11 Comments

I, THE UNREADY


Ethelbert had nothing on me when it came to being unready, especially when it came to the wedding of our second daughter years ago. On a cold and rainy February 14th Valentine’s Day, I was lying near death in my bed entertaining the world’s worst case of the flu. I was feverish, with nose dripping, eyes burning, a hacking cough, and all two hundred plus bones in my body resisting movement, and I had convinced myself that people actually DID die of flu. I was prepared to join that sad number by mentally rehearsing my obituary for the event. In the midst of my sad wallow, my daughter came rushing into my darkened sickroom with the announcement that she and what’s-his-name wanted to get married, and that I was elected to both plan and execute this joyous occasion. She would gladly help when she could, but she was in the midst of finals, so not to expect too much hands-on assistance from her. Wasn’t it exciting? Oh yes, by the way, they wanted to execute this glad occasion on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17—less than one month hence.

After performing an abrupt right turn, the dark hairy hulk residing in my brain rose, shook himself free of End-of-Time thoughts, and realizing that I truly was nearly Out of Time. I needed to get up, get out, and get going.

I have to explain how thoughts of this long ago occasion entered my mind in the first place. While having lunch with good friends yesterday, the subject of multiple marriages came up, with the attendant description of the wedding dresses which accompanied them. When you take into account that the dress you choose will probably only be worn once, unless the bride chooses to recycle it for the next go-around, it is a most unchary purchase. Dr. Advice and I will be celebrating our 68th wedding anniversary soon, and I never found an occasion to wear the dress I borrowed from my father’s cousin again. The astonishing cost of some of these celebrity weddings would not only buy the young couple a home, but buy several of their children a first rate education at a prestigious university. Given the fact that half of the marriages are headed for the divorce court before the bills are paid, it’s a wonder that the Courts don’t ban the activity altogether.

Back to the Wedding-of-the-Century—I dragged myself from the cool comfortable confines of my bed and pasted together what I long considered to be the most charming country wedding I could conceive of. We were living in the country, and my daughter wanted to be married at home in our barn, which was a structure not built for the housing of animals, but was playroom, guest quarters, and studio space. While getting invitations, wedding dress and bridesmaids dresses underway, and the wedding cake baked, it occurred to me that some individual to validate the occasion was necessary, and not being a part of any religious association presented a problem in having them solemnize this event in the confines of our barn.

I contacted the Catholic Church, Episcopal, Methodist, etc. and no one was willing to come to us. This was long before the internet provided a way for any upright individual to legally pave the path to connubial happiness. Just as I was at wit’s end, a friend found a Mennonite minister without a church who would willingly perform the required task. I would have gladly converted just to salvage the occasion.

On the eventful day the weather went through its entire bag of tricks. First the sun shone brightly, then it rained, it hailed, it snowed, and a weak sun finally peered warily around a ragged cloud to see if it wanted to be part of the activity taking place on the ground below. At the appointed time, the group of family and friends were gathered in the warm and welcoming barn, and the lovely young bride took her father’s arm and slowly walked from her house to enter her new life.

It was a truly memorable scene, huge arrangements of daffodils filled the room, soft guitar music played, crickets chirped in hidden cages, the vows were taken under a canopy of silken ribbons, daisies and daffodils, the Mennonite minister spoke the required words, and I held our three month old first grandson while his mother, our oldest daughter and sister of the bride, performed her Matron of Honor duties. Immediately afterward, toasts were given, food was dispensed, the home-made carrot cake was demolished, promises were made to get together soonest, and the bouquet of daisies was tossed to the nearest 8 year old. It was all over! How could all that have taken only one month?

The guests departed, the bride and what’s-his-name left, she carrying a small caged cricket for good luck, but the luck ran out, the flowers wilted, the resident crickets went into hibernation, the sun shone brightly and the Mennonite minister remembered that he did not sign the marriage certificate!

Yes, it was a perfectly charming wedding. Oh, one more thing,—-the groom was a poor choice and did not work out.

A lifetime later, the bride planned what truly WAS the most charming wedding conceivable, and with a groom who truly was a wonderful choice for her.

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11 comments on “I, THE UNREADY

  1. Yes, you are right. If fridges or washing machines had a failure rate the same as marriages there would be a consumer watchdog in place or banned altogether. There would be huge posters about with dire warnings. Wedding rings would be banned and white stretch limousines painted a grim prohibitive black. 😉
    Glad to hear it worked fine for you. Congratulations from us. We are in our almost fiftieth year of wedded bliss but I do the vacuuming.

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    • You need to take into consideration the amount of money which changes hands because of all these wedding celebrations. I don’t think trying to deprive people of all this filthy lucre would work. You and H. and Dr. Advice and I are in the minority these days. Congratulations to you as well. Do you have a pretty yellow vacuum?

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  2. I so enjoy your writing, I felt like I was there. At least the second choice was golden.

    Love you,

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  3. Your power of remembrance never ceases to amaze me. The detail! Oh, the detail.
    What’s his name reminds me of our not-to-be named “mother-in-law” whom I called, in JK Rowling’s spirit, “Voldemort.” In our case, only death would separate such a shrew from the shaft. (Thought I would try a mixed metaphor.) Thank god for death.

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  4. 68th anniversay! Must have been a child marriage. Are you European Royalty? Have you checked that your marriage certificate was signed?

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    • Pure English stock Richard. And I guess it was a child marriage, as I seem to keep going like the Eveready Battery we see on TV. The hallowed occasion doesn’t take place until September “:God willing and the creek don’t rise!”

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  5. One of your best, Kayti. Love, love, love it! All I can think is why doesn’t everyone get married in barns with daffodils and crickets and guitars. And a happy if circuitous ending! xx

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  6. Ah, one of the best lines in the world: “I’ll never forget old what’s-his-name.” We all have one or two of those lurking around in the shadows. I’d tell you about mine, but I can’t remember his name. 😉

    Crickets in cages? Honestly? I thought you were joking, but then, when the bride departed with one, I thought… maybe it really happened. I do remember some cultures consider a cricket on the hearth good luck, and perhaps it’s the Japanese who revere them even more. In any case, it sounds like a perfectly delightful wedding. Of course, any occasion that includes carrot cake is fine by me.

    I loved this: ” I would have gladly converted just to salvage the occasion.” There’s nothing like good, practical theology. There’s nothing like a good, long marriage, either. Congratulations on yours!

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  7. Hi Linda, There was a wonderful little shop in Belleview, WA in the ’70’s which carried all sorts of dried flower-weed arrangements, baskets, gifty items, and smelled like the kind of nature we’ve all forgotten about. Along with nature smells, they served homemade soup and breads in handmade pottery dishes which you could carry around with you if you wished while you enjoyed the shop. Along with all this largesse there was the chirpy sound of cricket music, hidden away within the clutter of weeds and baskets. I loved going there, and decided I needed that sound in my own house. I bought crickets and cages and hoped they would multiply 7-fold before the wedding. (Remember, it was the ’70’s!) I had the idea that because a “cricket on the hearth” was good luck, my daughter should take one with her when she let the snug safety of her home. She probably ditched it on the way to the airport when they left for the honeymoon. I never asked.

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