Wedding gown drop weird as Venus eclipse June 7, 2012
Ten minutes before I began clacking away on this column, Hunka Burnin’ Hubby and I were in the front yard with welding glass duct taped to an enormous camera lens, snapping pictures of Venus doing the cha-cha across the sun. This is the last dance of its kind for 105 years, and we thrilled at the tiny black speck on a vast face of fire.
Leave it to Nightclub Universe to bring our earthly problems down to scale. Earth and Venus are separated by approximately 26 million miles, with the sun roughly 67 million miles further down the road. The tiny blue ball we call home is 93 million miles from the source that keeps us warm, grows our food, drives our schedules, and makes SPF a topic of concern when we head to the fishing hole.
Distance like that can make you feel small and insignificant, and in the grand scheme of things I suppose that’s largely true. If the sun could peer through all that space and into the Schlueterville kitchen, I wonder what it would think of the woman at the laptop, puzzling over a faded box to her right — a box holding her 28-year-old wedding dress. The dress in that box, 93 million miles from the sun, weighs heavily on my mind.
Buckle up, my friends, because things are about to get weirder than an alien invasion.
Let’s begin with a truncated version of a long, dramatic tale. In 1983, I donned a gorgeous, 10-pound ivory dress, drug its cathedrallength train to the end of a very long aisle, and committed the smartest act of my life by marrying my husband. We were still building careers and moving from place to place, so a family member, who lives many hours away, generously offered to store the dress for the time being. And that’s where it stayed until last Sunday night.
You see, many years ago this relative and I had a spat of the Gettysburg-meets-Pearl Harbor variety. I’m ashamed to say the event killed our relationship, leaving my wedding dress hanging between two pig-headed fools. (I can feel the sun rolling its eyes right about now, and rightly so.) But the Earth kept spinning and life moved on. The broken relationship left a hole in my soul, and losing the dress that symbolized the beginning of my own fantastic family was salt in a gaping wound.
Along came Sunday evening, when I walked into the garage holding a chocolate sheet cake, on the way to a picnic Hunka and I had been invited to. And there on the floor by my car was my wedding dress.
“Is that what I think it is?” Hunka asked.
I nearly dropped the cake, and stammered something shockingly unprintable. I opened the lid and there it was, showcased in preserved splendor. No note was attached to explain who had delivered it, and it couldn’t have been left there longer than a half hour before. The person apparently cased the place, dropped it off when the coast was clear, and ran as though they were chased by ravenous wolves.
So I’m left to ponder the mysterious appearance of the long-lost wedding dress. Was a stranger hired to drop it off? Did a particular someone drive a significant distance to deliver it personally? Maybe the magnetic pull of aligning planets — Earth and Venus and the blazing sun — is somehow to blame. I may never know. And in the larger scheme of the universe, it’s a small and petty matter.
At any rate, I’m glad to have it back. So thanks, whoever you are, for returning something very special to me.
Tam Schlueter adopts a "strike-fast-and-keep-them-laughing" approach to writing. Her column appears every Thursday in the Hastings Tribune, and showcases the wonder of family, dogs, muscle cars, and folks with blue collars and no-nonsense attitudes.