"Well, I'll Be John Brown"

Real stories about folks who have blessed my life with the joy and fulfillment of laughter. Long may they live.

Location: Atlanta, Georgia, United States

A Southern Boy - Born In Alabama, Reared In Georgia, and Matriculated, Married & Initiated Into Manhood In Tennessee.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

"Autumn Belle - Chapter 21"

"I'm not a smart man..."

Those words from "Forrest Gump" echo through the halls of male-dom more often than most men would ever admit. Seldom is this more apparent than right after he has uttered THE question to end all questions. A man is often clueless regarding the power of certain words, especially when they are strung together in a proposal of marriage. Naturally, he is then quite amazed when a firestorm of emotion and energy come back in his direction after he has uttered those four simple words...

"Will you marry me?"

To most males, popping the question is an elementary thing - nothing more than an inquiry involving two people. A process that should evoke one of two potential answers - "yes" or "no." He does not foresee, once the proposal is made and accepted, the endless chain of phone calls that must be made announcing the event. He cannot fathom how and why every living relative on planet earth must be informed within forty-eight hours after the question and answer have been spoken.

The man also has no hint of the formidable stream of plans and decisions that wash over the bride and her gaggle of familial females in the wake of the engagement. Further, he does not stop to think of the enormous amounts of money he is about to cost at least one other man, who is equally as clueless regarding the financial black hole that is gathering in his path. No male is capable of anticipating the parade of shopping malls, bridal stores, trying on, taking back, taking up, and letting out that proposing to a female sets into motion.

If a man did know all of these things in advance, he might very well elect to remain unattached. Or at the very least, he might restrict his proposal to nothing more than a, "whatcha' doing Saturday night, baby?"

Captain Beauregard Jackson, USN, was certainly no exception to any of these truths.

Asking a "normal" woman to meet one at the altar is risky enough. Proposing matrimony to one who is a rich, spoiled, daddy's girl, socialite, is quite another matter. Before Beau could accomplish telling his mother and George Decker about the engagement, Autumn Belle and her family were already well into the early planning stages of this production of a wedding. With all of the activity in the Hamilton home, one would have thought that the sequel to "Gone With The Wind" was being filmed there.

The "Autumn Belle Dictionary of Wedding Etiquette" included the following concerns: the number of folks in the wedding party, the venue, the caterers, the rehearsal, the reception, the food, the music, the cakes, the number of people on the guest list, the colors, the flowers, the candles, the ribbons, the wedding dress, the bride's maid dresses, the color of the groom's tuxedo, the announcements, the invitations, the pictures, the minister, the flower girl and ring bearer, the bridal tea, the gifts for the wedding party, the honeymoon, the wardrobe for the honeymoon, the showers, the thank you notes, and the limousines.

When Beau saw Autumn's list, he was totally overwhelmed. Surprise and disbelief best describe his reaction. "Why would anyone want to go through all of that?," he mused. Autumn replied, "Because, sweetie, this girl only gets married once...And, in Atlanta, a high society wedding like ours just HAS to be one humdinger of a party...I am certain you can appreciate that my family could never show its collective face again if ours was not THE most elegant wedding this old town has ever seen."

Beau did not understand. All he had done was to ask the girl of his dreams to become the love of his life. A simple ten minute ceremony in front of a Justice of the Peace would have been perfectly fine with him. He reminded Autumn of his Navy commitment, and of his mother's failing health. He had no idea when he would be available for a royal occasion like Autumn was planning. He was a little perturbed that she seemed to be thinking more of this is a social event, and less as a sacred time of their becoming husband and wife. More than once, he thought of sitting down with her and attempting to persuade her to run off with him and elope.

But, he loved Autumn. And, he wanted her to be happy. "It's just one day," he told himself, "and it's HER day...I can put up with ANYTHING for one day...In the end, I'll have her, and that is worth anything I have to go through!"

What a guy!