Our stunning Golden Wedding cake is just like a delicious, edible Family Tree.
The top tier depicts Mr B and I at various times over the last fifty years from our wedding
day right up to more recent times. The middle tier is decorated with photographs of our Foursome, from childhood to wedding days - while the bottom (and largest) tier is given over to our Truly Tremendous Ten grandchildren. The top tier is a vanilla cake;
the middle tier is lemon sponge; the bottom tier is - what else could it be? - chocolate! As cakes go, this one is Just Perfect.
So many months of planning, so many things which could have gone wrong, from
the weather to the food, to the Church Service itself. Suppose Mr B decided not to turn up, second time around? Suppose his "Best Man", brother Paul, lost the ring? Suppose, suppose, suppose...
Like the cake,
everything was perfect. Sitting in the back garden, eating fish and chips before the start of the Main Event, we all agree that Everything Is Going To Plan. There was a potential hitch when the eldest four grandchildren, down at the Church for a rehearsal,
couldn't get their backing music to work. "Shall I send your Dad down to help?" the Youngest of the Darling Daughters suggests when her daughter Hazel phones with the bad news. "No, it's fine," is the answer, "The Vicar's here!"
We presume he is sending up a prayer or two on their behalf - but it seems he is practical as well as prayerful. "Thank heavens for a vicar with Bluetooth!" the singers declare when they return from their rehearsal, backing track sorted.
As regular readers know, Mr B and I were renewing our wedding vows; it was the most special of events. Mr B appears to have caught the Usher Gene which is worrying because I didn't realise it was contagious. I thought
you had to be born to find yourself in tears at extra specially poignant moments. It did, however, surprise all those present who were prepared to see me in floods of tears but hadn't reckoned on Mr B being similarly afflicted. Bless him. Don't imagine, for
a minute, that I am making light of the emotion he (and I) felt. As someone said to me after the service: "That was better than any wedding service I have been to..."
I would say every wedding is special in
its own way - but perhaps for the main participants (erstwhile Bride and Groom) renewing your vows in the light of fifty years experience - for better, for worse; for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish till death does us part
- adds an incredibly poignant extra dimension. Because we know about better and worse, we have experienced richer and poorer, we've enjoyed good health - and loved and cherished each other through more difficult days.
Our Boy reads the beautiful passage from Corinthians about love. When he reaches the verse about "putting off childish ways" he almost can't resist a wry shrug. But: "Mum wouldn't like it!" he thinks - so he doesn't. His eldest son, Young Sam, tells
him afterwards that one day he will do the same for his parents. I love that boy.
The Middle of the Darling Daughters reads a poem by Ben Hirons about love for family - and the unique love between two people.
How she manages not to cry, being possessed of a double helping of the Usher Gene, I will never know.
Ten years ago, for our Ruby Wedding Celebration, our four eldest grandchildren starred in a mini film called
"When Brian Met Jaqui", charting our early years. Ten years on, those same four talented grandchildren stand side by side in church and sing "Already Home" from the Wizard of Oz for us. We cry. So does almost everyone else in the Church.
Our special day was all about love. And family. And being thankful for everything we are fortunate to have in our life.
"Close your eyes it's very easy, you find that you're
already home. Yes, there's no place as good as home."
Thank you, fifty times over, to everybody who helped to make our Golden Day so very, very special.