heaven help me

Two thousand seventeen has not gotten off to a good start for Yours Truly.

First, there was the dress. No. make that The Dress. It was “The Dress” instead of simply “the dress” because it is for the upcoming wedding of our youngest son, Carson, a brilliant new lawyer (takes after his father) who now calls Des Moines, Iowa, home.

Carson will wed Claire Roth in Athens in April. You might recall my column on his unusual Pepperoni Proposal. If not, no matter; we are here today to talk dresses.

Brace yourself. Carson’s mother, Margaret, my wife, drove in mid-January, with me in tow, from Pawleys Island to Columbia, then to Athens, then to Atlanta, then back to Columbia, and then home — all in one weekend! And without finding a suitable dress!

But wait. There’s more. The next weekend, we drove — are you ready? — to Charlotte, North Carolina, and then to Columbia again in search of The Dress.

In the process, my wife tried on 124,698 dresses!

And that doesn’t count the 212 she bought online, eagerly awaited, tried on, and sent right back.

For me, this experience was very educational: I learned that my opinion on formal dresses means absolutely nothing — but I am now an expert on dress-shop decor and the behavior of women, all women, in such establishments. Long story short: women are not rational creatures. (No surprise there, eh, fellows?)

Then there was my wife’s birthday, which occurred this month. Because I dislike physical pain, I will not mention which of her birthdays it was. I will say only that HER BIRTHDAY IS A BIG. BIG DEAL!

I have learned that different families harbor different attitudes towards birthdays. In mine, thirteen and twenty-one were considered special. Sort of. Maybe. My wife says parole dates are more important in my family. And occur more often.

But among my in-laws, EVERY BIRTHDAY is special, and most special of all is my wife’s — and heaven help me if I forget it!

But how could I forget it? The hints begin six weeks ahead of The Day. And the REQUIRED preparations are themselves unforgettable.

First there’s the 21-gun salute.

Then comes the fireworks display.

Then there’s the flyover by the Blue Angels, complete with their famous synchronized wing-tip salute, while down below, in our front yard, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sings a special version of “Happy Birthday To You — Yes, You!”

Do I exaggerate? OK — but only a little.

In any case, she has now picked a dress — and loves it!

So, as the Bard of Avon said, “All’s Well That Ends Well.”

Best of all, the doctor tells me that my bumps and bruises will be healed by the April 8 Wedding Day.


Image: Paper doll with wedding dresses by ID 29913125 © Romawka and licensed at Dreamstime.com using contributions from generous readers like you.
Robert Lamb

Robert Lamb

I grew up in Augusta, Ga., where I attended Boys' Catholic High. After service in the Navy, I attended the University of Georgia, majoring in English, and then began a (wholly unexpected) journalism career on the old Augusta Herald, an evening paper, and ended years later in Atlanta at The (great) Atlanta Constitution, which I left in late 1982 to write The Great American Novel. That goal has proved remarkably elusive, but my first attempt (Striking Out, in 1991) was nominated for the PEN/Hemingway Award. My second novel, Atlanta Blues, spent a few minutes on the best-seller list in (at least) Columbia, S.C., and was described in one newspaper’s year-end roundup as “one of the three best novels of 2004 by a Southern writer.” My third novel won no honors but at least didn’t get me hanged; titled A Majority of One, it is about a clash between religion and the Constitution over book-banning in the high school of a Georgia town. For my next novel, And Tell Tchaikovsky the News, I returned to an Atlanta setting for a story about the redemptive powers of, in this case anyhow, “that good rock ’n’ roll.” I've also published a collection of short stories and poems: Six of One, Half Dozen of Another. One of its stories, “R.I.P.,” was a winner in the S.C. Fiction Project in 2009. Before retirement, I taught creative writing and American literature at the University of South Carolina and its Honors College, and feature writing in its School of Journalism. I maintain a now-and-then blog at boblamb.wordpress.comand I walk my dog on the beach a lot at Pawleys Island, S.C.