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Mack Williams: Seasonal wedding

Mack Williams


At Easter, my daughter Rachel and her friend Richard announced their engagement, the marriage ceremony to be in early December (as if a following of the Church calendar).

Since the service was to be of a basically, family-attended nature, Rachel and Richard had decided upon the smaller side chapel of Danville’s First Presbyterian Church. I have sung there often during Holy Week services; and the particular type of “clouded” glass used in its windows give one a “stratospheric” feeling!

Rachel wanted me to sing “Sunrise, Sunset” during the service; and I thought back to the time of the Danville School System-sponsored summer musicals. I had participated in “Fiddler on the Roof” in 1991; and in 1992, the whole family: Diane, Rachel, Jeremy, and I had participated in “Oliver.”

At Rachel’s christening, I had sung the late John Denver’s “For Baby” (“I’ll walk in the rain by your side; I’ll cling to the warmth of your hand; …leaves will bow down when you pass by; and morning bells will chime”). Later, my late wife Diane, Rachel, and I attended a couple of John Denver concerts in Greensboro (before Jeremy was born). It was an excellent song for christening, but not so for a wedding.

Although the number of wedding attendees was small, various modes of transportation were represented. Amanda (Rachel’s cousin, and my niece by marriage) flew from Texas with her husband Greg. Rachel’s Great Aunt Joan and cousin Denise came from Baltimore by train. The rest of us came from Danville (me) and Yanceyville (Rachel’s brother Jeremy, his wife Rose, and Rachel’s 92-year-old grandmother Doris) by car. Rachel’s cousin Donnie and his wife drove from Alamance County. So, “planes, trains, and automobiles” were represented (but no polka band traveling via truck as in “Home Alone” (1990)).

I picked up Joan and Denise late “wedding eve” from the Danville train station. This was the site of the former natural history museum from which I retired (that’s a separate story, for another week).The lobby was filled with the smell of fresh plaster, and the guard told me there had been a mishap in the re-doing of the ceiling, resulting in collapse. I guess it was a good thing I wasn’t there, or I might have had my “chicken little” moment (possibly worse than Tippi Hedren’s numerous “bird” moments in “The Birds”(1963)).

The wedding went beautifully. Rachel’s cousin Amanda played the piano; and Rachel looked absolutely beautiful as I walked her down the aisle to give her away to a most handsome Richard. (After the “giving away,” I “ducked” into a nearby pew until the time for my singing.

I had fulfilled my fatherly wedding roles by giving away Rachel, and some years earlier, being my son Jeremy’s best man.

We had a post-wedding meal at one of Danville’s newest and finer restaurants. The seasonal theme was represented, as each received a party favor consisting of a necklace of battery-operated Christmas bulb lights (the big bulbs, like those of my youth). They could either be set to static glow, or increased in frequency to something approaching “epileptic inspiration!”

Some days later, Rachel asked me to check the poinsettias we had left at church, as she was concerned that none should die of thirst. The largest had been moved to a table facing a major side entrance. The church secretary knew of a smaller one moved to just outside her door; and she had been caring for it. Another had also been relocated, joining a myriad of poinsettias throughout the main sanctuary and reception room. Since I didn’t know which one, I decided to check them all. The moist soil of each plant was a testament to its regular tending by one or more members of the church staff.

Not being able to discern all of our poinsettias from those placed by the church, it seemed as if the “spirit of wedding” and the “spirit of Christmas” had blended into inseparability.

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