By the time this article is read, the presidential election will be decided. I can’t possibly predict the results, but it got me to reflecting back to simpler times when I was a much younger man. I remember back in the late ‘70s when Jimmy Carter was elected president and soon faced Reagan in a re-election bid. During the first term of Carter, I had just graduated from high school.
As soon as I graduated, I was asked to be one of the groomsmen in two of my classmates wedding. One of my very good friends was marrying a female classmate who I was also good friends with. The bride and groom were both 18 years of age. All of the groomsmen were high school mates and also were 18. I believe most of the bridesmaids were also around that same age.
Needless to say, trying to corral a group of 18 year olds to properly perform a wedding was a herculean task. The one charged with this duty was Teensy Roberts, who to this day still coordinates weddings in a grand fashion. This particular wedding, however, probably almost ended her wedding planning career before it ever took flight.
The wedding was scheduled for a very formal 5 or 6 p.m. start. All of the groomsmen wore tuxes with white gloves. The tuxes, being fashionable for the day, were baby blue. As the appointed hour arose for the wedding to begin, we were one groomsman short. It was only about two minutes before the start of the wedding and still no groomsman.
Then in the far away distance a low rumble was heard coming down Stonewall Street toward the Methodist Church. The sound became louder and, lo and behold, the last groomsman arrived, riding on the back of a motorcycle in full groomsman attire, having run out of gas and needing to hitch a ride to make the wedding with one minute to spare.
I think by this point Teensy was in a back room shooting vodka. Rehearsal of the wedding had been replete with missing groomsmen, imbibing groomsmen and the like. Nevertheless, it appeared that perhaps the wedding would go off without a hitch.
The wedding then took place with all the usual fanfare of groomsmen and bridesmaids parading down to stand at the front of the altar. Finally, the bride arrived with her father, etc. And then, after this procession, it was time for the groom and bride’s family to be led from the wedding.
I was entrusted with the duty of escorting the bride’s grandmother from the church. I arrived at the second pew from the altar, crisply spun around and held my right arm for the grandmother to arise and leave the church. I was certain I was standing at perfect attention, resembling perhaps an Honor Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
The grandmother looked at me bewildered and did nothing. I looked down rather sternly and nodded my head and moved my arm to indicate come along. This time she shook her head gently side to side no and would not get up.
I then more forcefully nodded, held my arm out and let her know it was time to go. I was thinking this is one hell of a time for grandma to have a senior moment breakdown. She still did not seem intent on moving, so I reached down, grabbed under her elbow and pulled her up from the pew. I then all but drug her out of the church, all the while remaining well postured and noble.
Only a few seconds passed before Teensy was there at the back of the church. She was frantic. It seems I had drug some poor lady unrelated to anyone out of the church. Grandmother was still waiting down at the pew, as I had mistakenly kidnaped a non-relative.
Another groomsman was sent to retrieve grandmother and, being 18 years of age, I barely missed a beat as the wedding went on.
I hope after the election the country can also barely miss a beat.
Contact columnist T. Gamble at firstname.lastname@example.org.