A Wet Knot Never Comes Untied

With our daughter’s wedding day fast approaching, we’d been keeping a close eye on the weather
forecast. First it looked really promising. Blue skies and Spring-like temps were predicted for the weekend. “Perfect,” I thought. But not so fast! A few days later, the forecast was changing. The blue skies had been replaced by a promise of grey, overcast weather.

By the time we arrived in Baltimore later in the week, the extended forecast was now calling for an 80% chance of rain. Not perfect weather for a wedding but at least everything was happening inside so it wasn’t like we had to worry about an outdoor reception being washed away. However, by now we were noticing ominous rumblings on the Weather Channel about a huge storm system coming across the nation, up the midsection of the country and over to the northern states. It looked like some of the states to the west of us and the north of us were going to get clobbered. But Maryland and PA were just going to get rain.

In the meantime, our son Jason and his new bride, Laura had made it home after a grueling trip all the way from Indonesia which involved a 20-hour layover at the airport in Singapore, another 10-hour layover in another airport, changes in Vancouver, and a final arrival in Baltimore. By the time they got to our house, they were beyond exhausted. Laura had been fighting a bout with something while in Indonesia and was still not 100% up to par. Now Jason was experiencing headaches and waves of nausea. I had visions of Jason, who was to be one of the groomsmen, passing out during the vows or perhaps worse, passing on some tropical disease to the assembled guests.

Friday night’s rehearsal went well and then it was time to head off to a wonderful Italian restaurant where the groom’s parents had arranged a fantastic buffet in a private dining room. Along with the buffet, Jason’s mom (this being Jason, the groom) had a little surprise up her sleeve……..a slide show of pictures of both the bride and groom from their early years up to the present time.

Now, in my own defense, let me make this perfectly clear. I did NOT instigate this. I wanted a slide show really bad for the reception but Laura (this being Laura, the bride) had put her foot down and told me “Absolutely NO slide show at the reception.” Naturally, I was delighted when Mary, Jason’s mom, had said that she wanted to do a slide show at the rehearsal dinner. So I contributed pictures of Laura with a clear conscience, knowing that I had stayed within Laura’s “rules.”

When the projector was set up and the first photo shone on the wall, Laura gave me “the eye” and said, “Mom, you promised me you wouldn’t do a slide show for the reception!”

“Honey,” I protested in wide-eyed innocence, “I didn’t do a slide show. Mary did. And it’s not the reception. It’s the rehearsal dinner. Never give a mother a loophole!”

The slideshow was an outstanding success!

Friday evening, as we rode the elevator back up to our hotel room, I noticed the weather forecast posted on the wall. It had now degenerated to “Heavy rain, gale-force winds, flood warnings, chance of thunderstorms.”

The morning of Laura’s wedding dawned wet and soggy. The wind drove the rain against the hotel walls in sheets of moisture but we stayed warm and dry, initially. Laura had woken her bridesmaids at 6:30 a.m. by jumping up and down on the bed, yelling “Time to get up!” They were all in various stages of being made up and getting hair done now. My brother and his family had flown out of Detroit ahead of the snow and were getting ready at their hotel a block away. I was ironing Laura’s veil, shuttling between the rooms to see what else might be needed, and steaming away wrinkles. By the time the limo arrived at the front door, we had all assembled downstairs for a few last minute pictures before the bride’s mad dash under a gauntlet of umbrellas into the limo.

I half expected to see a rowboat waiting at the church to ferry us down the steps to the main entrance but instead we hiked up our skirts or pant legs and tiptoed through the puddles and on into the church where we mingled with family and friends until it was time for the ceremony to begin. But wait, ……Mary’s sister and family hadn’t arrived yet. She gave them a quick call and I heard her say, “Well, are you in Maryland yet?” “Oh, oh,” I thought. “This doesn’t sound good.” Turned out that the groom’s aunt missed the ceremony completely because they were stuck in traffic somewhere between Philly and Baltimore due to the terrible rains. They did arrive just as we were finishing up the pictures after the wedding and before the reception, thank goodness.

The wedding itself was lovely despite a few surprises. The biggest surprise was when we realized that the pastor wasn’t there. Instead Brother Morales officiated. It seems the pastor had gotten stranded out of state when his flight was cancelled due to the weather. But Brother Morales did a wonderful job and it was extra special because he was Laura and Jason’s Sunday School teacher when they had lived up in the Baltimore area. The next surprise was that Laura’s dad got a voicemail just as he was getting ready to walk her down the aisle. It was from her Uncle John Porterfield, saying he was not able to come from Texas for the wedding. Next I got a voicemail message just as the ceremony started (luckily my phone was on vibrate) from the nursing home saying that Laura’s grandmother had just been diagnosed again with another upper respiratory infection and was running a fever so she was being put on another course of antibiotics and nebulizer breathing treatments. And to cap off an exciting turn of events, Laura received a message on her cell phone just as she was leaving the reception to go on her honeymoon from a close friend who was expecting her first baby and who had NOT shown up for the wedding. It was to tell her that the baby had arrived THAT DAY!
Laura was absolutely beautiful as she walked down the aisle on her father’s arm. Just as she got up even with the front pew, I realized that she was crying. Wow! My dear daughter, who likes to have you think that she is not emotional at all and very no nonsense, matter-of-fact was crying sentimental tears of joy. Ah ha! I knew that deep down she was a big softie. Jason came down off the platform to claim his bride and together they walked up to meet the minister. Laura was still crying and continued for the rest of the ceremony. Her maid of honor kept pushing tissues into her hands. Laura did get her vows out though, despite the emotions. And when the minister pronounced them man and wife and then introduced the new Mr. and Mrs. Jason Sands to the assembled guests, the tears started up all over again. Now that’s really love…when you feel such joy that you can’t control the tears and you don’t care, even if it means that your makeup runs on your big day.
The reception was held at the Towson Golf and Country Club and they did a wonderful job. The food was outstanding. I thought we were all going to OD on crab dip, it was that good. The flowers were breathtaking and the cake was a sight to behold. The frosting was European buttercream, the cake was almond flavored with a raspberry filling and the decorations were sugared fruit. The cake was topped with a marzipan bow and the bride and groom’s monogram was put on the side of the cake. Fantastic!
Laura and Jason did a bang-up job of picking the music for the DJ. From cool jazz to easy listening to dance hits of the 80’s to one line dance for me (the Electric Slide), it was great. Of course, one of the highlights for us was when Laura danced with her father. She had picked a song by Stevie Wonder that had been playing on the radio when George left the hospital the night she was born. It was “Isn’t She Lovely?” That has always been his theme song for Laura ever since. As they danced to that song from 1980, I looked around me. Laura was crying, George had tears in his eyes, and I think most of the rest of us were sniffling, too.

And then it was time for the bride to change out of her gown and the newlyweds to head off on their honeymoon. The day had started out stormy, cleared up temporarily and the sun had peeped out for a bit, then the sky had clouded over again and the wind had picked up.

“It’s kind of like life,” I thought. “There will be good times, bad times, and so-so times. But through it all, they’ll have each other and they’ll have God to guide them. They’ll also have their family and friends to surround them with love and encouragement.”

God bless you, Jason and Laura, as you begin your new life together. And I’ll tell you what they told Dad and I on our wedding day, as it rained in Greece in June, which is practically unheard of. “A wet knot never comes untied.” Twenty-nine years later, we can say that they were right.

Oh, and by the way, if any wedding guests come down with dengue fever, we know nothing!

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