Awakened by claps of thunder in itself not horrific, except that it was Francis Holt’s wedding day. Shortly after becoming engaged to Bill she had consulted the Farmer’s Almanac to arrive at the predicted-dry May 11th date.
["So much for advance planning."] Francis rolled over – there was still time to snooze.
It hardly seemed possible two hours passed since her booming arousal, but pulsating blasts, like a horde of incredibly large mosquitoes, buzzed from the alarm clock.
["Maybe it quit raining."] As though sprinter exiting a mark, Francis jolted from bed and ran to the window. She hoped God would heed her silent plea, but there would be no such fortune.
Shuffling past wedding-supply-stocked crates, the line of which had grown longer as the day drew nearer, she made her way down the ever-narrowing corridor to the kitchen.
[“Coffee. Coffee.”] She’d just taken a slurp from the “Don’t Worry Be Happy” mug when the telephone rang, sending cup and contents shattering to the floor. ["Argh."]
“Hi Granny Jean.”
“Good morning, Kitten. You must have caller ID, huh? Granny had nicknamed Francis “Kitten” as a child. “I knew you’d be upset about the rain, so wanted to tell you it rained on my wedding day–Grandpa and me been married 50 years. Good luck to you today.”
Good and luck -- adding Francis to the sentence made it an oxymoron.
“Thanks, Granny. Oops, gotta go, Becky is beeping in. I love you, Granny and Grandpa too.”
“We love you too, Kitten.”
“Hey, Becky, you’re up early!” The maid of honor seldom crawled out of bed before noon on weekends.
“Oh Francis, I’m sorry to call at this hour, but had to let you know as soon as I could.”
“Let me know what? What’s wrong?”
“Francis, it’s incredible--walking down the stairs late last night, I fell.”
“Oh my gosh, Becky. Are you okay?”
“Well, I spent most of the night in the ER, broke my ankle. But, Francis I’m all right. I have a walking cast and will be able to get down the aisle, just can’t come help decorate the hall today. I’m so sorry.”
["God, is this your idea of a joke?"] “Becky, I’m really glad you’re okay. I hope you aren’t in pain.”
“I’m not, Fran; the doctor gave me a prescription, so don’t worry.”
["Worry? Me? I’ll have a hobbling, loopy maid of honor and it’s raining. No worries here."] “Becky, I’m really sorry. I’ve gotta get moving. Crud, the flower shop is calling. Oh brother. See you tonight. Love you.”
“Love you too, Fran.”
["Seriously? The florist?"] “Hello.”
“Ms. Holt, I’m sorry to call, but we’ve got a problem.”
["Of course you do."]
“Ms. Holt, you know that list you gave us for distributing the flowers?”
“Well, unfortunately, we’ve misplaced it. Your order is here, but we don’t know how to tag the corsages. Can you run through that with me?”
[Sigh “Sure, why not?” Rain. A broken-ankled bridesmaid. Messed up flowers and it’s not even 9:00 a.m."]
Six hours cleaning tables and setting up the reception hall precluded any primping. Transformation to a blushing bride barely included bathing. Wearing only a slip, Francis drove her green 78 Chrysler Corella Deville style to the church and spied Bill pacing the parking lot. Pulling next to him, she rolled down the window.
“Wow, Francis. I thought you stood me up. Hey…is that a slip? You look tired.”
“Yeah, Bill, it is. I am. What a day.” [Sniff]
Auntie Flow’s surprise menses visit coming just as Minister Ray pronounced the two husband and wife forced a stiff-legged, drag-the-groom Kegel speed walk to exit, a perplexed Becky wobbling fast as she could behind to assist maneuvering the bride's super poufy, tiered-lace Princess Diana dress in a bathroom barely big enough to turn around.
Remembering she forgot to bring the envelope marked, “DJ” just as she and Bill were making their “just married” drive to the reception necessitated a stop at her apartment—not so bad except for the bevy of horn-honking vehicles following behind.
Bill eventually traded Francis for Becky which had caused Francis to wonder if the events of her wedding day had not been don’t-get-married warning signs. But Katie and Josh had come of her two-decade union to Bill, and so she resolved that even if she had to relive each event all over again to receive those two beautiful gifts, she would still say “I do.”
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