We arrived late, but no later than many of the other guests. Double Name played the host and welcomed in the guests, bustled around putting coats away and was generally very helpful. My Dad wandered around starting friendly chats with each person he met. If I went over to make sure he was ok, he shrugged me off. He was fine. By the end of the evening I had strangers coming over and saying, "Oh, you're OTRdad's daughter. I heard..."
Toward the end of the evening, Double Name and Graceful came over to me and asked if I'd be willing to explain The Jumping of the Broom. Mostly, I knew it as a slave tradition: when the owners didn't allow marriage, the slaves who wanted to marry jumped together over a broom to declare themselves bound to each other. However, I knew that my Dad knew the history better than I did. I went over and asked him to tell me about it, to make sure I was correct. As he explained it, I realized he was the one who should say it. Our family is not at all shy (you're shocked, right?), so he was happy to tell a story to a room full of new friends.
We called the room to attention. Double Name and Graceful stood behind my Dad as he explained, "Many of us think that weddings belong in a church. The reality is, the church really didn't get involved in wedding ceremonies until the 13th century. Before that, all over the world, people became married simply by declaring they were. In different cultures, this was shown in different ways. Here in the United States, we think of jumping of the broom is a slave tradition. Yes, it was used then, but more than that, it was a way many African cultures used to declare a wedding. Today, Double Name and Graceful want to declare their union before you as they participate in this historic ritual."
I held one end, my Dad held the other as our friends grinned at each other, counted to three and jumped!