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Mack Williams: Angela and Jim’s wedding

Mack Williams

On February 17th, I sang at the 7 p.m. wedding of Jim and Angela, whom I mentioned in my column “Banked History” a couple of weeks back about the Milton Museum, located in what used to be the old Milton State Bank, Milton, N.C.
The wedding rehearsal was held at Milton Presbyterian Church. Jim pointed out to me that the pews were made by that marvelous craftsman-artist Thomas Day; and true to form, the armrest ends of each pew did have that “newel” look so much, that I almost expected a copy of the church’s original deed to be hidden within each (such thought generated by having seen Thomas Day’s newel work, both in Caswell County, and in that special exhibit devoted to him at the North Carolina History Museum in Raleigh).
My appointed place for the wedding was in one of several abbreviated pews behind the piano. These were “choir” pews. Just to the right of where I sat at the rehearsal was a “leftover” of Christmas, a “be-swaddled” baby doll nestled in straw in a small wooden manger. I thought to myself: “Gosh, Easter is only 9 weeks away, and He’s still in the manger! He’s got a lot of catching up to do!” I spoke these thoughts to Jim, and Jim, being a true gentleman, said: “Mack, that’s awful!”(but he said it gentlemanly).
My sense of humor can’t help popping out, even when it might have something of an irreverent sound to it; but I don’t mean any irreverence, it’s just me (if it helps, you can take some comfort in the knowledge that whenever such ideas occur, I follow them with the reflective thought: “Yes, Mack, there is a Hell!”).
Angela is in charge of the music at her church, so she brought the organist and a chorus of teenage girls. Since everyone present at the wedding rehearsal referred to them as “The Girls,” I will do so as well.
The Girls entered the sanctuary and positioned themselves so as to provide the attendees with not just antiphonal, but what I would call “surround sound” (borrowing a cinema term). They sang a favorite hymn of the bride and groom, “The Holly and the Ivy.” The sound coming from The Girls was beautifully pure and innocent, much more so than from choir boys; because you naturally suspect that just beneath each boy’s “puer” (Latin for “boy,” and a pun)”crystal tones, lurk the ever-present frog, snail and puppy dog tail (not “the hair of the dog;” that comes after legal drinking age).
Upon hearing those beginning notes of The Girls’ song, being the old sentimental bunch of mush that I am, my contact lenses began to “blur!” I was afraid, that just like a lot of things not tied down during the recent pair of tropical storms (and seemingly almost continual rain since) my contacts would wash away.
From my “up-front, opposite-facing” seat, I saw members of the wedding party readying themselves in the Narthex (for non-church goers: “foyer”) for their processional. When we gaze into high powered telescopes, we’re looking at things which happened in the past, a sometimes very distant past. Seeing from my vantage point what most others in the church couldn’t see, the wedding party readying themselves, I was gazing into a future much closer to coming about than the telescope-viewed explosions of distant galaxy supernovae which had already happened eons ago.
The wedding went well. Verses were read, vows were made, songs were sung, and instrumental tunes were played on keyboard and trumpet (or rather, cornet).
Looking out at the couple’s children that were in attendance, I reflected on Angela and Jim having had a hand in giving life to their respective children. But not only content with that, they had now created “something new” for themselves, their children, and us.

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