A Happy New Year Memory…

A, Ornate initial

Morning Wish…

The sun is just rising on the morning of another day, the first day of the new year. What can I wish that this day, this year, may bring to me?

  • A few friends who understand me, and yet remain my friends
  • Work to do which has real value… without which the world would feel the poorer
  • Sight of the eternal hills and unbelting sea
  • Moments of quiet, silent meditation…sensing the presence of God.

                                                                    – W.R. Hunt

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This will be my last “carol of Christmas 2011.”  Sigh.

I’m glad to see the last of 2011 – such a hard year for many of us.  And I’m looking forward to blessings in the new one!

Still, on this the first day of a new year with no mistakes in it yet... as Anne Shirley would say…I’ve one more carol to sing.  Candlelight from seven years ago…this day…


Christmas held an extra cup of anticipation for us that year.  An out-of-state wedding- one week away! So it was that hardly a breath away from our Christmas dinner,  the bride’s family…plus one close friend (me)… were soon driving through mounds of snow here – across states of equally bitter cold — to a place of surprisingly balmy breezes, rolling green hills and… a sweet little church, set on a pretty little copse, like a bit of England.

The first glimpse of that charming brick Victorian chapel stirred my soul to dreams of villages I’d only  imagined in the pages of Bronte and Dickens…seen only in movies.  And to the joy of being here at Christmastime – in the wonderfully modern, yet ever quaint town of Charlotte, North Carolina.  A city and a place I’d never imagined visiting before…  fresh, clean, delightful… waiting for us, like a day yet to open.

Some dear friends of the groom had graciously opened their home to me… making it possible for me to afford to make this trip. A shared heart for the Lord and instant kinship between us brought lovely times of impromptu prayer where we lifted up the bride and groom together.  Kindred laughter and bleary-eyed fun in the wee hours before THE DAY, assembling wedding booklets with the groom… and discovering fun things about him as a boy. Ringing in the new year with tender heart and worship at their local church’s midnight service… on the eve of the wedding.

But, it was my extra joy to experience the charming southern-colonial style hotel where my friends…the bride’s family… stayed during those five days – as I met with them there each day… almost as one of their party.  Homemade, deliciously warm and gooey  chocolate chip cookies, served each afternoon in the glassed porch sitting area, furnished in a cozy British ambiance.  A promenade attached to the hotel, lined with quaint shops and restaurants still wearing elegant Christmas garlands… and colorful glass balls… and strings of shimmering white lights. Fun excursions for the “girls” to get their nails done… run last minute bridal errands… or sneak in some shopping at the gorgeous new mall.

Laughing with the bride and groom-to-be, over egg rolls and sweet and sour and fortune cookies… at a fun new restaurant.  Later, savoring some time while the others were off on their own for an hour.  Walking under the romantic Christmas lights there on the hotel promenade.  Exploring a charming Renovation Hardware store, filled with nostalgic furniture, bedding and old-time signs.  Pondering… and finally deciding… to splurge on an  old-fashioned garland of lights for my mantel – formed to look like white berries set in holly — a fun and unique treasure find.  Breathing prayers of blessing under the brisk air of twilight descending all around the huge decorated evergreen – the one lighting the mall before me there.  Thanking God for the gift of here and now….in this warm and endearing place.

Moments flash like snapshot photos in my mind today as I remember…  

A girl’s night out at a movie where, disgusted by the quite unexpected turn of the show, we’d caught each other’s eyes in disbelief, hurriedly exited with the young ones… sought our money back… and left under rueful laughter of how that had turned out.  Yet, even this makes for a fun, though not-the-way-we-planned-it memory…

Sitting in the pews of the Victorian church… watching the wedding rehearsal with late afternoon light spilling in the windows… feeling tears behind my eyes as I remembered the little girl-now-bride-to-be, watched her move so gracefully as the dancer she now is, step on over to the lectern with her fiancé to sign their marriage license…  And thinking… How like a famous Norman Rockwell painting they look, standing there together, pen in hand,  leaning over the marriage book!  She, in a lovely soft green scoop-neck sweater that looked like the 1940’s to me, arms leaning across the mahogany wood.  He close beside her, sweet joy lighting their faces.  I wished I had my camera to capture it…but instead, pressed the glow of it into my memory…

Helping the groom’s talented and creative mother set up round tables with votive lights atop circular flat mirrors and white tablecloths… for the rehearsal dinner.  Listening, misty-eyed, to friends and family of both groom and bride, toasting the pair to fondly-remembered and sweet or funny times of their childhood… Checking out the branches of a bare tree, strung with twinkly lights, where their childhood photos intermingled… and marveling how fast the time had gone since those moments had been captured…

Watching the three bridesmaid sisters take their places up front, near a side door, kitty-corner by the chapel rail… that beautiful sunny wedding day.  Dressed in their tea length blue-gray gowns… once again reminiscent of 1940 pictures I’ve seen and loved…

St. Mary's ChapelFeeling the sun as it dappled across the warm woods of the pews and ceiling beams… made the rosy colored carpet seem even deeper… painted God’s smile across the room….

Hearing the joy in Aunt Teresa’s exuberant whisper as her niece, the bride, walked in on the arm of her dad, “Oh, look at the bridegroom’s expression as he sees her coming!  All lit up!”

Knowing the warm presence of the Holy Spirit washing over me… everyone filling that chapel to overflowing with prayers and songs and glory to His Name.  Brushing my eyes, lightly as the music played… O come, O come, Emmanuel… and the lilting tone of Irish-sounding hymns… lifting and winging their way up and around us all…

Taking in the poignant words of the minister...

Loving the endearing way the bride and groom leaned in to one another as they knelt before the three lovely stained glass windows beyond the altar, their backs to us…yet inviting us into the intimacy, the sacred beauty of this, their moment…hearts aloft

St. Mary's ChapelStanding outside to greet the new husband and wife as they came out of the chapel doors together, arm in arm, pausing there amidst the camera flashes… The couple – now one, in their sweet Lord – at the door of the little English chapel…

And finding candlelightat the wedding… later at the reception…  Noticing the bride lean her head against her groom’s shoulder at the long dinner table with her bridal party…  Dancing to the band sounds of music Sinatra might have sung… Standing across from the gorgeous tiered- cake, watching them slice into it, smile and chat with guests filing by…

Waving them off to their honeymoon,  as the bride and groom glanced back… one more time… smiling, from their car window… streamers flying…

Laughing at a fun and oh-so-elegante McDonalds on our way in and out of town, a two-story glass enclosure that actually sported chandeliers and piano… And suddenly remembering how I’d seen this one-of-a-kind fast food locale once on TV, where the announcer had talked about young couples enjoying a little burger and fries a la roses and soft music…  Somehow a fun nod to the reason we were here…  Romance and new beginnings…

Feeling a touch sad at leaving this lovely place…

And thinking Oh, what a joyous way to start a new year!

This is the way I remember it…

              …And today… smiling at these memory pictures, I send wishes to you,                  Meg and Brian.  Happy Anniversary!

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©  Pam Depoyan

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    Do you have a favorite memory of starting a new year?

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About Pam@Writing...Apples of Gold

I love to hear your thoughts, even chat back and forth amongst comments.Won't you join the conversation? :) ..................................................................................................................... May my stories refresh you, like a whisper from our Father's Heart !
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3 Responses to A Happy New Year Memory…

  1. What a lovely wedding this was, Pam. More made romantic by your words….. thanks for sharing to us as you recalled it.

  2. Yes, it was… glad you enjoyed it!

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