here come the brides
Arlene and Norma, 2011
Seventy years ago today, in a little church in Princeton, Missouri, these two lovely ladies married their handsome husbands in a shared wedding ceremony. The newlyweds then enjoyed a picnic before returning to my Aunt Elma’s farm north of Plano to spend the night. Norma has given me the journal Elma–her mom and my mother’s sister–kept for 1941. The entry for that day says it was Old Settlers in Seymour, and that a rowdy group of friends and family arrived just after midnight for a chiavari, staying past 3 a.m.
How quickly the time has gone, these two women tell me. I sense that myself as I pull out my journal from August 2008. Kate had called to say Dmitri and she had set their wedding date. And I had written this:
holding the light
When you told me you were getting married, I called our Iowa people to share the news.
Our tribe. These farmers. Born of black soil. Raising crops and families on faith and patience.
Your grandparents quietly sent their love. Your first year wed will be their 68th.
Aunt Wanda, who married Uncle Don as he shipped out for WWII, whispered I understand.
Norma, wed at 16 and now 83, wished you all happiness, then told me of her morning.
I’ve been holding the light, she said. Something amiss in the old tractor’s belly.
Repairs can’t be made in the darkness. So she held the flashlight for as long as it took.
That’s marriage, I thought, after we’d said goodbye. Taking turns holding the light to fix and go forward.
Things break. Times change. Partners prevail. And that is our blessing for you.
Kate, Dmitri: Shine on.