71: Angels and Cows

71: Angels and Cows

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Just Us Girls

Angels and Cows

A true friend is one who thinks you are a good egg even if you are half-cracked.

~Author Unknown

Her first wedding was a traditional church wedding. My girlfriend wore white and her father walked her down the aisle. I was there. For her second wedding she and her fiancé eloped. No one was there — not even her parents. Her third wedding was just weird. Really weird. And I was in it. She asked me to be a bridesmaid. I didn’t want to do it, but how could I say no? She and I had been friends since junior high school. We had been through a lot together. She was sad I hadn’t been in her other two weddings — she didn’t have any bridesmaids for those — and she, for sure, wanted me in this wedding. I had to say yes. That’s what girlfriends do for each other.

The wedding had a theme. A theme? Couldn’t it just be a wedding? Oh no, it had to have a theme. “Angels and cows.” What? The significance of the angels and cows theme was known only to the bride and groom. They wouldn’t tell us why, but seated on a chair among the guests was a huge life-size stuffed cow… complete with cowbell. The looks on people’s faces when they first saw the cow was priceless, and the lucky person who wound up sitting next to the cow during the ceremony had the strangest look on her face!

The bridesmaids took care of the angels part of the theme. Our dresses were a kind of dark, royal blue. The dresses were ankle length and each had a scarf that went with it. The dresses were gauzy so there was a full slip that went underneath. Oh, I forgot to mention one small detail… they had angel faces all over them. Angelic angel faces. And when you looked at them, they looked back at you. They were kind of scary, actually. It was like you were being watched no matter where you looked; someone was always looking back at you. And there was a headpiece that went with the dress. It had flowers like a crown and long cascading ribbons that went down the back. I was expected to wear this creation. The bride wore blue too — and these were the dresses she had chosen for her bridesmaids so we would blend in with her dress. Oh the things we do for our girlfriends! As a bridesmaid there was nothing I could say or do so I kept my mouth shut and wore the dress, and the slip, and the scarf, and the headpiece. But no shoes. We were all barefoot!

The wedding was held in a lovely old house — outside on the patio. Unfortunately it was on a busy street and the traffic was noisy. We dressed in a room right off the entry hall. People kept mistaking the room for a bathroom so while we were dressing a parade of people kept opening the door and coming in. The wedding was due to start at 3:00. The person officiating shall remain nameless because he is a well-known motivational speaker and he was late. 3:00 came but he wasn’t there. 3:15 came and went. So did 3:30 and 3:45. Finally the bride and we four bridesmaids decided we would go out and mingle with the guests who, by this time, were quite restless.

We mingled and decided to have a glass of champagne. The only problem was that they had run out of champagne already. And nuts and cheese and crackers and soft drinks and… there was nothing to eat or drink and the wedding hadn’t even started. The person in charge of the food kept running out to the store but would only come back with a small amount of food or one bottle of champagne. Never enough to keep the wedding guests happy. I think that was the last event she ever catered!

Finally the celebrity officiator arrived and it was time to start the ceremony. But there was another problem. The person who was supposed to play the didgeridoo for the ceremony flaked out. He was nowhere to be found. Probably went out for a hamburger because of the food situation! A few people finally rolled a piano out of the house onto the patio and someone started to play appropriate wedding music. Too bad the piano was out of tune!

First came the bridesmaids. There was no aisle this time. We approached from different directions. Each of us had been paired up with a friend of the groom. My guy was tall. Rather than stand, the bride had arranged for each couple to sit — in a corner of a square that surrounded the happy couple. Each corner represented one of the four directions… north, south, east and west. Then a person waving an incense burner walked around the square and chanted. The incense smelled like rotten cheese or a goat and I started to sneeze. And the ceremony hadn’t even started yet.

Finally it started and I wiped the tears from my face with my angel scarf. Now the angelic angel was crying too. A soft breeze blew the ribbons from my hair into my eyes. I couldn’t see and I was sneezing. Then we were all to hold hands and do that togetherness kind of thing. All touchy feely. Yuck. I hate that. The tall guy I was with held my hand and then… and then… he put his hand on my knee! Excuse me, but we were sitting in front of about fifty people including my husband, and he was trying to get fresh! If I had had shoes on I would have taken one off and hit him with it. I smiled and pinched his finger as hard as I could and moved as far away from him as possible. He moved his hand.

When it was time for the vows to be said, a group of about twenty-five motorcyclists drove by. Their motorcycles were loud. During the drive-by nobody could hear anything that was being said by the bride or groom. It was probably a good thing because they had written their own vows and I probably would have started to laugh if they had mentioned anything about the cow. I tend to laugh very easily and that would have been the end of me. I mean here I was, a vision of loveliness, wearing this particularly ugly dress, barefoot, with flowers and ribbons in my hair, sneezing with tears running down my face and being groped by some tall guy. If I had started to laugh that would have been the final straw.

Finally the ceremony was over. My friend was married and happy so I was happy for her. There was no reception after the wedding because we had mingled before the wedding and because there was no food left. There was no champagne toast either because… well you know why. Everyone just left. It was so strange. We had been asked to make sure the cow got home so we drove away with a huge cow taking up the whole back seat of our car. We went out to dinner because we were starving. We didn’t even stop at home first so I could change my clothes, although I did put my shoes on. I got some strange looks from the people at the restaurant. I guess they had never seen a grown woman in such a lovely gown as the one I was wearing with wilted flowers and ribbons in my hair. I mean, we all have our terrible-bridesmaid’s-dress-that-made-me-look-really-ugly story, but I think this one takes the cake. Hmm — come to think of it, they didn’t have a cake at the wedding.

The saddest thing is the marriage didn’t last more than a few months and I wore that stupid dress for nothing. And I guess the cow was put out to pasture. We never saw it again. But I love my friend and I see her on a regular basis. I have excused her temporary insanity, both for marrying that guy and for having that wedding.

Ah, the things we do for our girlfriends.

~Madison Thomas

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