Like The Queen
Whatever happens to strike my fancy, but surely some sort of fiber content.


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Monday, January 24, 2005  

Friday morning dawned cold, clear, sharp as a lemon. I own that I had some serious qualms about both the weather and our state of readiness. A sleety ice storm was promised for Saturday, beginning around noon. But it could go north of us. Or it could start later. Or it could rain. All the guests might arrive or only half or maybe nobody. There was no telling. There was only a going ahead with things as planned. So the first thing I did was to get a manicure.

Sheer happy relaxing bliss. That’s what a manicure can give a girl. Both Susan, who does my nails every other week and Debbie, who owns the shop, were up to the minute on all the wedding plans. They’ve been hearing about it for weeks now. They were scheduled to do the flower girls after us and the Bride and Maid of Honor after that - what’s known as a “wedding party day”. They made me promise to bring wedding photos in to my next appointment. Bride & MOH arrived just as I was leaving, all excited and chattery in the cold. Hugs and hugs and hugs were exchanged out on the sidewalk as we laughed at all the people who had been calling, asking us what we were going to do if it was stormy.

I mean, what did they think? That we’d have a rain date? Bride said she wasn’t going to answer the phone any more and I got MOH’s cell phone number so that if I needed her I could find her.

I had left BD, Ben, and Amanda, all the way from Seattle, at home, with a list of duties. Number 1 on that list was to cut down 10 cedar trees and set them into stands at the church. I had a trunk full of half wrapped baskets for out of town guests. Of course, I’d left the cellophane wrap at home. The library isn’t open to the public on Friday mornings so I dropped in there, to make copies of the directions to the church and finish wrapping and labeling them. My staff, excited to be a part of the festivities, turned in and helped me complete them in about 15 minutes. Delivery to the motel desk took place after a stop at the bank and the gas pump. Last on the list of InTownDuties was to pick up some candles and some lunch for the folks working up at the church.

I drove into the church parking lot just as BD drove off, with someone sitting beside him. In the church kitchen, P was cooking with the determination of a general - a frustrated general, since the tables, linens, dishes and lamps were to have been delivered first thing in the morning. It was closing in on 2 and there had been no trucks yet. There is very little else in the world that can so strike dread into the heart of a MOG as a reception without tables, linens or dishes. I gritted my teeth, determined that there was nothing to do but plow forward, and went about spreading a lunch for the hungry.

That was pretty much limited to Ben and me, since BD and Amanda were gone and P was deep in concentrated cooking thought. Ben had been assembling the tree stands, which were like flat green plastic dishes with a tube in the center. 8 screws held the trees tightly inside the tube. I have to admit, BD had selected perfect trees - between 5 and 7 feet tall, slender but bushy, and deep green. Some cedar trees turn a sort of greeny bronze in winter, but these were rich cedar green. They’re the devil to decorate because they are so prickly. Ben tried wrapping lights around one and was in real pain afterwards. We tried the next tree as a team, each of us wrapping one side and then handing the string of lights to the guy on the other side - much better. My girlfriend Chris showed up about then, with her beautiful silver tea service, some stunning white platters and bowls and a warm offer to do anything that was needed. Instantly she became the tree light partner while I tried my hand at making large pew bows out of wired vanilla satin ribbon. The first bow was a bit drunken looking but the subsequent ones were lovely puffs of color.

Sometime during the afternoon the truck from the rental company showed up and tables were spread with a vengeance - and with tablecloths. Stacks of dishes, flatware, stemware were positioned in strategic locations. BD returned, too, with Amanda, who had been pressed into urgent boat duty in the wake of StormWarnings. He had a rehearsal with the organist at 4 and Ben, Amanda and I went home to get ready for the wedding rehearsal, gather up the wedding wardrobe and any extras we might need; ironing board, iron, needle&thread, scissors. We wanted everything at the church that night. That way we wouldn’t have to expose them to any possible falling weather. It was a good thing, too, since we had lots of weather and it froze as it fell.

The rehearsal dinner was casual, but we still wanted to look festive. I was in black velvet pants, a chocolate brown silk blouse and a rust suede jacket. Not the jeans and ancient yellow sweatshirt of the afternoon. It was still light out as we came into the church, through the front door and across the little vestibule floor. Most of the folk inside were familiar loved ones, though one or two were new to me. A smiling fellow on the right side with curly pony tail drew my attention and then the woman in the center isle came into focus; slender, dressed in unobtrusive black pants and top, with soft red hair. She turned slightly, facing the curly pony tail and a face of almost unbearable sweetness simply melted me. There was an instant of recognition - that “My kind of people” sensation - and then it dawned on me. This was the photographer: Amy Deputy and Nathaniel Corn, her handsome curly pony tailed partner.

