Buck and Jane had agonized over the events of this day for months. They wanted to include all the traditions of both their heritages as well as those of their friends. They had finally decided on three weddings; one public with their friends and family, one private with just the two of them, and one somewhat private between the two of them, Red Bear and his family.
Jane awoke that morning with a flock of butterflies that would not calm down. She was so nervous she thought she was going to jump straight out of her skin. Rachel and Lou kept trying to calm her down but she couldn’t seem to stop fidgeting. “I wonder what Buck’s doing right now?” Jane said for probably the hundredth time since breakfast.
Lou laughed and said,” Probably sitting and wondering what you’re doing.” Rachel laughed and added, “I’m sure he’s not as fidgety as you are because if he were we’d have heard Jimmy shoot him already.” All three laughed at that. Finally Rachel said, “Why don’t we start getting you dressed.” Jane let out a huge sigh and said, “Oh my goodness, this is really happening isn’t it?” The other two just laughed.
Kid had been assigned the task of taking the women to the church and he was sitting in the front parlor looking polished but uncomfortable in the suit that he had worn when he and Lou had gotten married a few months earlier. As Lou walked down the stairs in her new dress with flowers in her hair, Kid stood up, and whispered to her, “You’re not supposed to outshine the bride.” Lou blushed. Rachel came down next and Kid couldn’t help but smile again at how pretty she looked and said, “Definitely got the best job of the day.” Then Jane came down, her dark hair laying down her back, in stark contrast to the white gown she and Lou and Rachel had spent weeks making, “Wow. Buck's a lucky guy.” Lou hit Kid in the arm and everyone laughed. They went out to the waiting wagon and Kid helped the three women in and then drove them into town to the wedding.
It was a very simple ceremony, Lou and Rachel preceded Jane down the aisle, and Jimmy and Kid stood next to Buck. Teaspoon presided over the ceremony with only a few sniffles, but at the end he couldn’t help but say, “I think I like marrying off my boys to my girls.” Buck and Jane however didn’t hear him as they had just had their first kiss as man and wife.
Everyone went back to the station afterwards and had a fun time singing and dancing and eating. Buck and Jane’s wedding wasn’t the affair that Kid and Lou’s was for several reasons, but neither noticed as they only had eyes for each other. They did enjoy the tradition of tapping spoons on glasses, because it gave them lots of chances to kiss. The first few times it happened Buck and Jane blushed at being so affectionate in front of their friends and family, but it soon became comfortable. Jane even took the lead once and leaned over and kissed Buck when she thought she heard the glass tinkling. It turned out it was only Cody’s fork clattering on his plate. Jane blushed and said, “Ooops.” Buck laughed and said in Jane’s ear, “I can live with more ooopses.”
The sun had set as Buck and Jane stood in the middle of a field and looked at each other. The stars were just beginning to shine. Jane smiled and walked around Buck seven times. She then walked over and stood on his right side underneath the white sheet that they had strung from the branches of four trees to represent their future home. They clasped hands and looked at each other. Buck nodded and smiled and said, “This is the one.” Jane couldn’t help but laugh as she remembered the day she had tried to explain why this simple sentence was an important tradition to her and Buck’s confusion at the story of Jacob who was tricked into marrying the sisters.
Together they said “I am my beloved and my beloved is mine.” followed by drinking a cup of special wine that Jane had to have shipped all the way from New York City.
Buck reached into his pocket and removed a small green velvet bag that Lou had lent him. In it was a ring made of plain gold. It was simple with no faults and no designs. Jane had sat with Buck for many hours and taught him how to make this ring. They had both found it important that this ring be made by Buck, just as Jane’s father had made the ring her mother had worn. However, since Buck was not a jeweler it had taken many hours of practice to get the thin band perfectly round and smooth. Jane had explained that the idea was that the ring be an object of simple beauty just as the marriage would be.
Then holding the ring in his hand he said to Jane, “Behold you are married to me with this ring, according to the laws of Moses and Israel.” When they had talked about this before they kept laughing at the oddness of the words and the silliness of it all, but it had been something that Jane’s mother had written to her in a letter before she had died, to be opened only after she became engaged, so they followed along. This time though everything seemed different. The words didn’t seem strange but formal, not funny but significant. Neither laughed or even thought about laughing. They stood there watching each other feeling the importance of their vows, as Buck slowly slid the ring over Jane’s right forefinger.
Finally Jane took Buck’s hand in hers and squeezed his fingers. Buck, realizing how close they were to the end of this part of their wedding, stopped and looked at Jane his love for the small woman filled him. He couldn’t help but think how grateful he was that she had shot at him and the others causing him to find her. That thought had him smiling so brightly that he thought the stars would hide from them, as they must from the sun. Taking a deep breath he let it out slowly as he brought his right foot down hard on the glass they had wrapped in a piece of cloth. As it shattered Jane said quietly, “Mazel Tov.” And they kissed.
Buck and Jane went to the hotel and spent their first night as man and wife together. The next morning they rode out to meet Buck’s brother Red Bear and his family. Buck had gone to visit Red Bear not long after they had become engaged and it was agreed that they would meet tomorrow at sunrise. Red Bear and his family had traveled farther than Buck and Jane because they did not have the same time restrictions that Buck and Jane did. This extra travel was a great gift and both Buck and Jane had brought presents with them to thank Red Bear and his family for doing this.
They were less than a half-mile from the river where they were supposed to meet when they decided to stop for the night. Again they took joy from this new way of expressing their love for each other and got little sleep but neither complained.
Just before dawn the two got up and rode the short distance to the river bed where they met Red Bear. He, Buck and Red Bear's sons went for a walk one way down the river and Jane and Red Bears wife, Yellow Flower, and her daughters went the other way. After getting cleansed they were each dressed in clean clothing and then wrapped in a blue blanket and brought back together.
Once they were together Red Bear explained the ceremony to Jane and his children. “The blue blankets show the loneliness, weakness, failures, and sorrows of your separate lives.” While Red Bear explained, Yellow Flower, started a fire that burned with sage and other herbs. Red Bear led Buck and Jane slowly around the fire circle and prayed to the Spirits to bless this union and let both be happy, fulfilled, at peace, strong, successful, and to have many children. After the prayers were done, the children stepped forward and removed the blue blankets while Red Bear and Yellow Flower wrapped the couple in the white sheet that had served as their canopy in the Jewish ceremony they had preformed two nights before.
Once under the white sheet Buck and Jane kissed again. Finally they were truly joined by all the Gods and Spirits, and all the practices that they believed in. All of their families had helped them celebrate and create their new life together and all three of the traditions had brought home to them what an important step they were taking in their lives and showed them that they were truly meant to be together. Their marriage by Teaspoon had shown them the love a support they had in the White world where they lived their day to day lives. Their Jewish ceremony under the stars had brought to them the importance of home and family. Their Kiowa wedding showed them that they were stronger together than they could ever be apart. “Three weddings,” Buck said quietly to Jane, “One strong loving marriage.”