Thursday, October 30, 2008

Love Story, The Last Part

Part the First
Part the Second
Part the Third
Part the Fourth
Part the Fifth
Part the Sixth

So. After all the showers were over, the classes ended, the final final taken, there we all were—me, Papa Rooster, our 8 attendants and a couple car-loads of friends from Wheaton who traveled home for Christmas break via my small town in Ohio, bless their hearts. Eirik’s parents from New York, my mom’s parents and sister from California and other relatives also descended upon us for the big event.

The rehearsal went smoothly, and then we went to a local restaurant for the rehearsal dinner. A highlight there was a slideshow of photos of PR, as well as an old Super-8 film reel of me as a two year old trying to gather plastic Easter eggs into a little basket…with my progress impeded at frequent intervals by a loving cat who kept rubbing up against me and knocking me over. She even slunk through my legs once, as the camera began to jiggle with the operator’s laughter. Unable to get around the cat to reach an egg, I gently lifted the cat by its tail and set it down elsewhere. The cat returned, and again I patiently lifted it by its tail…and again…with my father valiantly trying not to shake the camera as he recorded. He failed, which was as funny as my performance!

Saturday, December 20 dawned crisp and clear. Everyone made it to the church on time for pictures.

There are the dear bridesmaids from my Bible study, plus my roommate and maid of honor, the lovely Filipina in back. Next to her is the Baptist pastor who married us, and to the right of PR is the Wheaton prof who gave thLinke sermon. To the right of him is PR's brother and best man, and next to him? Why, it's "Our Hero," the ubiquitous Mr. A! The other two guys are a roommate and friend of PR's.

PR’s landlord, who had exerted his talents as a gourmet chef for our “Up the Tower” party, played the little Baptist church’s organ like it had never been played before (with the possible exception of my Texas aunt) and two of PR’s brother's band members played trumpets along with the organ for “Trumpet Voluntary,” which I believe I processed down the aisle to. I’m not sure, because the whole wedding was a blur to me. I kept wishing I could be in it and watch it from the pews at the same time!

My dad gave me away, which would have been an emotional moment if I had been watching myself, but as it was, it was just quick. The only thing that seemed to be in real time was when PR sang to me a song we had picked out from a wedding collection (called “Wedding Song,” I believe, or some such original title). He has a beautiful voice and as he sang he faced me and held my hands, and his eyes were so full of love that my own filled up with tears. Then I heard his voice falter just a little and I knew I better pull it together and quick! I did, although I had to purposefully avoid looking at the bridesmaid, right in my line of vision, who was also tearing up profusely.

About singing at your own wedding. For the record, PR in his capacity as “Father” Rooster, strongly discourages it. I know if he were doing our wedding over again, it’s the first thing he would delete. (“I am Papa Rooster, and I approve this message.”)

We had several great soloists besides PR, though. Did I mention that our senior year, PR was Student Government President? Well, his VP and good friend sang The Lord’s Prayer, nailing the high note on the last “forever”--to our relief and amusement, because he kidded us for months with how he might make that high note sound. (I’m not sure we had ever heard him do it right!)

And PR’s brother and best man, who was majoring in voice at Wheaton and playing in a band on the side, wrote an original composition which he sang as part of the pre-service music. It was a beautiful mixture of reflection and hope--a song we still treasure.

But the highlight of the service, for many, was the prank. (C’mon, with all those college friends there—you know we had one!) PR and I didn’t really get the joke until later, but as soon as the minister intoned, “You may kiss the bride,” the four groomsmen all pulled scorecards out of the back of their tux jackets and held them up, then quickly put them away before we knew what had happened! Except this guy...

...who proudly displayed his "8.5" long enough for the photographer to catch it.

In the blink of an eye, it seemed, it was over. PR and I went up the aisle, followed by our attendants, and we formed a receiving line. After greeting and congratulating us, attendees gathered in the Fellowship Hall for punch, nuts, mints, and—after we arrived and cut it—wedding cake.

