Monday, February 15, 2010

Dueling Chairs - Part V: Get Me to the Church on Time

Wonder if those lonely pair of rings will ever find a home?

It is time for, IF, indeed, any wedding can be fun. Grab a second cup of coffee or ?? and find a recliner, because this post is a LOOOONG one. There may be an epilogue, or two, because we did not arrive at our first home (Baltimore) for at least another month after as brief stint in Norfolk.

In Part 1 I compared our motivational types, A and Z. In Part 2 I illustrated the unusual 13-year courtship, the military aspect, my love of single life and finally engagement and a wedding date, Friday, Feb. 21, 1969. In Part 3 the problems LC had in arriving in Texas from Virginia, being basically MIA--a military term for missing in action. In Part 4 'Exasperated' is the best adjective for chasing an apparition all night in downtown Dallas.

If I had not been nearly comatose from previous two days, we might have thought of "shaking a leg" down the aisle as the couple in the YouTube video below.

It might been more appropriate for me in a hospital gown to arrive on a gurney suffering severe exhaustion, chasing down the groom apparition, also dubbed the 'ghostly groom' in Dallas for 2 days, including 400+ mi. in a car with 4 adventurous friends in tow. Life Companion(LC) might stagger down the aisle, 4 sheets to the wind, especially since he was so adept at dancing on the bar. Maybe he should have worn a white ghost sheet, instead of dress blues. Or maybe he could have pushed the gurney!

Now I think of it, that might have been fun, but we would have had to extend his leave to include the funerals of my conservative parents who would have expired before the church ceremony began. My friends, including 4 adventurous traveling companions, and certain family would have hooted and hollered right along with us.

After arriving home from Dallas about noon, Friday [the wedding day that wasn't], we kept a taxing, whirlwind schedule, (1) stopping by the clinic, where I worked, for our obligatory lab work, (2) LC meeting my parents, (3) contacting the wedding party and invited guests with the news flash the 'ghostly' groom had arrived, (4)trekking to the clerk's office for license, etc., all before 6 p.m. Friday.

The clerk could not issue a license without lab results, promised early Saturday a.m. The clinic was open half a day on Saturday. The wedding was at 7 p.m., but we could fudge a tad--not much, but after a whole day late, an hour or two was nothing! The clerk gave us her phone number to call when we had lab results.

We apologized for having her open her office Saturday. Amazingly, she smiled and said she did frequently. We weren't the only crazies in the world-imagine that!

As I remember, Friday was the first time LC met my parents. Mother took charge of eliciting her viewpoint of my better side, and at least one or two comments about her perception of my less desirable traits, which could have been left unsaid. He'd find out soon enough, without any outside help.

Geez! You expect your Mother to be on her daughter' side, but most of our married life, it appeared she favored LC over me in every facet of our life. Or this may have been her strange way of avoiding the "bride clinging to her mother's apron strings, etc." If you've followed this blog for any length of time, you know I respected and loved my parents but I was never tied to any apron strings when I had a choice.

Already armed with LC's family's kindly information his Mother favored him above his siblings and anyone else, I was an underdog with both Mothers!

The most humorous event in meeting my parents was Mother's ill-tempered Chihuahua nipped LC on the shin as we entered my parent's house the first time. Mother had 3 Chihuahuas before she switched to poodles.

The nipper was named Sugar Baby, who must have been suffering hypoglycemia and decided LC's shin was the nearest fix at her eye level! LC 's dislike of Chihuahuas stems from this painful encounter.

We spent Friday night in my apartment and early Saturday morning we accomplished the critical license when the lab results came in EARLY! Finally, a good omen!

Then it was to the church building to set up the auditorium. LC, my parents and I began to arrange the furniture, the flower arrangements, and the chairs. Everything was going smoothly for 4 individuals not used to working together.

That is, until the time came to set up the folding chairs. We had about 50 chairs to separate and arrange. First we simply separated and unfolded the chairs.

The fun began. My parents set up one side of 25; LC and I set up the other side with an aisle between them and on each side. When we finished, Mother and LC began to make the rows, more or less aligned on both sides of the center aisle. LC finished his side first and decided to help Mother out.

She had arranged her section with each chair directly behind the chair in front. LC had arranged his section staggered, which he perceived gave each person a better view. In both sections the rows were pretty much aligned with the opposite section.

LC began staggering the chairs in Mother's section. Since he was behind her, she did not notice. When she was through, she noticed the chairs were not as she thought, so she started over, rearranging them her way again.

I thought the chair's finish was wearing down to bare metal from all the shuffling. Of course, this was the most amusing situation of the whole week. I just sat down and watched to see how long this setup would take. Somewhere into the second round LC and Mother met in the middle of a section; fortunately she laughed, glad to know she really wasn't crazy; the chairs were not moving!

Although the dueling chair organizers ceased their duel, I don't remember if the two sections matched, There may have been one section even, one, staggered.

We had 39 guests including the wedding party in attendance, so there was sufficient seating.

Somehow everything fell in place. The cake and other reception items arrived. The trio of singers, composed of my best friend (from the second grade), a mother and daughter, were ready.

When we left the church building, miraculously everything was "go."

All we needed to do was dress, and get back by 7 p.m. with the rings. We managed even, though we all were numb with exhaustion.

We all arrived on time and the guests were early! The guests were a nice cross section of bowling buddies, co-workers, personal, family and church friends.

The wedding party of LC, me, the a Capella Trio, minister and one usher were assembled and we actually began on time!

Music I selected was Ah! Sweet Mystery of Life, *May the Good Lord Bless and Keep You (recessional). The trio selected Richard Wagner's Lohengrin Bridal Chorus (processional) and Whither Thou Goest (Ruth 1:1-16). [Links are words and music.]

