My Blog List

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Hold Everything Lightly #7 {A Simple Wedding}

I met Stephen at church.
 Not my family church, Green Pond Baptist Church, where my dad's people attended for over two hundred years. No, I was bad and went to the First Christian Church of Jackson where a young South African pastor was visiting because he was studying for a degree at Columbia Bible College in Columbia, South Carolina. His name was David Webster and his wife was Pam.  They had four young daughters. I was sixteen and had never heard a British accent before in person. David was and is a compelling speaker and pastor. Droves of young people and adults started to come to hear him speak. This is when I was thought to be in a "cult" and essentially excommunicated from Green Pond Baptist Church. I actually lived with David and Pam for a short time. Daddy allowed me to get a passport, plane ticket, and a South African visa. The plan was I would finish my last year of high school in South Africa and live with the Webster's. The plane was set to take off on January 3. Stephen asked me to marry him on December 21st.

Stephen's family was all that mine was not.
 His parents had been married for thirty some odd years. They were people of faith and went joyfully to church. They sat down together for meals, homemade biscuits, beef roast, vegetables, coleslaw and dessert every Sunday after church without exception. I was attracted to him and his family. Other than with my aunt and uncle I had never had what he took for granted. He did have some reservations about marrying me because of my parents. We waited to marry until I completed my first year of college. I wore that engagement ring the last year and a half of high school proudly.  I was eighteen when we married and two weeks later turned nineteen. Stephen, soft spoken, kind, sort of a farm boy was twenty three,with blond hair and blue eyes.  I knew we would have beautiful babies.

The wedding took place at an outdoor venue, Hopeland Gardens, in Aiken, South Carolina on May 23. I had thrifty habits back then too. My gown and veil were purchased second hand and were gorgeous. The entire event cost me no more than a couple thousand dollars and I planned it with the help of Steve's sister. One of the songs I had for the wedding was "Fairest Lord Jesus" an odd choice but a favorite of mine.  The gardens had curvy serpentine brick fences and small reflecting pools. We floated large white magnolia blossoms in the twin reflecting pools. Daddy did give me away and that image is priceless to me however the wedding was a disaster. Mother was admitted to the hospital that morning with a kidney stone and my darling brother Freddie was beside her in his tuxedo listening to her holler (no doubt she was in terrible pain) and he was conflicted and upset. He came to the wedding after all that and stood in the heat. The man who married us carried on and on. It was so hot Freddie fainted on the grey wood deck we were standing on and broke his nose. Freddie, who was over six feet tall fell like a tree, he fell hard. An ambulance was called for Freddie. They asked if I wanted attention too because I nearly fainted after Freddie.  I was upset and hot so I went and changed out of my beautiful wedding gown. In the remainder of the photos I am in my little skirt and top but I was cool. The reception went fine, considering the circumstances, and everyone was kind and loving to us. 
There is a pool of blood, on the otherwise pristine pale grey deck, in the wedding photos.

After the reception we drove to Savannah Georgia for a honeymoon. 
We were glad to escape our own wedding.
 More glad than most couples I fear.

"Hold everything in your hands lightly, otherwise it hurts, when God pries your fingers open."
---Corrie Ten Boom 1892-1983 

To read other installments in the series click on Hold Everything Lightly  
at the top of the blog page.

thanks for reading


  1. Sounds like a beautiful setting, Olive. So sorry for all the issues. Your writing is so descriptive. I can envision it all. Looking forward to the next installment.

  2. You are a beautiful writer. What a great story. Love how you fell in love with your husband and his family.......what was tht preacher thinking going on and on in all that heat. Your poor brother....and you for having that happen.
    Savanah for a honeymoon......that sounds nice.

  3. Oh, Olive! What a story! YOur writting makes me see it so vividly! This could be a movie!

  4. It's easy to be interested in your story and waiting to read the next line. So glad you survived the wedding.

  5. What a fun, I mean sad, I mean happy, I mean....what a story full of emotions. I loved reading it! have I missed photos along the way?

    1. No photos Amy, I could not handle them along with the memories.

  6. I love these little excerpts of your life Olive. Thank you so much for sharing them with us.

  7. Each of these installments have been spellbinding. Your life reads like a Southern Gothic Novel, my dear. It's clear to see that your spirit and personality must have been forged in these events. Love reading, as everyone else says, your descriptive words give way to inner visuals!
    who have you chosen to play "you" in the movie? (you think I'm pulling your leg?) xoxo, love you!

