The day was momentous. And while the true blue baptists might turn up their nose to the notion of getting married anywhere but God’s house… God had touched every part of that Saturday and He wept with joy and kissed the head of the bride and groom. I saw Him more than once at our makeshift church house at the top of the hill on county line road.
The day centered around the old oak tree at the corner of the pasture where the pecan and fruit orchard begins. The numbers 10-01-2011 carved in. Our love for trees was put in us first by a fear… The fear of what my father would do if we broke a branch off of one of his beloved trees… Or hit the trunk with a baseball bat… The usual destructive kid behaviors . Our dad loved his trees and as we grew up, that fear became a love for the beautiful buddlings dad so caringly planted and nurtured. “So that tree stood tall at the center of it all and what a sight it did see.”
The guests poured in around 4:15, walking through the pasture and carefully watching not to step in the little gifts left behind by the cattle in attendance. They stopped at the gift table and dropped a card in the vintage birdcage or laid a gift in the old trunk beside the vanity where photos and family delicates gently lain. The traditional guest book replaced by a camera, and chalkboards to write your message to the bride ‘n groom. As the guests walked through the front yard, riddled with tables and simple organic decorations, how could they have known that just a handful of minutes before we’d all: brothers sisters, moms and dads, aunts and uncles, cousins and friends, been scurrying like squirrels preparing for their arrival. They made their way down the curved gravel road, usually leading you to Rick and Donna’s Dream house on the hill, that lead to a peaceful corner of the pasture. Greeted by two galvanized tubs atop old tree stumps and filled to the brim with burlap bags full of popcorn (details later) and the secrets to the little special details as well as the words to the “daniel and tosha” song. Vintage Ball jars containing a single white hydrangea directed your eyes to the front of the make-shift red dirt and pasture aisle where 2 old wooden church pews mirrored one another, thoughtfully reserved for the family. The beautiful spray of white roses and greens nestled in as a gorgeous accent to the back of the pews, arranged by the lovely Katherine Gomez with the help of Aunt Shirley (this was far from the only detail touched by their hands…their creative fingertips left their prints everywhere).
At 5:00 the filler music stopped (including the accidental bear skin condom commercial, thanks to Pandora ;-), “How long do you wanna be loved” escorted the parents and grandparents down the aisle and into their pew, “is forever enough, is forever enough”. The bridesmaids could have skipped down the aisle to “If I was a flower growing wild and free, all I’d want is you to be my sweet honey bee”. Around the corner the mule drawn carriage, lead by Glenn and Thurman Sturgell, jingled and jangled and made its way to deliver a bride to her groom in waiting! My dad and I were waiting, helped her down straightened the dress and jewelry and with a quick hug, off I go. The music faded as I took my place beside that old oak tree, and The Righteous Brothers quickly closed the gap and pushed Tosh and dad into motion. The very song that ended in a promise to meet at this very place, welcomed a Tosha that had never been more beautiful…practically floating toward us. Daniel, the groom, put up a good fight against the emotion….it never completely won as he choked it back. “Waited all my life for you to be, standing there right next to me……..My chest is full of butterflies, but baby they’re the I love you kind”. It was short and sweet and ended with the bride and groom riding away on their wagon.
The guests made their way to meats and cheeses, homemade ice cream and fixins, with the Brooks’ legendary cherry, blackberry, and peach cobblers!
Tosh and Daniel made their entrance, cut into Aunt Shirley’s famous chocolate mousse cake and through each and every warm greeting NOW as husband and wife. Guests left behind pictures with their messages written on chalk boards and a shower of gifts as the night ended early with a popcorn farewell to the bride and groom and a cloud of dust as they drove away.
The blessings and light of the day were just within reach of a dear friend and her family mourning the loss of her grandmother. Anothers’ father was in his last stages of Lou Gehrig’s disease and was fighting just to breathe his last breaths only to give up the fight one week from the day later. Through babies being born and lives being joined… God gave the hurt and the joy, life and death and we felt it all.
As the sun went down on County Line Road, you never would have known all the dropped balls and frantic last minute fixes that led to the perfection that was. God is Good, All the time.
All the images captured were done in true fashion and with the creative hand of John Harris, www.johnharrisphtography.net. If you are in the market and in the TX vicinity…….do yourself a favor and book him!