Part 1997 – I Take Thee…

John linked arms with Barbara.

Olivia walked in after Father Landover. Sarah waited a couple of seconds before following her in.

Franny, Olivia’s daughter, looked back at Barbara, who smiled encouragingly.

“We’ll be right behind you, sweetie. You go ahead and do your thing.”

“I get to drop the flowers on the floor?”

“Yes, just like you practiced.”

Franny grinned. “No one gets to yell at me for making a big mess.”

Barbara giggled. “Nope. No one gets to yell at you for making a mess.”

The organist started up Pachabel’s Canon in D.

“There’s our cue. Go, Franny.”

“‘kay!” She marched into the church sprinkling red and white rose petals on the aisle.

John squeezed Barbara’s arm. “You ready, pumpkin?”

She nodded. “So ready.”

***

Ambrose trembled as the wedding party proceeded up the aisle.

Father Landover.

Uhh, what’s her name? Oh! Olivia.

Sarah.

Sarah flashed a big grin at him and nodded her very emphatic approval.

He bit down on his lip to keep from laughing.

The organist played Pachabel’s Canon in D as Franny marched up the aisle tossing flower petals like confetti.

His mouth dropped open as she entered the church.

Barbara.

Ambrose let out a soft gasp.

She walked up the aisle in white.

Pure white.

A bouquet of red and white roses with white satin streamers.

Crystals in her honey-blonde hair and all over her veil.

I want to run to her.

I want to sweep her up into my arms.

I want to slowly take her hair down.

I want…

Barbara.

BarbaraBarbaraBarbaraBarbara.

She stopped before him and whispered his name.

“Barbara.” he whispered back.

John waved Sarah over and whispered quick instructions to her. She nodded and took Barbara’s bouquet. The small girl carried the big bouquet back to her spot on the left side of the altar rail.

Ambrose held out his hands.

John took Barbara’s hands and put them on Ambrose’s hands.

Her touch turned Ambrose’s world into the wildest electricity. Looking in her eyes, he could see that she felt it too.

“I surrender and entrust my daughter to your care.” John said out loud.

Ambrose was fairly certain he was supposed to respond to that, but he couldn’t think. He couldn’t speak. He simply nodded.

And that small gesture was enough. John retreated to his seat in the first pew on the right.

Ambrose looked down at their hands and back up at her. Look at us, Barbara. We’re touching. We’re finally touching.

Father Landover cleared his throat. “Please be seated.”

Everyone except for the immediate wedding party sat in their pews.

“Today we all bear witness to this union between Ambrose Smith and Barbara Addleston. Ambrose and Barbara, the vows that you are about to make are binding until death. To say them is to renounce every other partner you’ve had or could have had. As long as your spouse lives, you are forbidden to invite any other man or woman into your bed. Sometimes these vows will be easy to keep. Other times, you will be tempted to bend the rules or just plain snap them in half. Be always on your guard. Do not seek out temptation. Do not court it if it comes calling. Banish it. Push it away. Stay strong. Stay faithful to one another. Love one another, even when it is difficult. Lean on each other when sorrows and loss enter your life. Learn from one another and live in God’s good grace.”

Ambrose and Barbara looked into one another’s eyes and said in unison, “I will.”

“Ambrose Rene Smith, wilt thou take Barbara Marie Addleston here present, for thy lawful wife, according to the rite of our holy Mother the Church?”

Ambrose’s heart fluttered as he said, “I will.”

“Barbara Marie Addleston, with thou take Ambrose Rene Smith here present, for thy lawful husband, according to the rite of our holy Mother the Church?”

“I definitely will.”

“Okay, you want to join your right hands. Yes, like so. Repeat after me: I, Ambrose Rene Smith,”

“I, Ambrose Rene Smith,”

“take thee, Barbara Marie Addleston”

“take thee, Barbara Marie Addleston”

“for my lawful wife”

Ambrose’s throat tightened. “for my lawful wife”

“to have and to hold from this day forward”

He cleared his throat. “to have and to hold from this day forward”

“for better, for worse”

He thought about all of his fears and doubts. “for better, for worse”

“for richer, for poorer”

“for richer, for poorer”

“in sickness and in health”

He imagined her in Missy’s situation. Tears filled his eyes. “in sickness and in health”

“until death do us part.”

Ambrose blinked and his tears fell. “until death do us part.”

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