What I said in the newspaper last week:
They say it was a beautiful wedding. That the afternoon was fun and lively and just the best all around.
And there I am, in every picture, smiling. Grinning from ear-to-ear, deliriously happy in Kodachrome –or whatever the digital equivalent is.
But for an event I could hardly wait for, there’s one problem — I can barely remember it.
This completely confuses me. My experience with other momentous lifetime events is that details are seared into my brain forever. Births of my children? Yeah, I can recite those minute by minute, decades later. You want to know how long each labor was, just ask.
First new car? I can still hear the sappy salesman pander to me and ask myself, “Who would do that to sell a Dodge Colt?” Which, I don’t mind admitting, turned out to be made of tin foil.
I remember the first day of my first real job, my first “friends’” birthday party for me, the first time I laid eyes on my new “Chatty Cathy” doll, freed from her Christmas wrapping.
My recent wedding? Not so much. Not after realizing at 8 p.m. the night before I had failed to fetch my wedding dress from the seamstress.
Hang on, I’m getting ahead of myself.
I started 10 days prior to June 3 by welcoming my sister-in-law, who escaped Minnesota to light a fire under me. We rushed here and there, getting a lengthy list of wedding chores crossed off in no time at all. Laurie was a kind, but focused, taskmaster. “Good morning,” she would chirp as she poured a cup of coffee. “What shall we start with today?”
We mowed through a football field of loose ends, ripping out of the driveway at dawn, or nearly so. There were haircuts and fittings and nail care and a flurry of shopping trips.
Oh, yes, I well remember being at Box-Mart late at night, desperate to find perfect earrings to pair with the pearl choker my grandmother wore on her wedding day in 1925.
By the time others began arriving, my household was more than ready for the amped-up celebratory vibe. It felt like an extended slumber party, having my siblings and friends come from near and far to watch over this moment in my life. Good thing they were watching, because I apparently was not.
There I was, hauling my oldest daughter along, speeding over to the seamstress on the eve of the big day. We had rushed away from the rehearsal dinner when I came out of a haze induced by my brother’s succulent shredded beef spread to realize I had forgotten this slightly important detail.
And then … it’s mostly a blur.
I know the rain that poured on Saturday and Monday controlled itself on Sunday, sending just a few drops to kiss our heads. I know a small army of friends and family came out with great cheer to help us decorate the park. I recall that photographers hovered, surprise guests made me whoop and holler, that I was very nearly late to the altar, whispering to my poor Uncle Alan towalk faster as he escorted me.
As soon as I laid eyes on Camo Man, however, I fell into autopilot. I moved forward inside a tunnel of beautiful music and happy faces, which I could feel but not see, not to go all New Age on you.
You know how on the Charlie Brown movies the adults don’t speak actual words, but a “wah wah wah” echo? That’s how the ceremony sounds in my head.
You’d think this fog would worry me, but not so. Because I did hear one voice and see one face clearly. It was my man, saying the sweetest things. Even when he made folks laugh, explaining how I dictate — gently — his wardrobe choices. His wink to share the joke with me … I remember.
And just like that, a year after our first date and after six months of wedding prep, we were married. The pastor introduced us as “Mr. and Mrs. Camo Man” as I lifted the hem of my dress to show off my own joke, a camouflage slip.
I’ve heard that people cheered.
Guests brought delicious dishes birthed through extraordinary efforts, I’ve been assured. No one left hungry. The band played, the ginger water flowed and dancing ensued. People chatted, little girls in party dresses twirled in the grass. I know, I’ve seen the pictures.
The bride and groom were hugged and kissed and patted and wished very, very well.
And we are.
Author’s note: To see wedding pictures, visit me on Facebook at “Home Place by Sheila Hagar.”