An unexpected stop taught a young groom a lot about his new wife.
A pretty flower in a greenhouse is, well, just another pretty flower. But put it in a pot and take it someplace where beauty and light are in short supply, and that flower becomes special, like a rainbow in a storm.
I witnessed this phenomenon on what would be one of the more memorable days of anyone's lifetime.
The name of the "flower" was Marianne, and she had shining brown hair. Think of a young Natalie Wood, though Natalie was never quite as talkative.
Natalie, I mean Marianne, had agreed to marry me, and, like any bride-to-be, was all ebullience with regard to plans for the ceremony and reception.
Whereas I had been willing to shoulder my share of the burden by arranging to rent the backroom of a local hangout, Marianne gently apprised me that such a venue was not exactly ideal, and that a well-regarded restaurant, along with the seasonally correct floral arrangements, dance band, and so on, had all to be researched and reserved.
So I stepped out of the loop, graciously deferring to her for all matrimonial superficialities. I saved my opinions for graver matters, such as world peace, nuclear proliferation, and prospective contenders in the World Series.
On the eve of the big day, Marianne proudly reported that everything – from seating arrangements to the color of the bridal couple's limousine – was in readiness. Guests had sent their RSVPs, the check for the minister's stipend was written, and the honeymoon suite reserved.
At the rehearsal party that night, we received news that my grandmother on my mother's side of the family had been hospitalized and would miss the wedding. Because it wasn't serious, she insisted that we not change our plans.
The ceremony went off without a hitch. The bride was a vision, the guests looked happy to be there, and, except for all the posing required by the nagging photographer, I was having the time of my life.