The joy, near-catastrophes of weddings past
It is certainly a busy time for us as we prepare for a family first. Our grandson Zach Holder and Nancy DeLeon will be married later this fall. This is the first grandchild wedding and, of course, a big event in our lives.
Since we will have a house full of company, Jean is extremely busy taking care of a myriad of home improvements that we have put off for a while. I have discovered that grandfathers are just like fathers when it comes to weddings. They are merely spectators who do best to stay out of the line of traffic. In general, grandfathers have one job – show up nicely dressed and on time for the wedding.
Certainly I know my role, and if you go back nearly 30 years to my daughters' weddings, I’m an experienced wedding veteran. We had two weddings within 11 months, and a third wedding within four years. I gained three wonderful sons-in-law and now am enjoying seven outstanding grandchildren. It’s been a lot of fun, and I am looking for more in the future.
Without a doubt all three of my daughters’ weddings were unique, and all had challenges. The biggest challenge came when our oldest daughter got married. During the service, a woman hid in the bathroom next to where the bridesmaids were dressing. After the wedding started, she stole all the purses and made off with a male accomplice. This two-person scumbag gang had hit more than 20 weddings but here they made a mistake. Due to the crowd, the wedding started a little late, and our middle daughter, Melody, and I got a good look at the woman as she was sneaking out. She was a heavyset young woman wearing a cape with the purses hooked inside the outer garment. We were able to identify her from a photo line-up.
The wedding was beautiful, but things got hectic for me when the theft was discovered. I didn’t get to the reception, I was busy trying to locate replacement car keys and working with the local police. We even had to get temporary driver’s licenses. Thanks to Jerry’s Locksmith and Roberts Chevrolet we were able to have keys made. I really don’t remember all that we had to, but I got to the reception just as it was ending. I remember how well the local police handled the investigation without ruining the reception. The late Kelly Murphy even posed for a picture with the newly-married couple, much to the enjoyment of the guests.
I’m glad to say the thieves were caught and punished. They operated out of Manhattan and on the way home they ripped off a wedding in Lawrence that night. When the guy tried to use a stolen bank card in Manhattan an alert teller sounded the silent alarm and the police were there to make an arrest.
The thieves got the date and location of the wedding from engagement announcements in the newspaper. I changed The Chieftain and Sentinel policy and urged couples not to use the exact date and time in announcements.
The other two weddings were relatively problem free. It rained when Melody got married, but that wasn’t a big issue. On the Sunday following the wedding, I was assigned to go to the hotel by the airport and bring their car back home. Of course it was festooned with “just married,” etc. Driving back by myself, I got some really strange looks.
During Angela’s wedding, a candle tipped over and caught a decoration on fire, however her future brother-in-law quickly extinguished it and hardly anyone knew about the near catastrophe.
I know this will be a beautiful wedding, and as a very secondary participant, I’ll enjoy it with no responsibilities. What I really wish for them is the same joy and happiness that Jean and I have enjoyed for nearly five-and-a-half decades.