Wednesday, August 6, 2008
"If only we'd stop trying to be happy we could have a pretty good time."
I do hate to be late. I prefer to arrive on time- or early- for any appointment that I make; it is part of my natural sensibility to worry about arriving promptly, and is quite fixed and permanent.
On the day Spouse and I got married, I was left with Mater in the house while the remainder of the wedding party had proceeded to the church.
I recall that Mater was attempting to complete my ensemble and attach a shawl to my dress. I was having none of it.
Oh, to have had a camera man immortalise one scene above all: I hauling and pulling for the back door, my half-arranged shawl streaming out behind me, poor Mater's hands attached to the other end of it and clinging on for dear life. I was the packhorse, she held the reins and I was not going to wait for Mater to fumble about when I was in danger of being late.
In actuality, the church was less than five minutes from home and we had perhaps ten minutes before the proposed starting time.
I desired to be precisely on time and nothing less would suffice.
"Let's go, let's go!" I said as Mater dawdled over something on my back, as she tried desperately to adjust one more thing on the moving creature that was I.
The road to the church was unobstructed by cars, as is typical on country roads, and we reached our destination at precisely the appointed time.
I stepped inside and peeked around a corner, sure that the family members were inspecting watches and looking anxiously for the bride.
To my astonishment, not one soul was sitting down. They were all milling about, gathered in various corners and catching up with one another's lives. I was forced to clear my throat not once but thrice in order to garner any attention and Mater had to wave wildly from our corner. I believe that the group had, for the moment, forgotten all about me.
I caught them by surprise and it was delightful to do so: I snatched a glimpse of faces I had not seen in long months or years. I was blessed with several moments to gather my thoughts, and to observe, unheeded and unseen, a small party of family and friends that had assembled for Spouse and I. Everybody looked immensely happy; no facade was it for the benefit of the bride and groom- for they were each unaware that I had arrived. Our entire wedding plan was devoid of tension, forced cheer or awkwardness: Spouse spent the evening beforehand learning to paint pictures, and had never been so carefree.
I do like to be ahead of schedule. Early presence can offer extraordinary insights and memorable portraits that one might otherwise be denied.
Posted by Phyllis Hunt McGowan at 4:08 PM