Crumbs From the Corner: Adventures in Woolgathering

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


"If only we'd stop trying to be happy we could have a pretty good time."
-Edith Wharton

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.


Pappy said...

My feeling exactly Ele. I can't stand to be late. Here in the Valley, being late is an art form. It drives me crazy. I was totally in the scene you described in your post. I could see and feel the emotion. I jingle the keys in my pocket when I feel we are nearing the last tolerable moment for leaving the house. Pappy

Anonymous said...

I notice the younger generation especially is bad for being late. I am always on time or early. Bad habit I guess. LOL


julochka said...

(sigh) i guess i'll never know about that because i've never been on time in my life...i must be missing out on so many things. :-) on the other hand, you can also take people by surprise when you're late.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Loved that story. And the Wharton quote is so true! I keep the clock in my car set ten minutes fast so I will be early. But then, of course, I know it's ten minutes fast, so it doesn't work as it should.

Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

Texican, I get nervous if I'm not early for something. I like to get good parking spaces- no, not right next to the door :)) I like to be at the front of a line, and I like to be prompt for other people. Funnily enough I don't berate other people for being late, I just can't stand it in myself. I think it proves I'd rather be there first, and if the other person is late that makes me look better ;) How complicated.

Steve, well we should have more of these bad habits then :) I'm a clock watcher and always have been.

Julie, "on the other hand, you can also take people by surprise when you're late." That's wonderful- I love it! Someday, one day, I'll show them ;) If I'm able to bring myself to be late... hmm...

Pamela, that's funny. It should work, but it doesn't because you know about it. What about getting someone else to set the clock but not to tell you when or by how much...? ;)

Barb said...

Can I ever identify. I actually get palpitations when I'm running late. I learned to give my husbands family a one hour earlier time when invited over because they are always late and then dinner is ruined. So rude!!! B

Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

Barb, Yes indeed- I get very nervous too. I can't concentrate on anything when I'm nervous and like you I try to give people an earlier time so nobody is late ;)

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