Monday, June 07, 2004

Watch out for Tractors (Part IV)

How Small *is* it?
When our long drive finally reached its destination, we saw the Baptist church where the wedding would be held, just as the Franklins had described it to us. It was across the street from the post office — which is housed in a trailer.

That’s how small this town is.

I was told that the Bride-to-be graduated from the local high school first in her class...of 36 students.

That’s how small this town is.

Inside the church, on the wall in the foyer, was a sign that read: Total Members: 41, Attendance this Week: 39.

That’s how small this town is.

As we pulled into the parking lot, we were obviously road-weary from our nearly 4-hour drive down from Memphis. We had driven in from Nashville Friday night and stayed overnight at the Franklin’s, so that we could at least be reasonably fresh when we arrived for the ceremony. The Franklins had gone down Friday to help oversee the preparations and had spent the night at a motel.

We piled out of the car and wondered out loud where the restroom was. A man in a tux emerged from the side door of the church building and greeted us, I hadn’t heard him say what his name was, but he asked if we’d had any problem finding the church and apologized that there wasn’t a sign out front. He smiled and said that sometime he was going to “have to try and do something about that.” He ushered us inside and pointed us toward the restrooms. I would later realize that he was in fact the Father of the Bride, and the head deacon of the church. He was also a really good guy who I enjoyed talking to later at the reception.

So after answering nature’s call in the tiny one-man restroom, I left my son to do the same while I set off to find what had become of my wife and daughter. As I wandered the back hallways of the church (which appeared to be along the lines of late 60s-to-early 70s construction vintage), I heard familiar female voices. Having an idea of what I would find, I peeked carefully around the corner of an open door, hoping I wouldn’t end up looking into someplace I wasn’t supposed to. As I suspected, it was the bridal dressing room and there, exchanging hugs and excited chatter were my wife, my daughter and the Mother of the Groom, Mrs. Franklin. Thankfully the Bride-to-be was fully clothed on the opposite end of the room.

I entered, greeted and hugged the Groom Mother and a moment later was introduced to the tall, slender and attractive young lady in white, totally enraptured by this day she'd obviously waited for all her life. It was a great moment. We chatted a bit more, and then excused ourselves to allow the Bride-to-be to finish getting ready. At that point, my wife informed me that she still hadn’t used the restroom, which was just adjacent to the dressing room, so my son, daughter and I made our way down the hallway a few yards to wait for her. The wedding was scheduled to begin in about 20 minutes or so.

This is where it got interesting, and is (finally) the focal point of this long, LONG tale...

Next: Sore Thumbs
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