Friday, February 11, 2011

There Were Bells on the Hill, but I Never Heard Them Ringing..

A Wedding! A Wedding!
The other day, as I was walking through camp, Janice was soliciting for witnesses for her wedding. We're getting married on Tuesday. I want to go! "You can come to our wedding, Mimi." The wedding was less than a week away. I put out a call for a photographer and dropped into a few florists, but the vendors were fresh out of offers and the photographers were busy. I charged my camera battery and prepared to be the witness and chauffeur and photographer. One stop shopping. Janice sat next to me at the camp meeting. Her sweetheart was across the way. "He's looking for me," she said. "He doesn't see me yet, but he's looking." The person standing in the way moved aside and he caught sight of her. He pointed and smiled, a big broad smile. She smiled back. They've been together going on three years and seem perfectly happy. "He's my best friend and my soul mate. We do everything together. My kids say, 'Mom's out there in the cold. He's right out there too!'"

One, Two, Buckle Your Shoe
On Tuesday morning, I showered, dressed and drove to camp. Janice and Arthur were on their second trip to the store. I met them there and we drove to Southcenter Mall in Tukwila to pick up the rings, the hat, the suit and the shoes, all at different stores, all pre-selected. Then to Kent to book the honeymoon suite. Then to Seattle to bathe and dress. A call to Janice's daughter yielded some troubling news then. Our staging area was falling through. Yikes! Where could we go? We only had an hour and a half to get ready and the dress and dressing room were being yanked away. I called a friend to ask if we could use his house. He said yes--thank God for friends--so we picked up the dress and headed for Clinton's house.
As we were preparing, it became apparent that weren't going to have time to drive across town to pick up the other two witnesses from Tent City. Janice was perming her hair. Arthur was shaving. It was already 2:30 and the wedding was in Des Moines at 4pm. Traffic snarls in Seattle at rush hour. I called my friend Lyn in Magnolia who was, somehow mysteriously and auspiciously, still in town. She was supposed to be in Arkansas, visiting a special somebody, but her flight was canceled due to major snowstorms all across the nation.
I asked if she might join me for a wedding. She said yes. I hoped it might relieve her of the stress of wanting to be elsewhere when elsewhere was all iced over. And I hoped to bestow some good luck love on her. Lyn said she'd be a witness if I helped her get to the airport at 4 the next morning. Agreed. On top of missing her flight, her car was in the shop. I said sure. I raced over to get her. When we returned, Janice and Arthur were nearly ready. Lyn sat played a quick Chopin on the piano. Then, at 3:01pm, we got in the car and headed south on I-5. There was heavy traffic through the downtown area due to an accident near Convention Center. Once we got through that, we were flying. We made it to the court house at the stroke of 4. Arthur's sister was waiting. Janice's daughters and grand-daughters were on their way. We went in to greet Judge Victoria--smiling, pleasant, professional. She offered the documents and presented her own brand of vows made of a conglomeration of vows she liked and assembled over the years. They were a mix of simple, sincere, heartfelt and serious. When Janice and Arthur repeated them, you could see the waves of emotions come over them--simple, sincere, heartfelt and serious.
It was a sweet little wedding punctuated by laughter and tears. I signed the certificate. Doris signed the certificate. Janice and Arthur signed it. There was a kiss and a hug. And that was it. They were married. The cell phone rang. J's daughters were outside. "You missed it! I'm already married!!" Big smiles. We met them outside and drove to the honeymoon suite to celebrate with a beer and a bag pork rinds. There were no presents. There was no cake. There was no reception line. There was a tv. There were cigarettes. There were two granddaughters and a grandson. There was laughter. It was purple.
            The newly married couple, beaming outside the court house, in the setting sun.

1 comment:

  1. What a terrific story, Mimi. Great pictures, too. Thank you for witnessing.