Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh…
Just a couple of prefaces to the big day. Friday was a runaround day, tying up loose ends. One of them was stopping at the car dealership and trading in my Corvair for a 1968 Plymouth Fury … the day before we were to be married … with no money. We really must have been nuts.
Then at the rehearsal, Father Carroll told us not to worry about anything. He asked us the strangest question. “Have you ever done this before?” We both sort of looked at each other and he blurted out, “That’s okay. This is only my second wedding. We’ll get through it together.”
And that brings us to our wedding day. Without a doubt, it was the happiest day of my life … and the scariest. I’m going to be honest with you, most of the day was a blur. I can remember snippets – important snippets – but I couldn’t weave in too many details.
What is true is that I did get “lost.” No, it wasn’t second thoughts or cold feet. I was just a bundle of nerves waiting and waiting in that cavernous cathedral on what had to be one of the hottest days of the summer. So, I went out the back door into a little courtyard for some air. That’s when I saw the stray dog and we really had a conversation. As I was petting this mutt I was telling him how happy I was and I expressed my fears about the commitment I was about to make. What kind of a husband would I be? Would I always treat my wife with the respect she deserves? Would I be able to provide for her and hopefully our brood of kids? What was the future going to bring?
I can’t really describe it, but as the dog just sat there wagging its tail, I became much calmer, more confident this was right and God-ordained. I knew right then and there it didn’t matter what the future brought our way. Together we could tackle any problem, climb every mountain, face any situation as long as we remained true to each other. I’m not dyslexic, but I’m convinced in my heart of hearts that wasn’t a dog out there … it was a God moment. And I say that because as suddenly as the dog appeared, it took off as the door opened and Bernie “found” me. He never saw the dog. But I did.
The next thing I remember was standing at the altar. The music started playing and my eyes fixed on a small white figure a million miles away at the narthex. And as she walked closer, my eyes bulged at this vision of beauty. Mom said there were kids making a fuss in the pews and her Dad kept pushing her to the side, but all I saw was this incredibly beautiful woman gliding down the aisle toward me … me! It was the most intense, most beautiful time of my young life. As I took her hand, I whispered in her ear how incredibly beautiful she was and how incredibly proud I was she was going to be my wife.
For the record, she wore a white gown and veil with a spray of flowers in her hand. She says it was a long sleeve gown with pearls & sequins, white satin shoes, a long train and mid-shoulder veil. It was reported that way in the wedding announcement. I’ll take her word for it. All I know is it was just beautiful, made even more spectacular by the radiant woman packaged inside it.
We had a full Mass. The combination of the heat, the excitement and the length of the service almost made Mom faint. I remember getting up from my kneeler to tend to her as she sort of swayed back and forth. And I think we made our first connection when I just held her hand right there.
THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.