I guess I never anticipated getting to this spot, never thought ahead far enough to imagine one of my grandchildren getting married. I knew they would grow up, of course, that I, too, would get older. I just ignored the fact. Actually, in many ways I still do.
Anyway, you can”t ignore all the festivities of a wedding, nor do you want to. It is a sweet time, happy and optimistic. No matter that you still see the bride as that headstrong little redhead, insisting on doing things her way.
This is my oldest grandchild. She is the one who gave me my grandmother name, BB. Coincidentally, it is also my teenage nickname; when there were so many Bettys, we had to find a way to differentiate among us.
The oldest grandchild is usually the one to confer pet names. In Mary Frances” case, I think she was really referring to herself, trying to say “baby” as she clutched her “blankie” and tried to tell us she was ready to go to sleep.
The name stuck, however, and now all eight of my grands call me BB, along with their friends, relatives and some perfect strangers. Such is the power of a first grandchild.
Wishing them well
Someone once told me that weddings always made her sad. At the time I thought that was perfectly terrible. I know now what she meant. You wish everyone could “live happily ever after,” but you know that life is intrinsically not like that. The happy couple, in the bloom of youth, may have experienced some hardships already; but in their life together there will certainly be more challenges. You pray they will not be tragedies.
Our optimism is steadfast. We push statistics out of our minds. We are embraced by the love that is almost palpable around us. It is good to rejoice.
Can this really be the little girl who once rode a tricycle on our sidewalk, who climbed the magnolia tree, played “devil in the ditch?” Is this the same child who at 3 could carry a tune better than I ever could?
She looked radiant walking down the aisle in her beautiful wedding dress. She wore The Veil, brought home by my mother from Belgium when our daughters were children. They loved to try it on then. It draped around their shoulders and trailed behind them. Years later, when this bride”s mother was the first to wear it, they were surprised to realize it had become a fingertip veil! They had grown up.
Predictably there were a few glitches. Just before the ceremony Diana had to rush to Terrell”s house to find the backs of her earrings for the mother of the bride. Thank goodness for cell phones so that she could get ongoing directions to where they might be. Fortunately, though, no one tripped, no one slipped and no one flipped too badly.
At one point the guests had been asked to sing the last stanza of a hymn a cappella. No one seemed brave enough to start it. After a couple of seconds Nora Frances, I think to her own surprise, courageously sang out a clear, strong note. We were rescued.
As one of the grandmothers I was close enough to hear all the words of the ceremony, beginning with those that Gary, the bride”s father, had referred to as “the happiest and the saddest” when he answered the question of who gives the bride away: “Her mother and I.” I could also hear the groom”s great sigh of relief when they were pronounced man and wife.
Gary and Terrell for some years have been interested in sailing, and the reception was held at the Jackson Yacht Club. It was a great party, but the icing on the cake, figuratively speaking, was the “getaway.”
A former commodore, dressed officially in an emblazoned navy blazer, white slacks and hat, escorted the couple to a boat. A canon was fired (blanks), and the couple sailed away into the sunset, waving happily to the crowd left on shore. The fading sunlight caught the yellow of their sport clothes until they were specks of the bright color, receding, but still waving.
Betty Boyls Stone is a freelance writer, who grew up in Columbus.
The Dispatch Editorial Board is made up of publisher Peter Imes, columnist Slim Smith, managing editor Zack Plair and senior newsroom staff.
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