“What do you mean? The ring is right there,” he said, confused.
“That’s not my ring, those are both hers!” he whispered in a rather concerned tone. I watched with anticipation; just as we were to exchange rings, we discovered that his was missing.
No one told me that you weren’t really supposed to tie them to the ring bearer’s pillow. I thought they were secure, but the ring bearer knew better. He nudged a few people at the beginning of the ceremony to try and tell them something, but we were all too busy. (Note to future self -- First lesson of parenting: Always pay attention to the children!) So, he proceeded down the aisle with the flower girl, minus one ring on his pillow.
Now what? How do I put a ring on his finger? My cheeks were burning, the tears were coming, and I could feel all the eyes on us wondering what was causing the delay.
We looked everywhere – but to no avail. The ring was gone!
“Don’t worry,” he said, as the priest blessed the rings we had. “Just put your plain band on my pinky. We’ll make this right later.”
Thankfully, I had two bands: one with diamonds and one plain gold; I thought I was going to have a career in physical therapy and didn’t want to wear a diamond band to work with patients. (The career thing is another story entirely.) I wanted to have both blessed, so both were there with us.
And so, I married my husband with my wedding band on his pinky. When we rose later to during the Mass, my sister-in-law noticed a shiny object under the flower girl's chair on the altar. Apparently, the ring had fallen into one of the ruffles on her dress, and when she sat down it rolled under her seat! We had the ring blessed after the Mass ended. It was embarrassing yet humorous, and a very necessary first misstep to establish the mental framework for we were about to experience.
|If you look very carefully, you can see the speck on the floor under the flower girl's chair at the bottom left -- |
that's the ring!
“It is my privilege to introduce to you, Maj. & Mrs. Vestermark!” the priest announced to cheers and applause. The recessional hymn started and we processed down the aisle into the foyer to meet and greet, laugh and hug. It was all so unbelievable, ending on a happy note with finding the ring! We had averted one disaster; things would go smoothly from here.
The whirl of excitement carried us from the Altar out past the Carlisle Barracks' Chapel doors in anticipation of throngs of guests waiting to greet us and celebrate our “I dos”. Instead we were met by the largest gust of wind I had ever experienced. The smiles and cheers turned to gasps and cries as the wind caught my chapel length veil and almost sent me airborne; in the Army, Airborne is a big deal, so I guess I could have looked at it as a rite of passage for a new Army wife. Thank God it wasn’t a test for Ranger status – (oh, wait, that's in the coming chapters!)
Once the men were able to pull me out of the sky and set my feet back down on terra firma, I was able to join my new husband for the traditional walk through the crossed saber arch and the Basmati barrage – no bubbles back in the 80’s – much to the chagrin of the Chaplin who had to clean the remnants we sloughed off as we proceed back into the Church for pictures.
|Note the heavy pelting with rice!|
As we took the standard pictures at the Altar, I kept thinking about the amazing shots the photographer would be able to get outside. We were married in a late evening ceremony within the Mass. So, by the time we were done with the indoor pictures, the sun would be setting; it would be just lovely.
There was a gazebo in a quaint park like area just across from the Chapel. I imagined how beautiful we would all look -- the maid of honor and bride’s maids in their peach and yellow satin gowns, respectively; the groomsmen in their dress blues. The scene in my mind was just stunning, and because the Chaplin, an Army colonel, made his desire known that he wanted to leave, I concluded that it wouldn’t take long to complete the Church photos. Not so. It took forever! It seemed the photographer took twenty shots of each pose. Everyone was getting frustrated, including the Chaplin. In hindsight, we should have honored the priest and paid attention to the wind.
As we prepared to leave the Chapel and move over to the gazebo to take the remaining pictures, the skies opened up. The rain came down in torrents. Thank goodness the limousine was parked at the base of the Chapel steps. We all made a mad dash for its doors, and as we did the dreamy gazebo shots of my bridal party were erased from my mind. I was getting my first taste of why Rom 8:28 would become my favorite passage in Scripture:
We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.
“Rain is a blessing on your wedding day, did you know that?” my mother reminded me in my disappointment. “You’ll feel better when you get something to eat.” Isn't that the advice of an Italian mother!? Mom and Dad had planned an amazing cocktail hour and dinner for us. I shrugged, trying again to choke back the tears, and gave a little smile. Perhaps she was right; after all, I was pretty hungry…
And, the story continues…