It All Began With the Dogs, The End

I knew I could plan and organize my wedding. I just needed the right tools: reference materials and vodka.

What lessons does Lorna learn on her way to the altar?

Lesson 1: “Happy” news is in the ear of the listener. My sisters were mortified disappointed when I told them I was getting married to Chuck. They were sure he was just another misguided choice in my twisted selection of boyfriends. Because they loved me, they tried to talk me out of it. But once I committed to something, I was all in. Resigned, they accepted the news with the enthusiasm of deck hands on the Titanic.

Okay, maybe I shouldn't have told Tina when she was taking a shower.

Lisa, who thought no man was good enough for me, stared me down and told me, "No way. You're marrying him over my dead but gorgeous body."

Lesson 2: Planning a wedding keeps your mind off what you’re getting yourself into. I was so busy with the details of the ceremony, including sewing my own satin and lace wedding dress, that I didn’t have time to contemplate life after the wedding. That was both good and bad. If young people gave a great deal of thought to such a major life change, there may be fewer weddings. Then again, if they gave marriage the proper amount of thought, there may be fewer divorces…

I get dizzy when I think too hard about things. Best to stop thinking and start sewing. That dress isn't going to make itself.

Since Chuck had left town to find work in Washington, D.C.–our new home after the wedding–I was in charge of most of the decisions. Between working, planning the wedding, and drinking, I was a busy bride-to-be.

Lesson 3: Don’t plan a wedding while drunk. This may seem obvious to most people, but it wasn’t to me at the time. I believed my drinking was more medicinal–necessary to get me through the stresses of daily living. Chuck called every night to check on the plans. His mother took over a lot of the decisions because she was more “socially adept” than I was. She lived in a house and I used to live in a trailer. But Chuck said to ignore his mother. I drank and ignored the whole thing when I could. I was an adult and still felt like a Middle Child.

Little known fact: alcohol mends frayed rope and nerve fibers.

Lesson 4: No matter how much you plan or don’t plan, things are going to go the way they’re going to go. Almost everything went well (as planned) in our wedding. Invitations were sent out on time, gift registries were done, I made my dress, the wedding party was properly attired, reception plans were finalized after some changes, and all the other minutia that comprise a wedding got done. Some things went wrong: I forgot to tell the photographer we moved the reception, so he had to hunt us down after the wedding; some people were miffed at their reception seating (blame Chuck’s mother), and the “cool” October wedding day was in the low 80s and humid (think profuse sweating and bad hair).

Yep, that's me and my mom almost 30 years ago. She's not wearing black. She supported my mate selection. Her outfit was a deep wine color--how appropriate.

Lesson 5: Showing up to your wedding sober is a sign of love. I vowed to myself not to drink the day before and the day of my wedding. Besides the pocket watch that belonged to my father (who died when I was four) that I had specially engraved, that was my wedding gift to Chuck. I thought I was being very generous.

What would my future mother-in-law think if I'd shown up drunk and forgotten to put on my wedding dress? I'd be a legend in the Methodist church. Well, "legend" may not be the right word...

Standing at the back of the church at high noon in my beautiful dress, I thought, “What am I doing?” Before real panic set in, the organ began playing the Wedding March. It sounded like a dirge. “Too late.” I took a deep breath and glided toward my future, envisioning the cold champagne at the reception.

Atta Girl! Get rid of the Middle glasses necessary. Party on now that there's no turning back!

What began with a conversation about dogs ends with Lorna at the altar. He wants to change a woman he doesn’t really know; she doesn’t really know who she is. What happens to these married strangers?

~ by Lorna's Voice on August 26, 2011.

22 Responses to “It All Began With the Dogs, The End”

  1. Thanks, Izzy. I do well when I have a specific task set before me. I won’t stop until it’s done to perfection. The problem is that I won’t consider if it is the right task for me to be engaged in (ooh, good pun!).

