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Weddings Not So Blissful Behind Scenes
People of every heritage have rites of passage such as coming of age. I’ve witnessed several recently: my own entrance into my seventieth decade, the twins’ graduation from high school and starting college, and their brother Bill’s wedding.
Ah, yes, weddings! Weddings are a huge event in every culture and are freighted with traditions. Picture this: the beautiful bride and blissful groom decked out in wedding finery, the tearful mamas, smiling guests, prayerful ceremony, music and food. A veritable Ode to Joy!
Then there’s what happens behind the scenes! I wonder if in India, say, or Latin America or Japan or among the Alaskan Eskimoes the same level of angst and irritation exists behind the joyous picture that the public sees on the great day.
I have a pretty good idea of what really goes on at a big wedding.. First, the opening salvo is fired off: The groom: "Why can’t we just go get married." The bride: "Sniff . . . I’ve dreamed of my wedding day all my life." The father of the bride: "We’ll have to mortgage the house to pay for this affair." The mother of the bride: "Sniff . . . I’ve dreamed of our daughter’s wedding day all my life."
Then comes months of negotiations, decisions and planning: Where will the ceremony and reception take place? Will it be a simple cake-and-punch reception or a meal? The caterer? The cake? We must have visited a dozen bakers before we found one who’d bake the square cake that Vicki wanted. Ordering the invitations, squabbling over how many each side can invite, choosing the florist and photographer or videographer take on the significance of a World War III.
Wedding attire is in a class of its own. In the old days, the rules for a formal wedding were set in concrete.. These days the bride often envisions the nuptials of Charles and Diana while the groom wants to wear blue jeans and athletic shoes.
Round one: Megan wanted a Cinderella gown. Bill wanted to wear shorts and athletic shoes. He broke the impasse by announcing, "The guys and I are wearing kilts." Why kilts? Dunno since the groom has very little Scottish heritage. I suppose that was as close as he could get to shorts. He has really loyal friends because they all agreed to it, except for brother Chris.
Round two: Shoes! Their shoes didn’t match, and they wouldn’t rent them. Sandals? Those didn’t match either. "Fine! We’re going to go barefoot," announced Bill--and they did! (I daresay that there was motherly displeasure.)
Round three: Vicki volunteered to make the bride’s gown and the guys’ attire.. "You’re crazy!" quoth her mother. The dress turned out beautifully as did the groom’s kilt, jacket and shirt She didn’t get the measurements and material for some of the fellows until four days before the wedding. Doggedly she sewed, sewed, sewed. At 10:00 AM on the great day, she still had a kilt to finish and five shirts to make. I was to sew grippers on the kilts while she went to get her nails done. I’m a rotten seamstress and finished only one set. "No problem," I said. "Use safety pins!" When she returned, we said, "No way can you make five shirts." Bill and her friend, Tom, went out and bought the shirts. Vicki didn’t even get to take a shower before the wedding as she had to pin the kilts on the groomsmen.
The ceremony was held outside next to a lake where a swan was swimming. The bride was lovely, and the hairy legs and bare feet of the fellows sticking out from under the kilts caused smiles, but didn’t destroy the mood. The bride and groom both cried. It was a wedding that none of us will ever forget! Round four: Megan’s parents cooked a delectable dinner for the big crowd, and this brought back fond memories of when Bill’s brother, Rick, sister-in-law Esther, and English cousin, Anne, spent the week before Vicki’s wedding, helping us fix food for 150 people. A big wedding is the worst of times and the best of times. That week turned out to be a wonderful Clarke party. I suspect that all of us had a much better time than the bride and groom!
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