(I had never been to a sit-down dinner reception in my life, so we didn’t even consider one. If the Fellowship Hall was good enough for every other First Baptist bride....)

We tossed the bouquet and the garter, and I barely got to taste my own wedding cake before it was time to leave for our honeymoon, in the AMC Hornet that I was driving that year at college, my parents' extra car, beautifully and lovingly decorated by our friends. We had to stop by my house for scissors to cut off the dragging tin cans before driving 2.5 hours away to Cincinnati, Ohio, the honeymoon capital of the Midwest the most charming city within easy driving distance.

We often wish had hung around for the potluck dinner the church provided for our out-of-town family and friends; we hadn't realized how quickly the time would go. But we had a romantic dinner at the Westin Hotel instead, where we stayed the first two nights on a package deal, then one night at a cheaper hotel, then two nights at the medieval-themed Drawbridge Hotel and Convention Center, home of the Oldenburg Brewery, just across the Ohio River in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky. One of the sweet memories I have of that segment of our trip was having the romantically-lit indoor pool to ourselves on Christmas Eve! (And we returned to the Drawbridge/Oldenburg site many years later, compliments of PR's business travels, for a mini-vacation and loved it again; I am sorry to discover that it is now defunct.)

We returned to my parents' home on Christmas Day, and what a pile of presents we had to open--our wedding gifts! It was on that return journey that we started reading The Lord of the Rings aloud to each other. After a few days with my family, we drove to New York for some time with his parents and brother, then back to Ohio to pick up our gifts, then on to Wheaton...and PR finished reading The Return of the King to me as I unpacked our belongings into our new apartment in married student housing!

And here ends the story of our courtship, engagement and wedding. The Love Story continues to this day...nearly 22 years and many ups and downs later.

But wait--there's one more picture!

Can you imagine what my parents must have been feeling on this day?? One child married off AND graduated!!! The must have been immense.


Owlhaven said...

I had am AMC Hornet in that era too!!!

Great story. Thanks so much for sharing.


Kathyb1960 said...

I think that is a beautiful story, and I LOVE the fact that he sang to you, and that you had so much music!

When I was younger, I would plan my wedding for years......ALL the music I wanted in my wedding. I knew how to play the piano, and I would line the music up in the order I wanted it, and play it.

Unfortunately, I never met the man God intended for me to marry....or maybe I did, but I think I ran him off! LOL I'm 48, and who knows, it could still happen, but I'm happily single!

Thanks for sharing your story!

Kathy in West Texas

abbi said...

Your groomsmen with their scorecards made me shake with suppressed laughter (I was sitting in bed next to a sleeping girl). That sounds like the Wheaton boys I know!

On another (but equally funny) note, Ana informed me that she has been reading your blog for months and still hadn't figured out that Bantam13 wasn't Batman13 until I told her so last night. Same letters, you know...

Earthmommy said...

You wedding sounds wonderful and romantic! I've really loved reading this story, thanks so much for sharing it!

Jenny in Ca said...

wonderful story, and I love the photos! I loved the prank, too- what a fun thing to remember!

Amy said...

I'm so sad that this is the last installment of this story! Thanks so much for sharing it . . . it's amazing and wonderful! . . . loved the prank! At my wedding, my fellow Wheaties not only persuaded my minister to include a "secret code word" in his message (I don't think he actually knew what he was saying!) but they also actually hunted down the hotel we were at, and, well . . . I guess you could say they left a surprise for us in the morning!


Amy said...

Okay . . . a question -- are your bridesmaids really carrying lit candles?? I would have burned down the church if I was carrying a lit candle! (I get so involved in the ceremony . . . )

You were very brave!


At A Hen's Pace said...


You can't tell from the picture, but there are actually glass hurricane globes around the candles.

However, one of them cracked on the way down the aisle, I recall, so that bridesmaid (Cindy) did really have to pay attention to hers throughout the service!!


Islandsparrow said...

Your story is so similar to mine - married at Christmas and graduated together the following spring :)

I love the trick the groomsmen played on you - that's hilarious!