November 28, 1969
The day before our wedding had been a long, emotionally draining day, especially the part about me being an hour late for the rehearsal. But it wasn’t over yet. After the rehearsal dinner (with the last use of my maiden name on my place-card), Mom and Aunt Joyce needed my opinion about something back at the church.
So as most of the others departed the Germania Club, the three of us headed for the church basement. As we stood in the large room where the reception would take place, Mom pointed out the dilemma. “We’ve attached the table skirts to two of the tables in different ways so you can see. One has the ruffles sticking up above table level, and the other has them the same height as the table. Which do you like best?”
Both tables looked nice with their fluffy layers of fabric from tabletop to floor – pink taffeta topped with netting and edged with ribbon. I doubted if wedding guests would notice where the ruffles were.
But these two seasoned women weren’t going to finish the tables without a word from me. “You choose,” they said.
All I could think of was the lateness of the hour and that the night before my wedding was going to be a really short one. “Ok. How about if we let the ruffles stick up just a little bit?” I said. “Like one inch.” I figured that would be choosing the middle ground between their two examples.
One of them thought that would look like a miscalculation. The other said if it stuck up at all, it would have to be higher, appearing more deliberate. I couldn’t win. All of us were tired and ready to make the 40 minute drive back to Wilmette, so I said, “Let’s do ‘eeny-meeny-miney-moe’ over the two example-tables and see which one it lands on.” I was going for a laugh but didn’t get it.
“It’s your wedding day, Margee,” Aunt Joyce said, “and the bride is the boss. Surely you have a preference?”
“Well,” I said, desperate to end the debate, “maybe we shouldn’t use the skirts at all.” My eyes filled with tears, and I tried my best to bat them back, but both women saw.
Mom said, “Oh sweetheart, it’s not that important. Don’t cry.” But it was too late. Maybe it was exhaustion. More likely it was the accumulated stress of the day. Whatever the reason, I was embarrassed to be sniffling in front of these two who’d done so much to plan our wedding… especially Mom.
That’s when Aunt Joyce looked at Mom and said, “Well, we asked her what she thought, and she told us. Let’s go with what she said, to let the ruffles stick up one inch. After the candles, flowers, and food are on the tables, everything will look beautiful.”
So that’s what we did. Neither of them got their way, but they both got what they wanted from me: an opinion, albeit a wobbly one.
Half-an-hour later, we had all the skirts tacked up, and as we stepped back to judge our work, the room looked quite festive – and ready for a wedding celebration.
“People should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God.” (Ecclesiastes 3:13)