Saturday, September 8, 2012

45 Years Ago Today – Part Three

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45 Years Ago Today – Part Three
(This post follows the one of September 6 & 7 – yesterday)

Gord Pierce and I stayed at my parent’s place that night as two old friends.  Two old friends enjoying our last night of freedom.  Gord and I had been best friends since we were in Grade 10.

The room we shared that night was small compared to what I was used to over the last three years or so.  I had been gone from home for that long at least and only visited a few times over that period.  And this was my bedroom since Grade 8. It was smaller than small.

It took a while to get my tie – tied.  By this stage my hands were shaking so bad. Gord tried to help me but that was useless.  In 1967 we wore suits and ties to work each day. That was the norm. I tied my tie every day without problem – but this day was too difficult.  My body was not working the way that it should.

But by 8:00 AM I was more than ready… that was 10:00 AM Quebec time… and I was ready for MY WEDDING.

I paced the floor. I wondered what Alida was doing at that moment.  Hair? Dress? Doing the entire thing that the girls do on a wedding day? But the most important thing that was happening is that I had to stay away from her. I was not allowed any contact with her or to see her the night before and time leading up to the wedding on that magic day.

My how things have changed from the olds days.

A slight diversion in my story…
Away back in 1967 the couple didn’t live together for years to try out the marriage before we got married. We actually lived in two different places and went home each night.

When the marriage took place the Bride was almost always at her own home.  When the wedding took place away from home – in another city… provisions were made to be separate from each other.

My goodness things have changed so much.

As a minister over the past 35 years or so and having married hundreds of couples – I have witnessed the changes.

Oh boy…

Back to our day…
There was no time for marriage counseling – at least that is what I told everyone. I had no interest in listening to some guy tell me how I should live and what I should do in my marriage.  I had watched successful marriages all my life. It was simple – you did what the men around you had demonstrated. You were in a family where people were married for a life time.

At least that was the ideal that I thought I had seen.  There were a few dummies in the family but for the most part they were great guys.

My dad was my mentor, my model, my hero for a married man example.  He had gone through a lot but had made a great example.

The minister likely was a great guy – but I never knew him. He was serving in the United Church that Alida and her family called the home church.  Her mom had been an elder in the church as the girls grew up.  BUT Rev. Horlicks had a hand shake like a wet fish.  There was nothing there - limp and cold.  He was not my kind of man – at all!

I had listened to him preach his very short sermons and I couldn’t figure out why he had to have two degrees behind his name to say nothing!

Alida’s mom wanted her to get married in the Carmichael United Church where they had attended and her church friends felt comfortable.

I was from the “Pentecostal” tradition. I knew what it was to have a church that was noisy and very different from the United Church of Canada. 

I was not a Pentecostal nor a Christian – plain and simple. I hated what I saw in the church at that time and had escaped. I had run as far as I could (I thought) from religion, churches and weird people. And I definitely had nothing to do with people like Rev. Horlicks and the United Church of Canada!!

In my background however there were Pentecostals and people from that church that I respected deeply. They had always been there as I grew up. They were consistent and loved me no matter how stupid I had been or how far I ran the other way from their weird religion – of Pentecostalism.

One of those people was Rev. Ben Kirkpatrick. He was my mom’s younger brother.  He was 12 when I was born – we were not just Uncle and Nephew – we were friends.

At 10:25 AM Rev. Ben Kirkpatrick stood beside Rev Horlicks in the Carmichael United Church waiting with me to begin. The girls were coming in for their walk down the ailse shortly. I stood with my friend Gord Pierce, my brother Glen Lincoln, and my future brother-in-law waiting and waiting and waiting.

Gord leaned over and asked, “You okay?” I nodded, “yah..”.  Bull! I was not okay. I had no idea why I was there. I was in the early stage of fright that could easily stop my heart. My mouth was dry and I wanted to be anywhere but there!

Then the music changed from that giant pipe organ which was everyone’s signal that the girls were coming in.

My sister Karen was the first girl… and the youngest bridesmaid. Then came Pam, Alida’s young cousin from Ontario.  Following Pam’s entrance came Alida’s sister Bobbie beaming from ear to ear – like she had done this before.

There was a pause and then everyone stood as Alida came down the aisle with her Uncle Neil.  My breathing stopped. WOW! I had never seen her this way before.  She took my breath away – really.  All the hesitation and problem with fear that I had were dissolved in that moment.  This was my Bride meeting me at the altar to start the rest of our lives together. Double WOW.  I was grinning widely – and couldn’t stop.

The ceremony was good – I guess. I know that Rev. Horlicks said some words. My Uncle Ben said some other words and asked us questions.  I know too that we answered the questions – and must have passed the exam.

I honestly cannot remember what happened during the ceremony. It is a blur.  I remember going out of the church to the office area to sign the papers.  Then I remember leaving the office and the pronouncement of “Ladies and Gentlemen I would like you to meet Mr. and Mrs. Murray Lincoln!”

It was 11:15 AM and in the last 45 minutes, in my black out stage, in the swirl of the beautiful wedding I had become a Married Man. I know had a Married Woman walking beside me… and I do remember saying, “for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part…”  This as the beginning of forever and ever…

At that moment as we walked down the aisle and to the back of the church… I checked my watch… only 2 hours and 15 minutes until the airplane was leaving with us on board.  It would whisk us away to the beginning of our new life together.  The departure was 1:30 PM and whatever was planned for the reception – we would be on the plane!

I checked my watch again…

~ Murray Lincoln ~

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