Wedding Reflections

Reception centerpiece

I recently read Father of the Bride by Edward Streeter, copyright 1948.  Amazing how little has changed! One paragraph jumped off the page at me.  It was the day before the wedding: “When one concentrates fiercely and at length on an event in the distant future it eventually becomes fixed in the mind as something forever remote.  As a result it is a shock to awake some morning and find that the distant future has suddenly become the immediate present.  It is like a foolish rumor about a lion in the district, which no one takes seriously until the beast springs at you from behind a lilac bush.”

Its not the day before, yet, but I can sense the lion crouching. One month, and a short one, stands between today and The Day.  Of course, its not my wedding, I’m only the Mother of the Birdie.  (Oops, typo there!  Unlike with the classic Royal portable, I could easily correct it – but then you’d miss the fun.) 

The response cards are steadily appearing, trailing joys and sorrows.  “can’t wait!” “looking forward to coming” “not well enough to drive that far, wish the couple all the best” “so sad, {pick one: deployed, work dictates, no vacation, pregnant-can’t-travel}, will miss being there.”  We honed the list as best we could to those we all really want to be with us on the bride and groom’s special day.  So we’re forlorn, disconsolate, and occasionally angry when one of our favorite friends or family cannot attend, despite knowing that they would if they could.  And celebrate each card with that check next to ‘will attend’!

I also read recently Jan Karon’s book, Home to Holly Springs.  I thoroughly enjoyed it, as I did each of her Mitford series.  Two quotes that she included caught my eye.  The first is credited to Chesterton, who I suspect must be Gilbert Keith Chesterton, a London journalist, 1874 – 1936.  See  http://www.cse.dmu.ac.uk/~mward/gkc/index.html for more info.  Karon’s Father Tim is thinking about the wonder of his relationship with his wife: “There are no words to express the abyss between isolation and having one ally.  It may be conceded to the mathematician that four is twice two.  But two is not twice one; two is two thousand times one.”  What a apt description of a good marriage.  I shall have to find some of Chesterton’s books.

Karon’s other quote that I wanted to share with you has led me bouncing along the web, collecting more novels for my reading list.  Its from Elizabeth Goudge, an English writer: “She had long accepted the fact that happiness is like swallows in spring.  It may come and nest under your eaves, or it may not.  You cannot command it.  When you expect to be happy, you are not and when you don’t expect to be happy, there is suddenly Easter in your soul, though it be midwinter.”  Goudge’s biography (www.elizabethgoudge.org/a_short_biography_of_elizabeth_g.htm ) reminds me of Beatrix Potter; I wonder what her books are like…

Before I leave you for today – the sun is shining and I must get outdoors – you might wonder about the photo I’ve included.  Its one of a limited edition, 16 for those of us counting, which will debut at The Wedding Reception.

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6 responses to “Wedding Reflections

  1. I think when you research it you will find the reference to Chesterton to be the Southern wife who kept such fantastic diaries that they have been widely published. I believe she was aNorthern lady married to a southern general and she had some revealing observations about life and living. I’m sure googling will find her She makes some great reading.

  2. Had no luck looking for a civil war diariest by the name of Chesterton. But I did come across Mary Boykin Chester, daughter of a senator from SC and wife of another. There’re several books on Amazon of her diaries and biography. Maybe that’s who you’re thinking of?

  3. I hope I’m not a “regret” you’re angry at, because you know I want to be there!!
    Love the quotes – is the new Jan Karon a continuation of Mitford or the prequel?
    I’m almost finished with audio “Emma” – companion to the new PBS Masterpiece Austen series running here…

  4. Josephine Brenneman

    Your blog was the first listing on Google when I searched for more information on Karon’s Goudge quotation. Having helped two “birdies” fly the nest, I can empathize.
    Karon has two books of Fr. Tim’s favorite quotes; one of them is “Patches of Godlight.” You should be able to find the right author in her credits.
    I read many of Elizabeth Goudge’s novels in my youth, and found them lovely, as well as thought-provoking. They’re hard to find now, but worth the search.

  5. Mary Boydkin Chester is the one I had in mind.

  6. I was also looking for the origin of the Elizabeth Goudge quotation from Home to Holly Springs & found your blog. Elizabeth Goudge was a wonderful writer – I read & re-read everything our public library had for years – – – most of them have been taken out of circulation now, and as someone else has commented, her books are hard to find. But wonderful books – – – her ability to paint word-pictures always amazed me.

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