A dream come true: pancakes are on the table accompanied by a steaming cup of coffee. A view of pine trees and the still lake fill the windows surrounding the breakfast nook area. Grandmommy shuffles around the kitchen ready with second and third helpings of her famous flapjacks, while Grandaddy quietly slices his into the same perfectly gridded squares as always.
Today, the boys golf.
The girls, however, attend a proper Lady’s Luncheon at my aunts’ newly built house. My sweet grandmother and Hannah’s future grandmother-in-law are just two of the 10 lovely attendees at this special occasion.
Chatty, giggly conversation flows from the older women at the dining room table as they spin stories of their unromantic, yet naturally endearing husbands’ proposals and marriage anecdotes directed to us: the naive third generation crunching chicken salad and crackers (that’d be me and Hannah – Valerie’s been married to my brother for five years and is therefore wizened beyond her years).
Part of me wishes I was golfing, too.
But I’m soaking in every second of sitting next to my bride-to-be little sister, smiling at each other as tales of matrimonial bliss and blunders flutter over the rims of Aunt Terri’s collection of blue glass tea goblets.
We immediately go for a run when we get back to the camp. The highlight of my weekend. Informal and easy, we relish breathing and moving and sharing our own naive hopes and excitement about beginning our lives with the men of our dreams.
We join the families for a Plan A rehearsal outside beside the lake under the tall trees. And, just in case, we head to the new horse barn for a Plan B rehearsal. Both are good options. Sometimes, though, you kind of hope for Plan B.
The evening is full of sincere speeches to all of us from Josh and Hannah. Later, the boys build a bonfire and we mingle over some popcorn Josh’s mom has brought from Missouri. She also baked some special pine tree cookies in honor of the location – Nick eats no less than 14.
Some of us play three full-court games of basketball put together by none other than the father-of-the-bride, no doubt nostalgic about the Steve Martin movie us girls watched with him a couple of weeks ago curled up on the couch in Arizona.
In Father of the Bride, Martin stars as George Banks, a beloved character embodying the classic dad who just can’t picture his little girl as anything but a snaggly-tooth, pigtail darling who adores him with everything in her – not a 22-year-old who wears perfume and meets a brilliant man in Rome and wants to get married. Our dad loves the scene on the eve of his daughters’ wedding when the two of them play one last game of basketball before her Big Day.
And like George Banks, my dad awakens on wedding morning realizing the day has actually arrived, and he can’t stop time and go back to giving Hannah piggy-back rides or watching her splatter her first birthday cake with sticky hands, smothering the highchair, barely getting bites to the one snaggly tooth greeting us through the characteristic Hannah Morris grin.
The weather radar shows a storm moving in right at two o’clock: wedding time. So Hannah and Josh choose Plan B, which should’ve been Plan A, because it was absolutely perfect.
Guests are shuttled up to the red barn, while Hannah and Dad play thumb wars during the wait leading up to that moment Dad’s been aching over ever since he first heard the song Butterfly Kisses.
Sounds of a solo guitar fill the barn and the guests stand as Dad walks Hannah down the aisle, and of course she looks beautiful, and of course we all cry, and of course Grandaddy does a wonderful ceremony quoting Rocky about he’s got gaps, and she’s got gaps, and how they’ll fill each others’ gaps.
Hannah and Josh say “I do.”
And then it’s done. Just like that, Hannah Morris ceases and Hannah Chism beams over her shoulder at me before her and her husband walk back down the aisle and into their Forever.
Another dream come true…