December 20, 1968
Fifty years ago today, my parents were married.
My mother carried a red poinsettia.
During that era, all brides carried a bouquet of white flowers. My mother wanted to have a white poinsettia, and had one ordered to be flown in from some far away location. On the morning of the wedding, the florist contacted my grandmother to say the white poinsettia had not come in and she wondered if a bouquet of white carnations be okay.
No. My mother insisted it would not be okay. To begin with, she didn’t like carnations. And secondly, she wanted a Christmas wedding. Therefore, she would carry her Christmas poinsettia … and if there wasn’t a white one to be had, then a red one must do instead.
When my grandmother relayed the message, the florist got extremely distressed. She fretted and fumed and retorted that it was not appropriate for a bride to carry any color but white. It would, she said, be sacrilegious for a bride to carry a red flower against a white dress. Yet, no amount of pleading could change my mother’s mind. So on this cold December night, the bride wore white and carried red flowers because as naturally sweet as my mother is, she can also be surprisingly stubborn at times, and on her wedding day she put her foot down over the issue of the bridal bouquet.
Speaking of feet …
My mother wore pink slippers beneath her white wedding gown.
My grandmother was quite the seamstress. She insisted upon saving money by sewing her daughter’s wedding gown. One weekend, my mother put on the wedding dress for another fitting, and my grandmother mentioned that it was past time to pick out her wedding shoes so the hem could be sewn at the right length.
My mother, who was wearing a pair of pink ballet-style bedroom slippers, said wistfully, “These are so comfortable! I wish I could find something similar to wear on my wedding day.”
My grandmother laughed and said, “Well, the dress is floor-length. I guess no one will see what’s on your feet. If you like these slippers, then wear them.”
And that’s exactly what my mother did.
In her pink slippers with a red poinsettia in her hand, my beautiful mother walked down the aisle on her father’s arm to O’ Come All Ye Faithful. Half an hour later, maybe less, she walked out on my father’s arm to Joy to the World. In between, the organist softly played Christmas carols in the background. It was, according to my grandmother, a beautiful Christmas wedding.
As a child, I used to look at the photos in my mother’s wedding album and wish I could have been there that precious night.
I would stare for hours at the pictures of my aunts and uncles, all dressed up and looking like much younger versions of themselves. It was neat to see photos of both sets of my grandparents standing next to each other, obviously delighted in the marriage of their oldest children. And of course, I marveled at how my dad’s father looked more like my daddy than the grandfather I loved. And I hardly recognized the happy wedding couple, who were destined to become my parents.
Yet, there they were … pledging their love and their lives to each other forever. But I didn’t need the photos to prove it. I witness them loving, serving and caring for each other, day in and day out.
They loved each other well. And because of their commitment to God and to each other, I was blessed with grow up in a happy, loving home.
So tonight, this post is written with much love for my mother (who is still the sweetest, most stubborn lady I know) … and with such precious memories of my dad (who adored my mother until the day he died and is still missed by us all).
Therefore, what God has joined together, let no one separate. ~Mark 10:9