  2. Multi-tasking was invented by you. Who knew???? Excellent job at pulling it all together. I have to say there are always glitches is all major events.
    You managed quite well. You look great in the wedding gown. You are very talented. It must have been some undertaking.

    Enjoyed this one, too, Lorna.
    Toodles, Izzy

  3. That’s why I spend more time proof-reading than I do writing, and I still make errors. It’s my way of reminding myself that I’m human!

  4. Thanks for the laugh. You can read these things for hours without getting bored. Lets hope I don’t do them myself without knowing it.

  5. Thanks, Al. On some level, we’re all hairy, snoring, clueless, and needy. I’ll give women a bit more in the sensitivity department, but men are sensitive in their own ways. I’ve seen men weep when their favorite team wins a big game…and the women in their lives are pretty insentive to their men’s emotional needs at that point.

    I used to teach the Sociology of Gender and was real good at playing devil’s advocate (mostly women took the course). 😉

  6. Thanks and thanks! My mom was and is a beautiful woman.

  7. “The truth will set you free or get you locked up (or out)–one or the other!” I love that! LOL

    Oh by the way, the bride and her mamma look beautiful.

  8. That is a sweet, sweet picture of you and your mom!

    I’ll never understand what makes women commit their lives to the hairy, snoring, clueless, insensitive, and needy of the species, but I’m glad they do.

  9. It is probably a pretty common phenomenon. I’m just brave or crazy enough to say it out loud. The truth will set you free or get you locked up (or out)–one or the other! 😉

  10. Yes, I thought of all those things, but I’ll save those details for the book!

  11. Thanks so much. I was happy. Ignorance is wonderfully bliss…

  12. Molly, where are you from? I love the language you use! “A dab hand at hilarity…” ‘Tis a fine complement. Many thanks!

  13. You’re a dab hand at hilarity Lorna and generous too (luvly combo) that pocket watch that belonged to y’dad that you had specially engraved was/is likely worth a bob or two – he was a fortunate laddie, roping you – i’m enjoying your memoirs, cheers catchul8r molly

  14. This is a page turner, Lorna. You’re so right about marriage–we don’t have a clue as to what we’re getting into–why doesn’t anyone tell us!!?

    I made my own dress too. I love the sweet photo of you (you look very pretty–and happy too) and your Mom–she’s a cute Mom!

  15. My first skirt was ruined by mom ironing it (another sign). We survived it, sweat stains and all. The second skirt made a darling dress for Tara. Memories!!!

  16. “Standing at the back of the church at high noon in my beautiful dress, I thought, “What am I doing?” Before real panic set in, the organ began playing the Wedding March. It sounded like a dirge. “Too late.” I took a deep breath and glided toward my future, envisioning the cold champagne at the reception.”

    As I reflect on my own experience, I can relate. It seems that life after college is a whirlwind of activity and adaptations. When a wedding is being planned in the middle of all this chaos, it seems as though the first moments of down-time and clarity occur about a few minutes before the “walk.” I wonder if this is more common than many would admit to.

    Another fine installment in the series, Lorna.

  17. Neat–different path, same basic destination. I bet that can be said of a lot of marriages (50%+).

    Another sign that things weren’t meant to be: my dress got lost! How’s that for a nudge from the universe?

  18. Thanks and stay tuned for the continuing saga…

  19. Are you saying I know how to create a “page turner?” If you are, then thanks!

  20. I really like this line: “He wants to change a woman he doesn’t really know; she doesn’t really know who she is.” It gives you that sense, very quickly, that things are not going to go well. I’m really hooked on the story.

  21. Once again, I loved it ALL!

  22. Well, that is my story… backwards… hahaha rewind to a sober and clear headed alter to find yourselves as happy as any human couple can reasonably be for two decades… then a dozen years of disconnect… holy doodles… who knew… it’s like a train, if we could see it coming, we’d get off the tracks… wouldn’t we??? LOL Thanks for sharing more of your journey. Love the picture and caption of you and your mom. Sweet. 🙂

Silence can be just what the doctor ordered. You know I'm a doctor, right?

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