Road Diaries: Marriage at Bethierville

The following post doesn't follow the standard writing format of our posts. It details a trip I undertook on May 19th to Bethierville for the marriage of an acquaintance. The map of Bethierville can found here.

Road trips are a fan favorite of both writers of this blog. Eric and I enjoy taking them quite a bit and have great appreciation for the open road. When I was invited to take a trip to Bethierville for the marriage of an acquaintance, I saw the opportunity as a personal challenge to see a new place and test where I was at road trip wise. It marked my first trip since I went to Toronto in mid-February of 2006, which means I was overdue for a good drive.

Unfortunately, the trip included other challenges. On the one hand, I knew I was going to be sitting in a church for a brief period and listen to a priest's sermon. On the other, I would explore towns to the East of Montreal which had been part of my list-of-places-I-want-to-explore for quite some time. I had gone as far as Repentigny with Eric and had thought the experience to be odd considering the lack of differences in housing architecture from the ones in Kirkland. I had gone to Quebec before, but hadn't gone back in a long time, and especially hadn't taken the car up there myself, so Bethierville was definitely interesting.

Like all weddings, the trip started off with interesting goofs. I found out I had torn a hole into the back of my suit's pants. How that got there is beyond me. It marked the 3rd or 4th time I had worn the damn thing! So a bit of suture later, I was proudly walking around in a suit and a tie. I like suits, I find suits to be comfortable and fashionable. So with my sutured hole, I grabbed my camera hoping to get a few shots in, my iPod for some music and got into my car with good thoughts in mind.

I turned the keys in the ignition and realize I'd have to go gas up. Not a problem, I think to myself, I have a gas key! What a wonderful invention this gas key is. It's a little magnetic key that lets you swipe it at the pump and the payments are made directly to your credit card. Easy to use, easy to store and easy to pay.

So I begin my drive by leaving my neighborhood. Hurray, a man in a thousand dollar suit behind a worn out, beat up Corolla. I immediately notice how my car's suspension is slowly giving up on me at the first speed bump. My neighborhood is a bit bizard as it holds the record for the most ridiculous speed bump to ever exist. The speedbump actually happens to be the entire street corner. The elevation is barely a foot, and this gigantic mass of asphalt (which I constantly mispronounce as ashphalt to everyone's giggle) is framed by two extra speed bumps on the same corner of the road. Whoever thought this one up seriously lacked attention to urban planning. The corner wasn't an obvious dangerous zone, and adding a bump before, during and after the said corner isn't the most cost affective solution ever thought up.

Once out of my neighborhood and onto the open road, I start to get comfortable and ready for the drive ahead. The immediate look of commercial zones marks the first 3 exits I pass. From St-Charles bvld to Sources, nothing but commercial entities can be seen. What follows is more industrial and finally, completely industrial as I approach the Decarie interchange. This part of the world is the mark of badly sought out plans as it marks the beginning of the elevated highway. This stretch of road goes for a good couple of kilometres as there are no shoulders and multiple left lane exits, it quickly becomes a traffic hot spot at any time of the day. As a documentary that was released a couple of weeks after the collapse of De la Concorde overpass pointed out, not only is this structure the definition of traffic jam, it also doesn't hold very well after all these years in use. What started as a temporary highway turned permanent fast, and isn't looking into changing anytime soon. This causes my passenger to point out constantly to watch out in front every time a car jams the breaks.

The good news is once anyone passes the elevated highway, I get treated to more left lane exits, multi-crossing overpasses and disgusting sound barriers. Once that's over, here comes to amazing array of bill-boards and fire chimneys of the industrial last stretch of Montreal Island! So long-Montreal, see you in a few hours!

Over the bridge and into Repentigny, the concentration of markets are all found north of the highway into a specific center. This sort of advertisement is gratuitous at best and hard to access, not to mention the on ramps for the highway stretch at least 4km is some regions, so the result is having to see a car going the same speed as me for a good 4km before it joins me onto the highway.

What follows me is a more pleasant stretch of road. Both highway direction get further from one another and a forest fills the gap until just before my destination. Exit 144, Bethierville, the exit is ridiculously built. I'm heading East and am elevated compared to the road the exit is suppose to be linked with, so this means my exit has to do a 180 degree turn going downhill, and to add insult to injury, the final 100 feet has the opposite direction attached with my own, no room for errors folks!

Happy to make the turn, I begin to look into the small town for a gas station that will take my speedpass (in this case an esso). I locate it and decide to gas up. On my way to the said gas station, I start noticing a detail nobody had bothered printing with the invitations: the amazing amount of motorcycles in the region. At this point, I start to feel a bit less comfortable wearing a suit. When 'La Belle Province's' parking lot is filled with more motorcycles then I can count in the seconds it takes to pass in front of it (no way I was stopping to count!), my pulse starts to become more sporadic. I'm not sure the idea of wearing a suit was a good idea. I pass by a few abandonment, but the idea of visiting them eludes me! Why get caught in what could be the secret growing location of a gang? I don't even stop to take pictures.

