My last trip to Grandma Pat's house, partially for THIS project but mostly for her apple pie, resulted in a conversation about marriage.
Not knowing much about her wedding, I asked her if she and Grandpa Bill had been married in a church in town, so others could come. She nearly guffawed at the thought of such extravagance. "Oh heavens no," she smirked as she gripped her now lukewarm coffee. I took another bite of my pie and she continued, "I didn't want lots of people there… I didn't really need anybody there. "
She got married at a very, VERY simple ceremony, if one could even call it such. And that was that.
She continued to sip her coffee and talk about how weddings were. "You know," she said, "nobody had big weddings. They got married by a minister but…nobody had big weddings. I think girls just want a big wedding and the rest of it…" she threw her hands in the air and shrugged, "if it doesn't work they just get a divorce."
I echoed my agreement, said something about how our culture has lost focus, saying girls are more concerned about being a bride and not a wife. She said, "That's exactly right." And then I sat back and listened to another wonderful story.
"I knew a girl, Imogene, who wanted the Presbyterian minister in town to marry her and John. But there was a three day waiting list to get their marriage license. Well they just went over to Kansas and got their license. They came back here to get married, and…well, I remember that January it was cold and the snow was up to here: Imogene had on four buckle overshoes with her long white dress.
The minister couldn't marry them because they had to be in Kansas for him to sign the license. So they piled into his car, and drove over to Elwood, Kansas.
He married them under a street light.
They came back to town and the minister's wife had fixed a little supper for them and then they went home."
I don't know about you, but I think that is just one of the most romantic, most beautiful wedding stories I've ever heard. I can just picture them, fresh flakes of dove white snow landing in Imogene's hair, John's frigid fingers clinging tightly to hers. I can see the preacher, his worn fedora shoved firmly over his graying hair, his hand clinging to a bible and a folded piece of paper.
I can picture Imogene hiking up her white dress, tromping through the three feet of snow back to the car. I can see the preacher's wife, lovingly setting the celebratory table, steam pouring from the pot of soup in the center of the table.
They couldn't wait three days to get their license because they wanted forever to start as soon as possible. Imogene didn't need a string quartet, fresh flowers, or an expensive photographer; Imogene needed John.