  8. What a story to tell to your kids and grandkids..and great grandkids...down the generations! Priceless. Joan

  9. Now that is something else Olive! WOW, what a day. Poor Freddie, and poor you!

  10. Oh, Olive. Between your Mom and your brother and the blood stain on the deck you were lucky to get out of there in one piece. Do you regret not going to South Africa though? I think I would have regretted all the adventures you could have had. Although you got a beautiful daughter out of the deal!

  11. BRAVO Olive....BRAVO....I LOVE this post for so many reasons....I'ts BRILLIANTLY written....Open & honest & moved me to tears....Thank you so much for sharing....!!

    I saw an episode of Aussie Funniest Videos recently where the Bride & Groom were being photographed by a pool BEFORE the wedding....A boxer dog bounded into frame pushing the Bride into the pool....I laughed & laughed while cringing internally as a part of me thought how TRUELY awful that must have been on their big day....Needless to say it doesn't hold a candle to the mayhem you survived on your BIG day....!!!!!

    And poor Freddie....It's true what they say though....That the BIGGER they are....The HARDER they fall....**wink**....!!

    Tamarah :o)

  12. I love this series, Olive.

    Similarities between us again. I was raised Baptist. Eventually moved to Christian Church Disciples of Christ. Later in life I married a Catholic (J.). When my children were young, our interim pastor, at First Christian Church, was a seminary student from South Africa.

    Coming full circle, our granddaughter is about to become engaged to a young man who is receiving a BA in Biblical Studies from SW Mo Baptist U. He is on his way to seminary next Fall. He is to be a Baptist pastor. Around commencement time, he plans propose. K. seems like a member of the family already. He adds another layer to our rather eclectic family.:-)

  13. Eighteen is so young to marry. I was nineteen and look back on how little I knew about what I was doing. I wonder what you would be writing today if you had stepped on that plane Jan. 3? ~ Maureen

  14. What an interesting turn of events...the word pictures are extremely vivid - I can picture your poor brother falling - what a difficult day!

    I was married when I was twenty and I look back and think Tim and I were babies - I can't imagine eighteen....

  15. Wow, now that was a memorable wedding! I'm loving your installments mixed in with your other posts, and always look forward to reading them...since I know your difficult story has a happy ending (:

  16. I loved your story about your wedding , it could be a fun movie with Diane Keaton playing you.

    you are such a beautiful person and would love to meet you someday

    your stories keeps me right in tune with your writing , I love hearing about your family


  17. I stopped by yesterday before you posted, then remembered on the way home that I needed to visit again to read your post. So glad I did! Your stories are so wonderful to read. You should put them all together on a separate blog or link them all on one page so we can read them like a novel! We are headed to Savannah this weekend to celebrate our 26th wedding anniversary. Can't wait.

  18. You paint such a vivid picture with your words.

  19. Oh my, seems I've missed the first 6 of this series and have some catching up to do. You are a wonderful storyteller, I felt like I was right there with you on your wedding day. Poor girl, it WAS a disaster; easy to laugh now but it must have been unbearable that day!

  20. I'd have been running away to my honeymoon so fast. That was a rough day for a wedding - your wedding. Thanks for sharing your story Olive. You are a gifted writer too.

  21. Dear Olive - I missed this episode as I was away, but have just caught up with you. Each instalment is a revelation. Sometimes things do go wrong at weddings, but your experience was exceptional. Not only did you mother neglect you, but she then managed to almost spoil your special day. I am hoping soon to read a happy episode, as I know there are better moments coming.

  22. I wonder if anyone
    truly has a "perfect"
    wedding day? My
    own seemed like it
    in pictures, but my
    folks were separated
    at the time and when
    I look back I remember
    an undercurrent of
    sadness. Happily, they
    are still together, but
    I wish I could do our
    big day all over. What
    a day you had, yet you
    showed amazing grace
    and courage for one
    so young {I was 24
    when we wed}. Off to
    read the next chapter....

    xx Suzanne

  23. You so vividly describe this wedding that I could see it in my mind -- how much we *think* we know at age 18 :)



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