From Gazette Newspapers of Ohio
Friday, February 14, 2014 by Rose Moore
In a lifetime, a person sees a lot of weddings, and memories can linger from every one of them. The sentimentality of Valentine's Day brings a few of them to mind for me. For instance:
GOOD OMENS... It was a classic early autumn kind of day in 1960 when Bob and I were married. We exited the church to an unexpected shower of rose petals tossed in rowdy fashion by children of our families.
The sunshine of this day was an auspicious omen for a bride and groom, a family member told us. "Oh, no," an elder guest declared quite firmly. With the wisdom of the many years she'd lived, she explained that, "RAIN foretells a long and happy married life; your shower of rose petals doesn't count!"
As it turned out, we got rain as well as sunshine. As we left the afternoon reception, ferocious torrents of the stuff fell on our heads! If the rain had not appeared, I believe we might have driven 'til we found some, just in case.
LIKE AN ALTAR BOY... We were expecting our first child. At a wedding of friends, Bob and I were gifted with an honored place in the front row, and there I sat in short hair, an almost invisible hat, a black skirt and my white lace-edged maternity smock. "You look like an altar boy," my husband chuckled.
The wedding was delayed a bit; we weren't sure why. The stars of the day were all in place, yet the priest kept peering out at us from the doorway of the sacristy. Suddenly I was pulled unceremoniously to my feet, and an impatient voice demanded: "Why are you just sitting out here? I'm trying to start a ceremony!"
My husband had apparently been right; the officiating priest had mistaken me for an absent altar boy! (The ceremony soon commenced without a hitch).
SHOWERS FOR THE BRIDE?... Some years ago, as my eldest daughter-in-law planned her outdoor wedding, it rained through every weekend leading up to the event.
"Do you think we'll need to find an alternative location?" I suggested nervously, but the bride-to-be was optimistic and determined.
"It isn't going to rain that day," she said. She'd be married in the yard of the childhood home she loved, and the sun WOULD shine for her, and that was that.
Her faith was handsomely rewarded. For the first time in many weekends, her special day awoke to sun and birdsong. As a happy bonus her mother's roses bloomed. Under God's clear skies, the officiating Reverend declared them doubly blessed.
(What better way for me to realize a daughter-in-law, though young, might have some special powers and some high connections)?
THE HOLE-IN-THE-WALL GANG....The wedding of our youngest son took place away from Lake County. He and his bride reserved a block of rooms at a good hotel to spare us all a long drive home that night.
A hotel snafu forced us down the highway into less-than-mediocre lodgings, but there was a compensation: We had all the rooms of one balcony wing, and we could end our family celebration with breakfast on the balcony next morning.
After the reception, as we settled tiredly into our rooms, I heard a tiny voice from nowhere: "Grampa? Gramma? Please talk to me." We traced the voice to a baseboard hole, where an electric outlet had been removed and not replaced.
Peering through that hole from her room next door, our four-year-old granddaughter asked us, "Who put you in that mouse-house? I'm afraid you won't get out!" Her Mama brought her briefly to our room to ease that worry.
At dawn, our balcony breakfast was the scene of our goodbye to our middle son, whose appearance at the wedding had not been expected. His U.S. Navy submarine had been out to sea, and his request for leave to attend the wedding had been denied.
As his younger brother's wedding day approached, however, a craft was being lowered to send other members of the crew ashore. Suddenly the captain turned and growled: "Moore, YOU get out of here too! Go home before I change my mind!" His arrival was a race against time, a hilarious story in itself. And it was a gift for all of us when he walked in as the ceremony was about to begin.
THE WOMEN IN RED... The wedding was a bit unorthodox, according to the social standard of the time, and Bob and I had been enlisted on short notice as attendant/witnesses for the bride and groom.
Bob knew the bridegroom only slightly, and neither of us had met the bride. It seemed their friends and family had refused to publicly stand witness at the wedding for a couple whose child might be born at any moment.
There wasn't time for shopping, and the only dressy dress I could fit into was a crimson crepe georgette chemise. It was perfect; it had no waistline, nor did I, for I was pregnant with my second child.
We arrived at church to meet the couple, and the bride, like me, was gloriously pregnant and wearing red. The minister looked startled as the two of us stepped forward; you couldn't miss us!
Nonetheless, that wedding was most memorable, not for these circumstances, but for the sincerity of love that passed between the wedding couple in that simple little country church.
Aside from the minister, Bob and I were the only two present on that day, and it was clear to us that was not a union forged by reluctant obligation. Once married, the newlyweds turned their faces toward us, and their smiles were as radiant as any bride and groom we'd ever seen. The marriage lasted.
BABY TALK...The officiant began a scolding sermon. Marriage, he intoned, is not for romance, not for joy or happiness of lovers, not for anything but procreation and responsibility. That bitter discourse tolled incessantly.
From the congregation, an infant began to wail loudly. Speaking out above the noise, the clergyman looked sternly at the baby's mother. Baby didn't quiet, and the mother, surrounded by her children, seemed blissfully unaware. She smiled beatifically.
Then other babies in the congregation joined the chorus, and their mothers likewise feigned oblivion. Only when the lecture was pushed high-speed to its merciful conclusion did the mothers soothe their howling babes, and then the church was peaceful.
"It was quite a realistic look into the future," mused a father afterward. "I'm surprised the bride and groom didn't change their minds and bolt away!
TEARS OF JOY... I still recall a wedding that was smoothly perfect, from the wedding march until the bride and groom and their attendants had reached the altar.
The two were calm until the bride began to speak her vows, and then she began to cry. She regained composure for a moment, and then began to cry again; and again; and she cried through the rest of the ceremony.
As the newlyweds left the church, the bride could be heard apologizing to the guests in every pew. "I couldn't help myself," she told them all. "I was just so happy."
I CONFESS, I cry a bit myself at weddings; other people's weddings. They represent the beginning of a significant journey, and when I listen to the vows, I silently repeat my own and wish the couple as good a life together as Bob and I have known these many years of marriage.
I extend a friendly greeting to you all on this sentimental holiday. It's nice to know the moon will be full. You might even see it if the skies are clear.