Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Fourteen

It was wedding season and the boy was none too pleased of being the age where adults his parents knew were getting married and his parents were volunteering his services as the photogenic little boy he was. In fact the week before was actually the first time he'd been pressed into service -- he had allowed himself to be pressed in the little penguin suit, stood at the back of the church, and when the music swelled, the doors opened, everyone turned to look at him and vvvvvvp! he was out of there. That wedding was sans ring bearer. The pastor, hearing the story, recommended taking some old costume jewelry and sewing it to the ring pillow. The groom should just keep the ring with him, he said.

The groom arrived at the church in shorts and a t-shirt, his tux still wrapped in plastic. When the time came, he left to the bathroom to change. He had the wedding ring around his pinky because his bride's fingers were far more slender, almost lost in his prodigious digits when they'd intertwine their fingers as young couples in love are want to do. He changed, took his clothes out to the car and returned to the waiting room.  And then it hit him - he no longer had her ring. Ring issues would plague yet another wedding and this time the baby-faced little nephew of the bride would have no culpability. 

The parents, the mother of the bride, anyone and everyone fanned out, sifting through garbage cans in the men's room, looking at high and low through the church, all surreptitiously keeping the bride in the dark about the looming tragedy that might cast a pall on the day she'd undoubtedly been planning since she was five. It's often said that the groom is the last piece of the plan for the day and that's why the groom and groomsmen all dress alike - the groomsman fails and everyone just shifts one spot closer to the aisle.

Well, it was too late now - the quartet was winding down, the organist was flexing her fingers and the time was drawing near. A big gulp and then men walked out, the groom keeping the piece of advice that everyone and his brother and cousin and dad had all echoed to him: "Don't lock your knees." It was a time before YouTube so he wondered if that was really a big thing - men locking their knees and passing out. Darn it, he wasn't going to be one of those guys.

The ring bearer came down the aisle, embarrassed with all the attention, pillow covering his face, bumping into every single pew until his grandmother stepped out and guided him into the front row. Then the sweet little flower girl who, until moments earlier, had been a massive gray stormcloud who was wasn't going to get to participate. The storm had dissipated but we weren't out of the woods yet - why should she have to sit with grandma and her brother when her mom was up front in a pretty dress? Didn't she have a pretty dress?  As she approached, grandma stood and turned to guide her into the row and, with a defiant look, she navigated around grandma to join mommy on the stairs leading up to the platform. 

Things were a blur until they were finally standing together at the front of the church. She looked lovely and he hated to do it but he said quietly through clenched teeth. "I don't have the ring."  "What?" she murmered back thinking he was just picking a really dumb time to be funny. "I don't have the ring." She realized he wasn't joking. Thinking quickly, she improvised. If you watch the tape, you see only the slightest of shake of the flowers and then their hands join briefly. 

And that was when Lori handed me back her engagement ring so that I could slip that onto her finger at the appropriate point in the ceremony.

Happy Anniversary, my love.
Man, it's been quite a ride.
P.S. We really should get our photos scanned.











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