Follow me: my mother’s parents were married in 1954. In quick succession they had my mother and her brother and sister. They divorced in 1967 or so (no one claims to remember the exact date). They remarried later – Pawpaw married a woman named Pat in 1969 and Granny married a man named W.T. in 1972.
Years went by, grandchildren were born (ME, most importantly), etc. My grandparents still lived in my home town, and my mother and her siblings still had good relationships with everyone, including their stepparents. That was the situation when I was growing up – I had a bonus set of grandparents out of the deal, and everyone was happy.
In 1999, Granny’s husband died; a few years later, Pawpaw’s wife died. And then Granny and Pawpaw got back together.
The week after Thanksgiving Granny and Pawpaw suddenly announced that they would be getting remarried.
If you have ever planned a wedding, the next part of the story will be familiar: at first the wedding was going to be small -- just family. Well, that’s already more than 40 people. And then there was the fateful addition of the words “and close friends.” If you think that getting married in your 20s is complicated, try doing it in your 70s.
But the nice part of getting married when you’re older is that you feel entirely free to have your wedding be as quirky as you want it. For example, because my family is very active in our church, there was some debate about choosing an officiant; they ended up with three priests in attendance. Somebody decided that my uncle would “give away” my grandmother. My mom and her sister were layreaders. By the grace of God, the attendants at my grandparents’ first wedding were both available for this round: Uncle Johnny (not my real uncle) was the best man, and my Aunt June (a.k.a. Noonie) was set to reprise her role as matron of honor. However, the night before the wedding the tide went out, and Aunt Noonie, who lives on a houseboat in Cow Bayou, was unable to get to shore. [Somewhere in all the excitement I guess they forgot to check the weather report.] So at the last minute I was called in to fill her spot, being the highest-ranking family member (third in line to the throne!) without an official role. Thankfully, there were no ridiculous clothes involved.
Do not ever get me started talking about my family. We are not Southern gothic; we are Southern baroque.
The ceremony had a number of comic moments. There is a moment in the service where the priest asks God, “if it is His will, to bestow on this couple the gift of children;” which was hastily amended to “great-great-grandchildren.” Then there was the part where Becca, as the flower girl, was seated in the choir loft with me and Reilly, my 8-year-old niece/ maid of honor. Becca seized the occasion to write “POOP” (the only word she can spell) in all the hymnals.
There was a reception, of course, with cake and punch and other food, of which we have about 200 pictures. Some friends of my grandparents, perhaps worried that they might not make the “friends and family” cut, volunteered as photographers (they need not have worried, but the pictures were great).
Anyway, we all had a good time, and we are happy for Granny and Pawpaw. When they first got back together, my mom was a little nervous – after all, things didn’t go so well the first time around. But they seem really happy, and we are all glad that they have each other now, after all this time. Life is like a box of chocolates, you know.
Then after all the guests left the reception, those of us who were left piled into two big cars and went Christmas caroling for the parish’s shut-ins and for the local nursing homes. How’s that for a twee moment of family togetherness?