Monday, January 15, 2007

24 Years Ago Today - Part II

This was the picture on the front of the card that my wife gave me for our anniversary yesterday. It is an excellent photograph, and it evoked a couple of different ideas and memories.

For me, I was first struck by the anxious pose, the sense of high expectancy. The details, too, are interesting; the white box on table, the old bed with the chenille bedspread, and the tiny frame on the wall. What it made me think of, honestly, was the imagery of the bride described in the Song of Solomon. And no, not because everything I see automatically reminds me of something biblical, but because I recently reread that short, mysterious little book and it was fresh on my mind.

To my wife, the picture brought back a completely different kind of memory. On the day of our wedding, her parents went ahead to the church to finalize preparations and Nancy was supposed to come later. Well, somehow, in all the hubub, whoever was supposed to come back, pick her up, and take her to the church forgot about her. So, as the time for the wedding approached, Nancy became more and more anxious. She made phone calls to the church, she tried calling her friends and bridesmaids, but was unable to reach anyone. (Kids, yes, this was before cellfones.)So, she started getting dressed at home, putting on the white dress, collecting her things, watching out the window, and become increasingly agitated with each passing moment.

In tears, she was just folding herself in to her own (subcompact) car, wedding dress, make-up and all to drive herself to the church when her brother, Steve, showed up to collect her. Her relief at his arrival was fleeting, though, as they both realized how very little time there was before the wedding was to start. So they sped to the church as fast as they could. But the suffering was not yet over.

When she arrived at the church, she was told that she could not come in yet because the photographers had to take pictures of the groom (me) and his entourage, including Steve who had gone off to get Nancy and just returned. And, of course, we couldn't risk an accidental bride-sighting, so she was effectively locked out of the church, in the cold January drizzle for 15 minutes longer, in her wedding dress, and now in a furious and frantic state of mind. Finally, she was let in and was quickly led away and attended to by her mom and her friends. She was fully ready to kill people at that point, I believe, but somehow restrained herself and refocused her energies on the final preparations necessary and soon, at the appointed time emerged at the back of the sanctuary complete and radiant, the very picture of grace and beauty.

I was happily oblivious to all of this drama, I must say, and only heard about it later at the reception. But it is one more special memory that we share from 24 years ago.

photo credit: "A Young Bride in Oakes, N. Dakota" (c) by Michael Rouugier, Life Magazine/Time Inc & Notecard/Time Inc.

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