflowers on our way home. We stopped several times to check out lilac, Indian paintbrush, blue lupine, California gold, California poppies and wild mustard. Ruth has a keen eye. She can spot even the tiniest wildflowers while driving 70 mph.
Later this month we hope to hike in the beautiful Laguna Mountains. It is a lovely time of year to be in the mountains without lots of vacationers.