Now, I ought not to have been surprised that I would feel this instant bond. First off, I’ve been completely joy filled for the past few days, open and ready for any good thing that might happen to come my way. All it would take would be to come within antenna range of someone special. And then, I adore this woman’s web site. I think her photography is stunning. It’s special, it’s beautiful, it’s open. How could I not respond to the person who does such work. I just hadn’t anticipated how much I was going to love having both Amy and Nathaniel around me for the next day and a half. For the rest of the night she felt like a professional photographer of extraordinary talent, come to make beautiful memories for us. After that she just felt like a soul-sister. And Nathaniel just walked into our joy filled hearts.

Unlike any wedding rehearsal I’ve ever attended, and I have attended hundreds as the hired musician, the minister, Roy, had more than a warm welcome for us. He managed to give us a short, beautiful, verbal image of what a marriage is, what he has come to learn from TheDarlings, what he hopes for them and what he hopes for us. This little moment of solemn spirituality was a prelude to some of the tenderest teasing I have ever witnessed from a minister. Of course, this didn’t surprise me either, since Roy’s enormous generous wisdom and love, his delight in marriage, both his own and other good marriages, were the reasons I encouraged TheDarlings to consider him in the first place. You can tell he loves weddings. He made this one feel like it was the most special wedding in the world.

The wedding party consisted of Bride&Groom [William and Worth], MaidOfHonor [Nelly], 2 Flower Maidens [Emma and Lizzie], a BestMan [Brian] and 2 Ushers [Ben and Watts]. With the exception of MOH and BM, they are all family. BD played his flute before the ceremony with our friend Kristi at the organ, and he read one of his sonnets. I, of course, had only the minor role of SeamstressOfTheWeddingDress. And make-up artist. And KeeperOfExuberantHappiness. Bride’s two brothers would hand out programs but they were unable to be at the rehearsal, though they made it to the dinner, along with her parents and her friend from England, Cherrie.

The dinner was held at our favorite BBQ restaurant, in town and just across the street from the hotel where we’d reserved a block of rooms for out of town guests. Bride’s staunch and loving Uncle Gene and Aunt Myra from Florida were there, along with her immediate family. The entire BedfordCousins family was there too; my annual reunion guests. BH and the flower maidens, my nephew Adam and his wife Heather, WeddngParty spouses and partners, and a number of Bride’s friends from both high school and college filled up the room. It ended up being such a casual dinner we never got around to toasts or roasts. I remember being hungry but too keyed up to eat much, and realizing that Melanie’s husband, Tim, was one of the neatest guys - and then thinking, well, of course he’d have to be really cool. Only someone utterly wonderful would have ended up with her. And then I made an idiot of myself by telling bizarre stories about past life regressions to poor Amy.

Well, weddings are nothing if they don’t bring out the ridiculous in us. We do come as a package deal, and our warts are as precious as our curly hair or aquiline profiles.

After dinner all the young people, along with the adult members of the WeddingParty, went to TheDarlings house for the evening while TheBedfordCousins went back with me to the church to make more bows and shove tables around again. The cake had arrived in P’s D’s car. The room was beginning to look ever so slightly like it would be ready for a party on the morrow. We did all that we could and then headed home beneath a clear starry sky. Who would believe what the next 12 hours would bring?

We visited with Ben and Amanda till I grew so tired I couldn’t hold up my head. All the while Amanda and I were tying little ribbon bows around the necks of bridal bubble bottles. Yes. There really is such a thing - it is supposedly made of a formula that doesn’t spot wedding dresses. The last thing I heard before drifting off was P and D returning from the church. Lawsee, it must have been nigh on to midnight by then. I slept a little that night, perhaps 4 hours, or maybe 5. I was up in the wee dawn, though, sipping coffee, reading all the weather web pages along with my usual morning routine sites. It was all bad news, too, just the thing to match the steely gray sky that was lowering itself down onto Essex County.

The phone rang once and it was my sister B with news that the band wasn’t coming. Well, too bad. The phone rang again, and it was Bride, to whom I said, with genuine cheer, that we were ready for the most beautiful wedding that ever was. Nothing could dampen my spirits that day. Not bad weather, not a lack of guests, not a durn thing. As I said earlier, I had taken stock of all the essentials and found that everything we needed, and more, was at hand. It was time to dance at the wedding.

Tomorrow - TheWedding! And maybe some photos.

posted by Bess | 7:08 PM