Russell and Cynthia's wedding is on the horizon. Everything seems to be ready. Soon it will be time to rejoice with them and toast their happiness.
So what am I doing today? I'm reminiscing about Bob's and my wedding so many years ago, looking at photos.
Bob and I were married on December 1, 1973. We wanted to be sure harvest was finished so we set the date late in the year.
This could have been bad considering winter storms, but that year in northern Illinois our day turned out to be a beautiful late fall day - lucky for us.
Sears had issues resizing my wedding ring. We went back twice for it and finally got it the day before the wedding. It still was too small, but we took it anyway. We had no choice.
My church was under construction. At that time, the congregation was using the chapel at a convent. I asked the sisters if there was a place where I could dress before our wedding mass.
They were kind enough to allow me to use an area near the chapel. Later I found out that the space was used for wakes when a sister passed away. Nifty.
There were a few extra rules we had to follow in the convent chapel. Music was limited to their hymnal and after the service we could not come back inside for pictures. We figured we could live with those limitations.
Bob and I chose not to have a professional photographer. Family members brought their cameras and clicked their Instamatics. Uncle Ray used his Super-8 movie camera and that captured memories for us, too.
My sister, Karen, was matron-of-honor, bridesmaids included, my best friend, Joyce, Bob's sister, Ginny, and my girlfriend, Terry. My 14-month old niece, Sherri, was flower girl. Bob had his friend, Ed as best man, and for groomsmen there was Eddy, Dick, and George.
Little Sherri didn't come to rehearsal. She had a high fever and we feared she and Karen might miss the ceremony, but she bounced back and was raring to go on Saturday.
It didn't matter that she wouldn't walk down the aisle alone. At least she was well, and Karen had no problems caring her in her arms.
I had asked the priest to announce to our gathering that it was not necessary to kneel during the service - Bob's Lutheran, as are many of his relatives and we wanted everyone to be comfortable.
If I remember right, the priest made the announcement, but he was uncomfortable about it. I don't think other 'mixed marriage couples' (Catholic and Lutheran) asked for that favor before - remember this is ancient history.
My bridesmaids wore pink and after careful consideration, Bob and the groomsmen wore ruffled pink shirts with their tuxes - I didn't know about the guy's color until I saw them in church.
Dad walked me down the aisle, just the way we planned. I gave him a kiss and then stepped back to where Mom sat and kissed her, too.
During the mass, things were happening behind my back I didn't know about until later. Seems a hornet or two were circling me and Bob while we faced the altar. My sister saw them landing on my train. Karen thought this was hysterical and actually shook as she held in her laughter.
Mom, sitting a pew behind my sister, thought Karen was crying because I was getting married. Mom should have known that laughter was more up Karen's alley, not crying.
I don't know how many times Karen got me in trouble in church when we were kids because of her craziness. She sure made our childhood, and the wedding, memorable. Thanks, Karen.
We stopped for photos outside the chapel. The day was nice, but windy. I could hardly keep my veil on my head. I thought I might go blowing away in the wind.
The reception was at the Frankfort Legion Hall and the buffet was catered by relatives of the Manzkes - the food was great and we got to take home all the leftovers.
I don't think that happens these days, not with food regulations the way they are. But it sure was great being able to freeze all those leftovers and use them as a new bride.
I'm afraid the pictures taken during the service weren't very good. Most were blurry, but outside we got some nice ones. Later, when I went to make more prints to share with family, the negatives were ruined in the processing. At least now I can scan the prints that I have and digitize them.
Those are just some of our old memories. Soon Russell and Cynthia will be making their own. Right now they are hoping for perfection, but even if there are a few hornets in the mix they will have plenty stories to share the rest of their lives together, just like Bob and I do.
Next week I'll report on their wedding.
Susan Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165; Sunnybook@aol.com; www.susanmanzke.net;