“She thinks my tractor’s sexy”

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The bride rode in on a tractor. She wasn’t chauffeured; she drove it herself. I think that takes the cake, as far as weddings go. And it may even be a first. All I know is, it was quite an entrance.
“Gabby” does everything her way, and does a little of everything, too. Even replaces old hot water heaters. Uncle Bruce calls her Wonder Woman. “Is there anything she can’t do?” he asked in amazement.
As we stood near the reception area waiting for the bridal party to arrive, we heard the tractor before we saw it. Her soon-to-be groom turned to me and asked, “What’s she going to do—ride the tractor?” My head bobbed up and down, and I grinned.
He just shook his blond head back and forth, but I’m sure that was pride I saw reflected in his blue eyes.
So, here’s the lead-up to the Big Day. They were supposed to have gotten married last summer. But life and family interfered, and it was rescheduled. Gabby called me to say they had a date. The date. “It’s going to be Sept. 10, 2011,” she said. There was a pause.
“Get it? 9-10-11,” she said, adding, “That way (my fiancée) won’t forget it.” (Did I tell you she has a sense of humor, too?)
A few days before the wedding, things began to go wrong. First, the bride’s sister, “Trista,” missed her connection, when Uncle Bruce drove from Wisconsin and offered to pick her up along the way. It was a case of last-minute plans and poor cell phone signals. And it gave me at least 20 more grey hairs.
The 30 other ones came from Bruce and my 70 MPH drive on the Kingwood Pike last Thursday afternoon. That’s because I was on my way home from Gabby’s house when my cell rang. “Hello, Daleen. I have some good news and some bad news. The good news is, I’m here at the Ramada Inn. The bad news is, I’m having chest pains and I’m short of breath. Do you think you can take me to the hospital?” Bruce asked.
I knew he wouldn’t call an ambulance, so I didn’t even suggest it. He had driven from Sheboygan and for the better part of two days, he’d had chest pains. But he kept saying it was because he was tired, and because he was stressed about his brand new car, since someone dinged it, leaving white paint all over the fender.
So I just pushed the hazard button and hit the accelerator. I certainly didn’t want to find him dead in his hotel room. (And now, I’d like to take a second to thank everyone who was kind enough to pull over and let me fly by that day—as well as apologize to anyone who thought I was rude, in case I did tailgate you.)
With being the MOB (mother of the bride) comes certain privileges and expectations. I think they should add to that list rescuing out-of-town relatives and staying by their bedside for four hours. And why not? It’s just one more important task to check off your list, prior to the wedding.
While Bruce laid around like a gentleman of leisure, having people wait on him and give him a shave and answer his every beck and call, we regrouped, and Trista came by train. I picked her up the next morning in Pittsburgh, Pa., which is 90 minutes north of here. She kindly offered to wait inside the station for more than an hour, until 6 a.m., so I could get a little more sleep. And while I wanted to take her up on that lovely offer, my mind just wouldn’t stay asleep. So, wide awake at 2:30 a.m., my day began, and I got on the road an hour later.
Friday slipped quickly by, and before I knew it, Sept. 10 had arrived. So had Gabby’s brother, “Slade,” freshly in from D.C. And ill to the point of not having a voice. The poor guy was so sick he asked his oldest sister to drive him to the train in Cumberland the very next morning, where he went home to get some sleep. But in the meantime, he walked the MOB down the hill to a waiting hay bale, where she sat and enjoyed seeing her third daughter finally go from fiancée to bride, all in a matter of minutes. Wearing a white fairy-tale wedding gown, which—if you were looking closely enough—allowed her green leather cowboy boots to peek out from beneath its hem every so often.
The setting was as beautiful as the bride, and as the guests sat atop hay bales in the middle of a field filled with sunshine and happy smiles, the couple exchanged vows in front of a mirrored pond.
Afterward, the groom escorted his bride away, and past the tractor that carried her there.


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