The day has come and gone, as these much-anticipated days have a way of doing. There were no pumpkin chariots or lost glass slippers, and the fate of the few mice was much less romantic than that of tailor and balladeer. But fairy godmothers? Them we had in abundance. Without them, we would not have made it to the ball in all our finery.
Fairy godmothers came in the shape of harvest-weary farmers in their dusty steel-toed boots clearing the farm shed of equipment and tools, using the pressure washer to wash the floor, and then stringing it with hundreds of lights to create ambiance and intimacy for a reception space. They hauled down long-forgotten cutters out of shed lofts, built arbours in the eleventh hour, and had the lawn cut and trimmed to perfection.
Our fairy godmothers came clad in yoga pants and t-shirts with magic wands in the shape of paint scrapers and paint brushes, brooms and window shining cloths, and knives and spatulas. Our farmhouse porch was scraped and painted and made fit for the bride’s entry on the wedding day. Our farmhouse cellar was rid of countless years’ worth of cobwebs and dirt (leading my guy to ask if we’re having the wedding in the basement). The farm shop had all twenty-two of its windows scrubbed and shined and its floor swept clean. Desserts were assembled with care and creativity. Meats were spiced to perfection, slow roasted to tenderness, and an array of toppings were created to finish them off.
In the weeks before the wedding, my Old Order Mennonite neighbour lady stopped by to pick up some things. We talked wedding talk, and she told me of the three weddings she has hosted at her house for her daughters. She said they always serve their guests a small glass of wine and a jam-jam cookie first thing in the morning as some will have travelled a distance and breakfast would have been early. When I asked about the wine, she said they want to follow the example of Jesus when he turned water into wine at a wedding he attended. I quipped that I wished he would do that at our wedding and her kind and demur reply was, “Yes, your glasses are probably bigger than ours”. This fairy godmother in her Old Order garb brought over buckets of bright gladiolas from her garden the day before the wedding as a way of offering help.
Other fairy godmothers tucked lavender and rosemary into the cheesecloth napkins, assembled and hung windows for décor, gathered wildflowers for the arbour on the morning of the wedding, and were available for a host of sundry errands and tasks. Some brought planters and flowers from their own yards to lend summer’s beauty to our fading gardens. Others found mismatched china plates to add to the collection.
The bride’s Grammas, in spite of their advanced years with its accompanying health difficulties, found ways to add their fairy dust to the wedding. One Gramma pressed, folded, and added string to the cheesecloth napkins with meticulous precision. This Gramma also brought some of the county’s best potato salad and puffed wheat squares for our busy work days. The other Gramma was able to thread the fabric pieces of the bunting garlands (stitched together by a fairy godmother) onto string which we could then hang over the windows. Gnarled hands or depleted strength, these lovelies still wanted to find ways to do what they could.
And, of course behind every fairy godmother are others who are supporting them and making it possible for them to give of their time.
Many people bringing what they have to bring creates a thing of beauty and strength, a thing that in turn can take on a life of its own. Some did this, some did that, and it was all needed and good for even the smallest thing done adds value and hue. There are seasons where we need to sit back, close the door, and draw the shades to make space for our own selves, and there are seasons when we may be brimming with ideas and energies. Probably the lines between the seasons are blurred and blended. But do know that the bit we have to bring adds wholeness and vitality, and it becomes part of the flow that brings life.
As the curtain begins to fall on this act, take a bow fairy godmothers, for you undergirded the show.
(All plate photos by Melanie Martin, the photo of my mom by Janet Horst, and the reception photo by Jared Martin)