Many consider June as the wedding month. And every time it comes along I’m reminded of a wedding I was a part of but in no way thought to be the “best” man, especially by the bride’s mother.
Carl was my roommate our senior year in college. Following graduation, he asked me and Tim, another close friend, to serve as ushers at his wedding in Indianapolis. We checked into the hotel we met Carl at the rehearsal dinner at the same location. After dinner, Carl said we should follow him to the church for the wedding rehearsal. But he drove so fast through the streets of the Capital City it was all we could do to stay with him. Tim drove while I tried to keep an eye on Carl’s car as he turned this way and that.
Following the rehearsal, Carl got us back to our hotel and promised to pick us up in the morning prior to the 10 o’clock wedding. We argued that he should not have to worry about us on his wedding day. We said we would get to the church ourselves. But Carl insisted that he really wanted to do this for us and would pick us up no later than 9:15.
The next morning, 9:15 came and went as Tim and I waited patiently for Carl. We called his home and were told he left at least a half-hour earlier but said nothing about picking us up. After another anxious 10 minutes, we determined Carl was not coming and we had better be on our way to the church.
Now this was long before anyone ever thought of inventing something called GPS (Global Positioning System) or a gadget called a cell phone. Tim and I had to rely on our clouded, collective memories as to where the church was. We thought we knew after the two speedy trips from the hotel and back. But our efforts proved fruitless as we looked in vain for the whereabouts of the wedding scene. Being men we were reluctant to ask for directions, of course, until we realized we were hopelessly lost!
It was after 10 o’clock when we finally found the church, parked and ran to the entrance where the wedding party stood awaiting our arrival along with an anxious congregation. All that was left to do was for the head ushers – us – to pull the white runner down the main aisle. I could feel the eyes of everyone boring into my body, especially the mother of the bride who looked at me as if I had committed the crime of the century, which I had, of course, in her mind!
Later at the reception it was fruitless for either Tim or me to try explain what happened. On his wedding day, the groom is guilty of no wrongdoing unless he doesn’t show up. But he did and we didn’t!
It seems appropriate to end this disquieting memory with the lyrics from a song from the 1956 musical, My Fair Lady:
“I got to get there in the morning
Ding, ding, dong, they’re gonna chime
Kick up a rumpus, don’t lose your compass
Get me to the church, get me to the church
Pete’s sake, get me to the church on time.”