Once at the gas station, I notice they have the old pumps. Forget about using the speed pass to gas up, the damn display isn't even digital! Suit and speed pass start to look like foolish ideas that could get me into more problems then I had hoped. Once I refuel the car, I head down to the church which is at the same location as 'The visitation de l'ile Dupas' on the map. The interesting things to mention is that the road has a speed limit of 90km/h, and there are no signs warning ahead of what roads are coming, so the result ends up being a 90degree turn at the last minute while jamming the breaks. Also, the division for the islands aren't as clear live. Most of the islands are actually divided into little islands without matching the physical definition of island. You get onto the the actual island, turn left, and somewhere halfway down the road a panel indicates you are on a different island. How strange. I certainly don't recall passing any other body of water marking the separation.

The church was modern and built not to long ago, but the head stones in the back date the cemetery to no earlier then the 1920s. The church's back neighbor was basically a field filled with manure, what a smell! The insides were as modern as the outsides, with paintings dating from late 1800s to early 1900s and air conditioning! The temperature was so low inside most of the guests started to feel cold. Whoever left the air conditioning on puzzles me. No one but lone priest was present inside the small church and he started his ceremony stating his territory which didn't match with his current location. What surprised me the most is how anyone could have possibly found this church and decide to get married there. Nonetheless, once stating his credentials, the priest started to argue the importance of holding a marriage inside a church. His argument ran something like this:

God is great, and in his house he rules. It is a beautiful thing to be in the house of God as he is great and he rules. Because he rules and he is great, it is important to be in the house of God.

This one confused me.

Once he was done and everyone spoke, the priest began to speak again. What amazed me (but mostly delighted me) was that only people who were above the age of 60 knew when to say 'amen' or any other saying that needed to be spoken. The priest tried joking and goofing off to make it more interesting, but to no avail. He was fully aware most people were only waiting for the reception to have a party as he stated it often. His mannerisms lacked more professionalism as he took a bite out of the host and we had the good grace of hearing him chew and swallow the thing through the speakers. He then went on to explain how we were about to devour the flesh of Jesus, and drink his blood which frighten me to death. I couldn't understand how such a Pagan ritual had taken place for so long. Cannibalism is widely practiced? Never mind video games influencing teens, how about church influence? As can be read in this article, the Bible is considered indecent in parts of the world for its depiction of violence and sexuality.

The last words spoken were a true form of foolish speech. The priest explained how the church always steals from Jews a specific marriage prayer, but adds the words Jesus to make it Christian. Good lord the copyright infringement! He concluded with these words:

I have to perform a reception in St-Sulpice in 15 minutes, so I must conclude and leave you.

Busy day in a priest's life....

The reception took place on a golf course west of the church, near the river. It had multiple signs that fresh water was not available on the grounds, but a tap outside did offer such an option. Their VIP parking constituted rock and dirt as it wasn't paved. This was the elite's golf club? Everyone remained positive at the reception and offered nothing but good wishes to the newly weds. People still remained positive throughout the reception even when the annoying and unprofessional DJ made the weds run around and kiss people and had the guests play odd, useless and humiliating games.

I'll conclude by stating these facts about the newly weds:
The bride is pregnant 2 weeks, smokes and took a few glasses of wine.
She has given birth to a baby 6 months prior to the wedding.
She is only 19 years old.
Her husband is her old boss, who happens to be 33.
Her husband has had a child with another women before the marriage.
That child is a 16 year old girl.


At 26/5/07 12:40 AM, Blogger Portelance said...

I got a real laugh out of this. The ending was a bit of a shocker, actually. I think the strangest thing is to have step-daughter that is only 3 years younger than you. I somehow doubt that if I were the step-daughter that I could have much respect for my new step-mother.

I enjoyed the account of the ceremony. The priest loudly chomping on dry cardboard wafer was especially good.

It was nice to be reminded of some of our trips, too. Repentigny was memorable for the fact that we wanted to get the fuck out of there as quickly as possible. I remember parking in some random residential neighbourhood and going for a little exploration walk. I don't remember the details, but we saw some strange strange things. I was also reminded of our trip to Sherbrooke one evening and the trip we made to some random town south of Montreal. I forget exactly where it was, but it was kind of this strange industrial wasteland. I never quite understood the layout of that place... everything was built up around the train tracks and so nothing really seemed connected in any way. We had gotten a little disoriented driving along the river for a while....


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