Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Wedding of the Century

Part the Third: The End of the Beginning and the Beginning of a New Experience, and Finally the End of this Story
The sights were then set on the Elks Lodge, and the reception train headed downtown. Everybody else went in through the front door, but we, the wedding party got to come in through the stage door, and the DJ announced us. I haven’t been announced before, and let me tell you, it was a thrill.

After everyone got in, the party started. There was a dinner of brisket and chicken along with green beans and a potato salad that had “more” written all over it. Family and friends broke bread with us on this momentous occasion. Although excited and full of emotion, surprisingly I still ate well. And at the very back was a big cake that we were not allowed to eat right away for some reason. The candy table was well-stocked, however, with Jelly Belly and blueberry sours. The blueberry candies were fairly popular, judging by the number of people walking around smiling with blue lips parted to show blue teeth.

Soon, the time came for the big show; the Father Daughter dance. Not being much of a dancer since college (and not really that good at cutting a rug even then), I was a little apprehensive of my performance on the floor. I had prepared in advance for this moment however, but it had nothing to do with footwork. I had heard a Jonathan Edwards song when Desiree was but 4 or 5 years old, and it was tattooed on my brain as such a powerful and beautiful song. It’s titled “Little Hands”, and it describes a man looking at his young daughter’s little hands, imagining what they would do in the future. Thanks to the internet, I found it, bought it and it was played at the biggest moment a dad can have.

As the first notes flowed, my eyes, once again blurred over, and the emotion was just about too much for me. There I was, with a young woman in my arms that only a short time ago, I was holding for the very first time. I recalled her little eyes looking around and my feelings of wonder at this little life. As we turned on the floor, I realized too late that I had forgotten to turn off my brain beforehand. Every word of that song brought a flood of memories to me and each of those memories pushed more water to my eyes. At one point, in a failed attempt to stifle a sob, I snorted into my girl’s ear. She was crying a little, too, and I think she thought the snort was laughter. It elicited the same response as the well-placed “You stink” comment had done earlier. I am not sure how tightly I held that girl, but I know that she may have had trouble breathing. She didn’t complain, though, and as the song ended, my eyes dried and I handed her to her husband. As I sat down, I noticed my arms were kinda sore. Sorry about your ribs, darlin’!

After a time, there was the Grand March dance, which I had never heard of before October. What I did hear was that the bride and groom were to be at the front of the line of as many guests as could be had on a dance floor. They would then be led around by an experienced Grand March couple, doing intricate moves, snaking the entire procession of participants all over the dance floor in a serpentine trail of fun. Little MiMi, my mother-in-law was even a participant. The dance got so wild, MiMi got separated from us when we turned a corner; she zigged and the rest of us zagged. Fortunately, an alert groomsman picked up on what happened and he took her with his group. Chaos is a strong word as a description of the Grand March, and it in no way conveys the absolute enjoyment that we had. At the end of the Grand March, the Chicken Dance was played, and following that, everyone formed a huge circle and the DJ played the Aggie War Hymn. If you aren’t from Texas, or if you are and just don’t like Aggies, I apologize for this part, but not really. There were some T-sippers there and they had as good a time as everyone else, so you can butch up for a sentence or two. A more rabid and loyal bunch of people were never put together. It puts chills on me every time I hear 10 or 10,000 Aggies singing the War Hymn in perfect unison. We all stood singing and sawing varsity’s horns off….SHORT!

At some point, I forget the exact chronology, the cakes were cut
and toasts were toasted to the newlyweds. The wedding cake was beautiful, and gotten for a good price (geezer plug); if you’re ever in New Braunfels and need a nice cake, my daughter can hook you up. One really cute thing was what my daughter did with the groom’s cake. Traditionally, the groom’s cake is chocolate or some variant, and this time it was German Chocolate. Baron thought that the decoration was going to be the seal of Texas A&M. Instead, his beloved tricked him by having a picture of John Wayne, Baron’s favorite actor, on top with the quote, “Whoa, Slow Down There, Pilgrim!” The expression on his face when he saw it was worth the deceit, according to my girl.

After a few more hours of mingling and watching people dance, and eating cake, and looking at the people with the blue teeth, the evening wound down to the Bride and Groom’s exit. The remaining friends and family stood outside with the bubble bottles and showered the happy pair with little puffs of air surrounded by a shimmering skin of soap all the way to the waiting chariot. A big, dark F250 diesel idling to whisk them away to begin their journey as man and wife.

Thus ended the day that I will never forget. I found that after the wedding and reception, I was totally exhausted. Mostly I think from holding my stomach in for 5 hours. Some aspects will grow more dim as time passes, but other memories will stick with me for my lifetime. From my “little hands” to the strong, beautiful bride, the time slips by so quickly so as to boggle the mind.

And that’s what a geezer lives for.


Lynn said...

awwww, wonderfully written. Congrats to the happy couple and to you for keeping your "snort" to a minimum (hee*)

innominatus said...

Indeed, congratulations. Nice read.

Rob V. said...

Love the illustration of you holding your daughter when she was a baby. I can relate to your lament about time passing too swiftly. I recall as if it were a week ago how I taught my daughter to ride a bike. Now her sons have nearly outgrown the bike-riding phase. Reminds me of words from a novel I once read when an old-timer lamented: "Wish time had a tail like a mule and I could yank on it and slow it down a mite."