The excitement was building as relatives and wedding party members began to arrive from out of town. The house was abuzz with laughter and hugs and bridesmaids dresses and military dress uniforms hanging everywhere. The kitchen was a busy place the day before the wedding because, in the absence of any of Flyboy’s family, a simple BBQ rehearsal dinner was planned at the house. We headed to the church for the rehearsal, and then home for an evening of singing and storytelling and reminiscing.
The guys headed back to their hotel, where my brother was expediting an espionage operation, dressed in a hardhat and carrying a toolbox, having somehow broken into Flyboy’s room to do his dirty deed. After instructing Flyboy at the rehearsal to walk down the aisle pointing his foot, toe down first before each step, and then placing his heel next, my brother had painted “Why” on the bottom of Flyboy’s left shoe and “me?” on the bottom of his right. Not born yesterday, Flyboy discovered the graffiti and scrubbed his shoes before show time.
Mom and I headed to the beauty shop first thing on the morning of the wedding. I’d gone for a practice run a few weeks before, but the stylist I’d used was not there for the final performance. The new stylist said that my hair was too heavy for the style I had chosen and recommend a trim. I was looking down, lost in thought about what the day would hold, and felt the scissors against my neck and heard the clip. By the time I realized what had happened, it was too late. My former shoulder length hair was now not even to my chin. This was a disaster.
Flyboy’s idea of the perfect hairstyle was (and still is, for that matter) Farrah Fawcett in the 70s. He had dreamed about long bouncy curls under my veil, and was not going to be happy with the new me. When we got back to the house, I put a sweater over my head and tried to walk right past him. He was washing the car. “Let’s see,” he said with anticipation. “That’s ok,” I said, as I kept on walking. His voice got more serious, and I knew I couldn’t wait until walking up the aisle, so I pulled the sweater off, smiled a little sheepishly and said, “What do you think?” “Your hair!” he cried in despair. “It’s all gone! What have you done?” No explanation was good enough, and time travel was out of the question, so we were stuck with it. I headed upstairs to get my things together and he sat with the men in the living room in a state of disbelief. An uncle said, “I think you should shave off your mustache. That would show her.”
Our organist was involved in a fender bender on the way to the church and we had to find a last minute stand-in, but other than that, everyone was present and accounted for. It was time to begin, and my dad and I stood at the back of the sanctuary, minutes before our entrance. He handed me a butterscotch lifesaver, and we were ready to walk. Never before was a simple stroll with my daddy so poignant, so laced with meaning, so final. A chapter was closing and a new one was about to begin. Was I ready?