LC and I walked down the aisle together, holding hands to Wagner's Lohengrin Bridal Chorus. Lord knows, I wasn't going to let him out of my sight, even at the church building. We both probably felt like crawling down the aisle by this time. However, LC has a very slow gait; we looked like zombies en route to the minister at the altar, but we made it without collapsing in a heap.

The ceremony began with Dad standing up to answer the 'give-away' question, (her Mother and I). He refrained from adding, "Thanks be to God, she finally made it."

We recited traditional vows and exchanged rings, after a short wedding- fairly traditional-sermon. Glad it was brief, my feet were killing me in those heels.

Finally, it was over! Let us at the cake...I was a foodaholic from birth. The reception was small. Of course, there was another glitch-the printer spelled my husband's (LC) name wrong on the napkins. He spells his first name, Shelly, without a second 'e!' After the reception of relief, a friend whisked us away to our apartment. There was no time for a fancy trip to some remote hideaway, unless Baltimore could be considered in that category. I never heard anybody say, "We're going to Baltimore for our honeymoon!"

If Morocco had not been 2.5 years in the future... guess we could have called it a delayed honeymoon, but with the military intervening, it hardly met that criteria. Morocco was one of the most eye-opening, learning experiences for me, transforming my core values into less provincial and more conciliatory of people who are unlike me in every conceivable way.

We had a car to repair, a trip to LC's home where his family and friends waited for more celebration, a wedding shower, and then the military owned us. Plus we had to pack a small U-Haul with my possessions to tow en route.

Enjoy this video from YOU TUBE of the TITLE SONG used as basis for this series of post. I prefer the movie rendition with Rex Harrison and Julie Andrews.

As one of my followers commented, this saga would probably only have been one post, if we all had had CELL PHONES which were non-existent in 1969!

Part 5 ends the saga of Get Me to the Church on Time. There May Be An Epilogue or two, about the trip to South Carolina and Baltimore, via Norfolk, VA. Two months after our marriage, LC's Mother died.

*I actually requested this hymn, God Be With You Till We Meet Again [words and music link] as I was leaving all I knew to blindly trust and follow this man to far away places, unknown to me. My world, even though I traveled as a single person, always ended up in Texas, somewhere close to family and friends. Of course in Texas that can be, and usually was, 200 mi. apart! Even now, this hymn is a "grab the Kleenex box" funeral song.

However, the mother (who had a MA degree in music education) in charge of music mistook my request for this hymn with several similar titles and selected the one listed in paragraph about music selections above. The message is the same--but just one more glitch in what can go wrong on the way to the altar!!!

PHOTOS - old and faded; I did my best with the photo editing program.
Photographers were friends. No professional wedding photographer - imagine how many bucks I'd been out with all the postponements!

Thanks to my brother & his wife in Brownwood, who retrieved most of these pictures for this post from family musty family albums and boxes.

[Beginning at top]

1. Hers & His Rings finally find their home!
2. County Record - we finally received that elusive license.
3. Church where wedding took place.
4. Bride & Groom leaving Bride's apartment for the church.
5. Finally at the 'alt r' with minister - the minister momentarily had difficulty with the bride's ring. Shelly appears amused. I appear ready to jump in and help him. I wasn't going to lose this elusive ring.
6. The Groom finally has ring on his finger.
7. Finally, the minister says " I present to you, Mr. and Mrs. Shelly Coward!" (recessional with wedding license in hand).
8. Bride & Groom with Bride's parents - reception.

[Some one needs to show me how to put captions or cut lines with my photos. I tried to follow this Blogger help but it did not work for me. I'm using Blogger classic because it has spell check. Last I heard the improved version did not have spell check. Captions in the improved version is easier, I've been told.]


Arkansas Patti said...

Phew. If I didn't all ready know you were married, I would have had my doubts. Think I would have handcuffed that dude when he finally showed up.
The chair game was cute.
Loved the photos but noticed that while LC was beaming in most all, you didn't seem to crack a smile.
Exhaustion may account for that.
It took a while but you two have certainly lasted a great long while.
Congrats big time on your upcomming anniversary.

Patty said...

Hallelujah, you made it. And still going strong.

Sandi McBride said...

My saga began just the year before yours, my Sailor and I tied the knot on Oct 15, I'm offering congrats to you both on the upcoming Anniversary and hope you'll continue this happy tradition for years to come!
the pictures are fabulous!

NitWit1 said...

AR Patti- Maybe it was the uniform that kept me going? I was near comatose--Do people in comas smile? Truthfully I am a happy person with a serious streak plus smiling reveals big gaps in my teeth where my genetic marker deprived me of permanent upper cuspid (canine, eyeteeth)but certainly did not deprive me of eating! We have had lots of very funny times, too. I tend to laugh more than smile.

Thanks #41 in a few weeks. I be lying if I claimed it has been easy. We been through the gamut of issues from finances to fidelity, but we've ultimately, sometimes grudgingly, found our truces. Neither of us is guiltless, either.

My Mother told me Marriage was no bed of roses, which I did not understand at the time, but sure do now.

Patty: thanks. Read comments above. But chances are good we'll likely make it to death till we part.Some bloggers are probably saying Hallelujah she is through with that epic!

Sandi: there's some thing about those Navy blues?!! All I can say, is I'm glad I was not craving a formal candlelight ceremony! I'd be in an institution.

Lorna said...

I don't know if I could have been so tenacious.

jinksy said...

Everything comes to she who waits!But maybe a little later than expected....

reanaclaire said...

hello..greetings from
You look very smart during your wedding day.. and Happy Anniversary to you...

Liz said...

I'm sooo glad you got there!