For What It’s Worth

Wedding a highflying affair

Dottie Coven and Keith Stewart’s wedding Sunday was such a highflying affair that if you had been there and wanted to leave, you couldn’t—unless you had a parachute.

Weddings occur in a variety of locations. The justice of the peace office. In a church auditorium or chapel. Outdoors, perhaps in a meadow or gazebo. But their wedding took place at a much higher level than any of these locations. It occurred in an airplane. A Southwest Airlines jet. Thousands of feet in the air between Nashville and Dallas.

As the CNN news story suggested, love was in the air for this couple’s exchange of vows, and love was on the ground when they came back down to earth at Love Field in Dallas. It was truly a highflying affair.

Two things were sure at this wedding. No one walked in late, nor did anyone walk out early. Oh, and no guests got high on spiked punch; they were already high, as in several thousand feet high.

I don’t suppose there were any tin cans tied onto the end of the fuselage of the plane so that onlookers or air traffic controllers would be aware that a wedding party was landing. That might have been a bit of a distraction for the pilot.

Reading the story brought back memories or flashbacks—or whatever you call them—of my own wedding, though at my age it’s hard to convince some folks I can remember anything that happened that long ago. Actually, 57 years doesn’t seem that long ago to me. Despite having not been married in an airplane, the years since have flown by.

Probably the only one up in the air about our wedding was my mother-in-law, who had some reservations about her 18-year-old daughter being too young to marry—especially to a wet-behind-the-ears 18-year-old guy just two years removed from riding his bicycle to come court her daughter. Clearly, he was not someone with a backlog of frequent flyer miles.

It was an easy access and egress wedding, though we had no walk-ins or early departures. No flight attendants (back then they would have been stewardesses), but, of course, my wife did have attendants. They were not in uniforms like stewardesses used to wear, but they were uniformly dressed since they had matching dresses. Plus, they were almost uniformly family, since my three sisters were attendants and Carol’s sister was the bridesmaid.

My mother, who tended to be a nervous type at times, may have been a bit up in the air about the occasion, but not my dad. He was in the pilot’s seat, so to speak, since he was the minister officiating the ceremony.

The wedding did not take place in a plane; rather, it was a plain wedding in a church on a Friday night. Carol and I didn’t even file a flight plan; we just headed down the runway of life and, I suppose, have been on auto pilot ever since.

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