Thursday, May 30, 2013

Sweet Sixteen

It is a grey day today, overcast and not quite as warm as one would expect for the thirtieth of May. Sixteen years ago, on Friday, 30 May, 1997, the weather in Gambier, Ohio, was just the same. I had spent the night in a hotel room with two other girls, Heather and Nancy. We had nothing to eat, of course, so I slipped out to the nearest store, a convenience store attached to a gas station. I got a bag of tiny, white, powdered donuts. The overcast sky did not dampen my mood, nor did the few drops of rain that landed on my hair. I had been waiting for this day my whole life, and it had finally arrived. A downpour would not have put me out of spirits.

This isn't the day of the wedding!

Heather drove us to the chapel at Kenyon College. I had just graduated university that Monday, but not from Kenyon. I had actually attended university one town over, but I went to church at Harcourt Parish, in the chapel on Kenyon's campus. That is where we were going that morning. 
We were joined at the chapel by my parents, who had flown in from Japan for my graduation, my sisters, my uncles and aunts, my grandparents, and some of my oldest friends. Several friends had already left after graduating, but some had stayed; and some had come in from other states to see me. 

To see us. My darling and I were getting married, and I could hardly contain my delight. I wore a beautiful gown, white and satin and tulle, designed like a ball gown, the dream-dress of any little girl. I had a lovely veil, which hung to my finger-tips, and white satin high heels. I was dressed and ready well before the ceremony. The church had a large basement for Sunday School lessons, and I sat in one with my five bridesmaids. It seemed to be taking far too long for the ceremony to begin. I could not wait! But I could not move around much, due to the petticoats under my dress, nor could I sit down without wrinkling my dress. So I put a tiny child's chair under my petticoat and sat down on it, letting my dress puff up around me—and played solitaire on my dress. I was, of course, not nervous. My five bridesmaids—my two sisters, my darling's two sisters, and a good friend from college—were all there, all ready and waiting to encourage me, should I need it. But I did not. How could I? My darling awaited.

Nervous bride? I think not!

The ceremony went smoothly, except for one groomsman who fainted in the midst of it all. His girlfriend soon had him put to rights, and we went on. My darling and I knit our souls together, mating ourselves for life. 

When the ceremony was over, we practically ran down the aisle and out of the church. We were both excited, both eager to begin our new life together.

It has been sixteen years since that day, and I would not change it at all. I rejoice to belong to my darling. As Solomon wrote, “I am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine.”
All right, so I would change it. If I had it to do over, I would have married my darling the day we met. 

Now I look forward to our future anniversaries, especially the twenty-third, as that will mark the day when I will have been married longer than not.

Not a moment too soon.

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