S: Our Savannah Wedding 2
32: Chapter One: The Unraveling "I am so sorry, sweetie! I didn't know your wedding dress was hanging up in that room! I really didn't!" In a desperate reach to comfort her, he clasped her shoulders, but she retreated two steps up the sidewalk to avoid his grasp. "I tried so hard for you not to see it! You were NOT supposed to see it," she shouted, dissolving into tears. That awesome, Ah-Hah! moment she had imagined since she was a little girl had been taken from her. Stolen. Like a bell ring that could not be un-rung, the moment was no longer possible. We all stood at the car, waiting to pile in to go to a restaurant for dinner, now awkwardly wishing we had not been witness to this bridal nightmare. All he wanted now was to lessen her crushing disappointment. Fumbling for the right words, Chris blurted, "It doesn't really matter--so much--does it? I mean, tomorrow we'll be married. That's really all that matters . . .right?" Not quite the right words. "It matters to me! You'll be lucky if I show up tomorrow!" She knew she didn't mean that, really, but she bolted into the darkness of a nearby side street. He followed her and they disappeared out of sight and out of our hearing. It was hard not to follow, but no one did. Only the two of them know what magical, heaven inspired words he spoke to her then, standing in the murky privacy of that public place. Minutes later the two emerged from the dark and quickly climbed into the back seat of the car without a word. She sat stiffly on his lap, since there wasn't enough room for us all otherwise. We folded quickly in around them, chattering like magpies as though nothing at all had just happened. I reached back from the front seat in the dark and placed a hand on my daughter's knee, whispering so only she could hear, "It's alright. I love you. You'll be alright. I love you, baby. Just breathe." I looked back and saw her struggling so hard to keep the tears from rolling down her face. Someone turned the music up loud. A moment later, I said something I hoped would be funny for all to hear, I have no idea was it was, and she laughed--a little. Chapter Two: The Beginning of the Unraveling It had really all started several days before. Chris had lost his driver's license. Never a good thing, but on the eve of departing for his own destination wedding, it qualified as a very bad thing. He would need to drive out of state without a license, drive across the Florida state line and into Georgia for their much awaited Savannah wedding. They needed to get the wedding license there and he knew he would need to present two forms of ID with photos on them. He had his US passport in hand, but the driver's license was not to be found when they finally had to leave for the trip. "Don't worry," he told her. "I'll try to get them to accept just the passport. It'll be OK." She wasn't buying it. Things like this were just happening with him too much it seemed, and this time it was really messing with her plans. It didn't help when the minister insisted he couldn't perform the ceremony if there was no license from the state of Georgia. "Maybe one of your friends will just have to read the ceremony for you," he said, offering no comfort at all. This was seriously not in her wedding playbook. Standing inside the Savannah Courthouse the day before the big event, Chris reached into the back pocket of his shorts for his
33: passport to show the clerk, but it wasn't there. Racing back to the hotel to retrieve it, he promised her they would make it back before the courthouse made its Friday afternoon closing at three o'clock. "It's gonna be OK! I swear it will," he assured her. But she wasn't buying it this time either. No one knows what magical, heaven-inspired words he used on the clerk that day, at two forty-five in the afternoon, on the eve of their wedding, but they emerged from the courthouse with the proper papers and they took their first real breath in two hours. Later that night, she actually began smiling again. Chapter Three: Hurricane Force Winds Forecast The weather on Thursday and Friday had been the stuff of every bride's dreams, especially a bride planning a lovely, Southern-style wedding in a picture-perfect park. This was indeed in the playbook. Perfect dress: Check. Perfect Place: Check. Perfect friends and family safely arrived: Check. Perfect weather: Not necessarily. As the parties began, tornadoes ripped through towns in Texas and Oklahoma with deadly force. The storms ominously rolled eastward and by Saturday, the weather forecast had changed radically. Remaining as positive as possible, the growing group of wedding guests began fervent prayers that the high winds and heavy rains now expected to strike Savannah on Saturday would somehow--go away. A church had been reserved, of course, but it was only a fallback on the "Last Resort" list in the playbook. The day dawned brooding and sulky, as though no weddings were planned that day at all. The sun, which had soaked the previous two days in warm, yellow light, retreated, leaving only gray skies and angry winds that slung leaves and sticks through the air like darts. No one knows what prayerful words turned those storms northward that day, but by three o'clock the sun poked through the gray clouds, and the winds calmed to a tolerable stiff breeze, although not before the church's staff was alerted that 75 guests were most likely to show up at four. At the last moment though, all the guests were diverted back to plan A. The park proved to be that picture perfect place of the bride's and groom's vision. Some things, it seemed, were going right, except. . . In the two days previous to the scheduled wedding, a construction company decided to park a Front Loader on the street, precisely in the spot where the wedding would take place. It was discovered Thursday, late in the day, By Friday morning, a second yellow beast flanked the other side of the park. Frantic calls for the removal of the ugly machines (which defied the best-laid plans of this bride with a carefully selected color scheme) failed utterly. Photographs of the bride and groom were taken later, standing good-naturedly after the ceremony, in front of the eyesores. They serve as evidence that this was a couple with a sense of humor who would persevere despite the odds. This was a groom who understood his bride and loved her without reservation. This was a bride who responded to his love and caring so strongly that not to be with him was unthinkable. Everything else went precisely as planned,--mostly. At the reception later, I asked my glowing daughter if she was pleased. "It was all so--beautiful, I cooed. It was just as you planned it and it was so perfect, wasn't it?" "Well-- there were a few things I would have done--". But she didn't finish the thought. "You're right, she said. It was beautiful." The day after the wedding a small group gathered for lunch in the afternoon. The newlyweds laughed as they told us how, on their wedding night, after arriving to their honeymoon suite at one of Savannah's most elegant hotels, Chris reached for the room key in his pocket, but it wasn't there. After much searching and swearing, he'd gone to the night watchman on duty. No one knows if any money exchanged hands or if he simply used some more of his magical, heaven-inspired words on the fellow, but they were laughing as they told the story of how Chris had persuaded him to let them into their room before his new wife filed for divorce.
37: "I take you for all that you are, all that you are not, and all that you can be . Your pain will be my pain, as your joy will be my joy . I will look upon you, not to make me whole, for I am whole within myself, but for the love and joy that completes the world around me . I promise to always be there for you, and together we will build our dreams, share our lives and live our hopes ."
39: Not with us in Savannah, but always in our hearts.
40: Enjoying Savannah the day after!