Friday, July 20, 2018

Nieman Marcus and Feral Hogs

Della and Sam were two stepping to the band's fairly good rendition of Hank Williams' 'If Heaven Ain't Alot Like Dixie'. Everyone watching them was clueless as to what they were doing. They knew it wasn't a waltz or a fox trot. Obviously no one going around a large circle was doing the traditional southern 'shag' they had learned at Alabama and Ol' Miss. Many just stood there, entranced.

Della was clueless as to the dozens of eyes on her. She only had eyes for Sam, her Texas cowboy. She had been swept off her feet from the moment he first walked into the office. The 2 were planning their wedding, the only issue was Texas or Alabama. Sam's family was very well to do. They expected their only son's wedding to be one large enough to accommodate all their family, friends, business associates, and significant others. After all, nothing in Texas was small.

Della's family, on the other hand, could only imagine a simple church wedding for their daughter with a reception in the church hall. One big enough to handle their family and friends. No one needed anything else - just something proper and simple.

Della and Sam had 'danced' around their families for months. Neither wanting to hurt any one's feeling. There had been many discussions about elopement - some serious and others not so much. They just wanted to get married and not hurt any one's feelings in the process. Why did love have to be so difficult?

While they were visiting Sam's family in Dallas, his mother and sister, Bryson Lee, had made an appointment with the head of the Bridal Department at Nieman Marcus. They made it a 'Girl's Day' of it to look at wedding gowns.  Della had never been treated to such. She quickly realized she was terribly under dressed in her simple skirt and blouse. However, being polite, no one said anything.

The ladies were served champagne and pastries as they sat and watched models parade before them displaying the gowns. The dresses were lovely. Della had only seen such in the few Bridal magazines she has looked through. She had been handed a printed sheet that gave the description, including the designer, of each gown as it was presented. The prices threw her into a state of panic.  'Any one these cost more than my used Honda Civic', Della thought. Never wanting to hurt Sam's mother's feelings, she smiled and commented pleasantly on each as it was presented. The glasses of champagne did not hurt.

Sam's younger sister complicated the situation. Being the debutante of the season the year she came out, a cheerleader for the University of Texas Longhorns while at college, and then having her wedding featured in 'Town and Country' as well as the social  column of the 'Texas Observer', Della knew she would never measure up to Bryson Lee. But, she was able to politely handle Mrs. Peterson.

Sam and Della had returned from Texas, a little more confused than before. There was no middle ground. The Peterson's idea of a wedding was 500 guests, a full band, open bar, seated dinner, dancing, an affair guaranteed to make the society pages. While the Lees could not imagine anything more than a simple service in the local baptist church with a reception in the social hall complete with Lue Ellen's pecan sandies and pink punch.

Ima Jean, Della's mother, had been dreaming of her daughter's wedding since the day Della was born. Given Ima Jean and Tommy were married in the living room of the justice of the peace in the next county over, she could only dream of her daughter's wedding.

20 some years ago she had bought a Simplicity pattern for the wedding gown of her dreams. Unlike her simple wedding, she wanted her daughter to have the best. The least she could do was make her wedding gown. Ima Jean had even bought yards of white eyelet that she carefully kept wrapped in paper, stored in the bottom of her husband's freezer out back under the shed. Since Thomas only used the shed to clean his fish and the freezer for the deer meat, quail, dove, and feral hog he killed each year.

So there they were - Sam and Della, in love, lost in the music. They just wanted to get married and share their day with their family and friends. How difficult could that be?

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