In Part 1 of “Not Your Average Wedding” our author discovered just before her wedding that she has chicken pox…and everything had to change. In this post, the wedding goes forward but the big day proves to be just as eventful as the build-up to the ceremony.
We were to be married in a civil ceremony in the front room of my husband’s cherished family home. Afterwards, we were going to have a blow-out party at the home of friends a few blocks away.
I was looking forward to a long white table, lots of champagne, trays of food, and a sheet cake that our host had promised we were going to cut with a big old sword.
That was, until I contracted the Chicken Pox.
The whole thing was delicious, really. The stuff urban myths are made of. It was karma, something I had brought on myself. I was convinced I’d somehow offended the powers that be. I’d joked one too many times about just skipping town and eloping. I’d made gaffs, insulted the wrong person, hurt too many wing nuts in the past. What was I thinking?
No one wants to be around you when you have the Chicken Pox. Not even the doctors.
A week before my wedding I was in the throes of a full-on Chicken Pox outbreak. While waiting in a parking lot for my husband-to-be to pick up the prescription that was supposed to quell the blighters, a construction worker pulled through two parking spaces and tore the drivers’ side mirror right off the car I was sitting in. I must have looked like some kind of red eyed, polka dot Methuselah emerging from the vehicle to demand this guy’s particulars. I know it must have surprised him; it sure surprised me. He sure hadn’t expected to see anyone get out of that car. Up until that point, I hadn’t exactly planned on jumping out of it either. I’d been slouched down with a hood over my pock-marked head, feeling sorry for myself, in 90-degree record weather for June.
Well-meaning folks and not so well meaning folks called daily to check in on me. Some were repulsed, some were intrigued. I got the feeling that some were gloating. Show us your dress. Some stood on the porch and stared in horror. Some were not worried at all. But now, I must ask, what could anyone really have done or said at the time that would have made a difference?
I’d already been hurt enough, my husband-to-be said. We were going ahead with the wedding, come Hell or high water.
We decided to get married in the duplex I was renting at the time, on a sleepy little South Fairfield street. This wasn’t half bad, actually. I loved my happy little home. We already had shared many beautiful memories there, and were about to up the ante, so to speak.
The night before the wedding, there was a thunder and lightning storm of biblical proportions. Hail. I waited up most of the night for my terrorized cat to return home.
But perhaps the most stupendous thing of all, was that first thing in the morning on the day of the wedding, I woke to loud clinking and banging sounds coming from the plumbing on other side of the duplex. What the…?? Clank, clank, bang, bang, whirr. I kid you not.
Shaking with exhaustion from a three-week roller coaster ride of frustration and dizzying phone calls, I looked out the kitchen window to see not one, but two, count ‘em, two, “Mr. Rooter” plumbing vans parked outside.
Now, I was not on the best of terms with the folks next door. I’d got along just dandily with the previous tenants, but these ones were sketchy at best: biweekly domestic disputes, sheriff visits, and the like. These were people I tried to avoid at the best of times. And today of all days, a Saturday, no less, they had to have plumbing issues??
When we pulled in after lunch, the trucks were still there.
The banging and crashing sounds continued for the next hour. My Matron of Honour arrived. She hadn’t seen me for a few weeks. When she smiled, I could tell by the relief in her eyes that she’d been prepared for the worst. I’d opted for another dress with maximum coverage and, apparently, didn’t look half bad for someone who had just been through the wringer.
“What’s up with Mr Rooter?” she dead panned, motioning to the two vans parked at the curb. Upon hearing the racket next door she excused herself and went outside for a cigarette.
Then the Marriage Commissioner arrived. When he heard the clanking and crashing he went back out to his car.
The sun came out. A small group of swallows were gliding back and forth past the living room window. Things were looking up.
But the Best Man was missing.
We waited. And waited.
At 2:30 an unfamiliar car pulled into the driveway. It was the best man and his (Hello!!) date, complete with her (Unauthorized!!) camera.
It was our fault he was late, he said, because we’d given him the wrong address. I ignored him.
The ceremony was perfect. We cut the cake with a bread knife. We ate chocolate covered strawberries and drank buckets of champagne. My cat was resplendent in his white bow tie. My friend’s husband met us for dinner.
We postponed our honeymoon, a week at Tigh-Na-Mara Resort in Parksville, British Columbia. If my husband was going to come down with Chicken Pox, he would have been in full swing by day three and, judging by my experience with the nasty little poxes, it wouldn’t have been very pleasant for him either. So we opted out and stayed in town instead.
We barbequed some fabulous meals, drank champagne on the porch in the dark, and waited for signs. For spots. Itchiness. But fortunately, and this was the best part, he was spared. He must have had it as a child.
A friend gave us a gift certificate for a fancy picnic lunch, complete with basket and real wine glasses. What a great idea it was. With picnic basket in hand, we went down to Witty’s Lagoon on a sunny weekday afternoon and inadvertently crossed over to the Nudist side of the beach — who knew?
“What an unusual looking bathing suit that man is wearing…,” I said, as I reached for the binoculars.
And thus began our long tradition of slightly off- kilter wedding anniversaries.
Bride and Groom by Kerry Slavens
Bride and Groom with Plumber by Kerry Slavens
Kerry and Gus by Margaret Blackwood