The Mission: I Ginny, take thee Elijah (part 19 and The End)

Deborah Hendrick on Monday, January 1st, 2007

Wedding receptions normally come after the ceremony. In the event of Ginny and Elijah’s wedding, it came first. It was after all, a New Year’s Eve party too.

The ball room sparkled with snowy white linens and flowers, touched in silver and gold. Tall candelabra stood on each table surrounded by mounds of white flowers. There was no decorating theme but for the fragile dragonflies, reproduced in deep jewel colors of ruby, sapphire and emerald, that rested here and there upon the flowers.

The buffet was opulent and delicious, the jazz band was hot and swinging, and the wedding guests were thoughtful and lovely. Ginny was wearing a vintage flapper wedding dress, white-beaded, pin-tucked silk over slipper satin in palest pink. Elijah wore black, an elegant ageless tuxedo.

They ate sparingly, danced a little, and greeted each guest with delight. At eleven-thirty, they and others in the wedding party quietly slipped away to prepare for the ceremony.

The band slowly shifted the mood with a set of increasingly romantic melodies until midnight when the bandleader led them in “Auld Lang Syne.” As the cheering and kissing slowed, the sounds of a string quartet filled the air, and the ushers deftly moved the crowd through previously unnoticed double doors to the wedding chapel, brilliantly lit by candles alone, and festooned in Air Force blue.

The string quartet played until all the guests were seated. Ginny’s brother Cmdr. Gregg walked their mother down the aisle, and when she was in place, he took up a position left of center and turned to face the back. Soon it became apparent that he was Ginny’s sole attendant.

Elijah and his wingman—the Best Man— clad in Mess Dress, entered from the right. The minister, a V.I.P. from Amarillo, nodded to the musicians and single violinist took up the opening notes of Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March.” The music swelled and the minister invited all to stand. The doors opened and there stood the Admiral, resplendent in Navy blue and gold braid, and Ginny.

So beautiful was Ginny, that a hush of awe swept across those who watched her. She stood regally, her hand on her father’s arm. Her red hair was drawn to the back of her head, and fell in an tumble of curls behind a tall Edwardian tiara, a golden cobweb of flowers, leaves, and darting dragonflies, misted with diamonds and seed pearls.

From just below her jawline, to her wrist bones and toes, she was gowned in a slim column of aged ivory lace, cut by a visionary for another bride in an era long past, but perfectly right for Ginny more than seventy-five years later. She wore Elijah’s great-grandmother’s pearls, and she carried a white bouquet of ginger, jasmine, and roses.

For the first time in her life, Ginny failed to see the whole scene. She saw only Elijah, heard only his voice. She managed to say her vows, in a voice so low that only Elijah and God could hear them. And then Eli was kissing her. On her forehead, her cheeks, softly—barely touching them—her lips.

Once again, the strings began to play the Mendelssohn, but used his opening notes as the bridge to The Air Force Song, arranged by the Admiral as a special surprise for his new son-in-law. Off we go, into the wild blue yonder, climbing high into the sun.

The string quartet continued to play while the wedding party slipped aside for photographs. When they returned, it was time for cake and champagne, dancing and singing. Finally, Eli sat at the piano and beckoned Ginny to sit beside him. The room fell quiet as he sang When I fall it love, it will be forever … and Ginny leaned her head onto his shoulder.

Soon it was time for them to go. Amid hugs and tears, shouts of laughter and a shower of rice, the newlyweds departed in a limousine that carried them way down on the west end of the island where a cozy honeymoon cottage and their new life waited.

Elijah was amazed and dismayed to discover that Ginny’s wedding dress featured sixty-three tiny covered buttons down the back. “Why are there so many buttons?” he asked.

“It is a mystery,” Ginny said, “but if you start at the top and undo them all, I’m sure you’ll discover the answer.”

Topics: The Mission

6 Responses to “The Mission: I Ginny, take thee Elijah (part 19 and The End)”

Eric Says:
January 2nd, 2007 at 6:36 pm

A pleasing end to the series. Thanks for sharing your talent with us!

Any significance to 63 buttons? Just curious…

Deborah Says:
January 2nd, 2007 at 8:24 pm

I’m glad you enjoyed the stories. The 63 buttons? It is a mystery. That’s just how many buttons were on the dress when Ginny found it. Very small buttons, you see, with little loops. The dressmaker’s attention to detail was exquisite.

Eric Says:
January 2nd, 2007 at 8:38 pm

The dressmaker’s attention to detail was exquisite.

No more so than the writer who described it.

Deborah Says:
January 2nd, 2007 at 8:48 pm

You are very kind. Thank you.

John Flanagan Says:
January 3rd, 2007 at 3:01 pm

Thank you for the wonderful journey with Ginny. I thoroughly enjoyed each segment.

You are a very talented writer. Thank you. john

Deborah Says:
January 3rd, 2007 at 3:48 pm

Thank you John. The Mission was a lot of fun for me.


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