Monday, 29 June 2009

Vision of Loveliness

“A vision of loveliness, dressed in Chantilly lace.” Thus the local newspaper described all the brides who graced the church where I was parish priest…no matter their size or shape, no matter…. whatever… invariably Visions of Loveliness…invariably dressed in Chantilly Lace.
My dictionary informs me that Chantilly is a town near Paris renowned for producing a delicate kind of bobbin lace. I wonder if you are still following me and if you are bewildered about where I am coming from and where I am going to.

Anyway, among the laced lovelies who plighted their troth in my presence there was one who will always have a special place in any memoirs of my priesthood that I may compose. The floral decoration of the church was superb and the singing of the choir did justice to the occasion. As for that most over-looked participant at any wedding – the groom – he had the aspect of a rather bewildered sheep, not, I would like to think, so much contemplating the slaughter he was soon to undergo but rather assessing the pastures he was hoping to enjoy.

I dare to boast that all went smoothly, even to perfection.

And so to the reception. Of course, first came the photo-session; then the speeches and toasts…those grandiloquent utterances of wisdom from those who would have made a better show in life if only they had followed their own advice. Such is the convention. Let it pass.

Now, at some weddings it happens that after the formalities the bride disappears with her ladies-in-waiting. She is going to change from the constricting wedding dress into something more casual, more comfortable. This would not merit comment, and most certainly not from a gentleman, and certainly not from an aged clergyman such as myself, were it not for the fact that this clothing transformation was of exceptional, no, of unique interest. Sensational!

I would be amazed if the like of this had ever occurred before. You see, this bride of outstanding beauty had had her hair arranged in a kind of bee-hive, held in place by a silver circlet. As her long, dark, tresses were being freed the ministering maidens leaped backwards with a startled scream. While her hair was being combed, out tumbled a large centipede…itself more than a little scared by the shrieking ladies and their ‘carryings-on.’

No-one more startled than the bride. When she had recovered from reflecting on the sting she had been spared she was able to recall feeling a certain prickling sensation on her scalp from the moment she left the beautician who had fixed her hair. This she put this down to her hair having been pulled too tightly!

You must be wondering how on earth I’m going to find MY WAY, GOD’S WAY in all this melee. I most certainly ask myself. By thanking God – that’s it; thanking him for bringing this bee-hive-bride into my priesthood; even thanking him that I am now almost bald! No fear that my scalp will ever provide shelter for centipedes or any other creepy crawlies! The years have been serious, indeed. I thank God with all my heart for these crazy moments! I doubt, however, if the bride would have been quite so grateful!

Peter Clarke O.P.

Next week Peter will be 'Driven to Distraction'

1 comment:

  1. Well, Fr.Peter, you certainly cheered me up with your vivid descriptions of the 'bee-hive bride'. Absolutely hilarious! Pity there was nobody around to film it. What a narrow escape for bride and centipede, though I do think she would have suffered more... Will share this with my female friends who used this hair-style many moons ago....Thanks a lot! God bless!