It was long ago and it was far away, but I remember it still.
It was a beach wedding and no one wore shoes!
It was wonderful! As well as not wearing shoes, lots of people went around saying stuff like, ‘don’t worry, be happy’ and so there we were.
Barefoot and happy!
The reason we were in the Bahamas is our oldest daughter was getting married. It was a small guest list and the bride’s dad and I were ecstatic we were on it.
It turned out I was also on the guest list as the official photographer! The one and only photographer, I might add.
No pressure there!
It seems people who take pictures for newspapers often find themselves performing dual roles such as mother-of-the bride and, official photographer.
I was extremely nervous. Being mother-of-the-bride at a beach wedding where the most important thing seemed to be matching your drink to your dress was not hugely stressful, but capturing the never to be forgotten moments with a humble Pentax 1000 was a different story.
“Help,” I said to all the other barefoot people wondering around, none of whom had a camera in hand. But, it seemed no one cared, but only wanted to not worry and be happy just like the bronzed skinned natives who sat around contentedly soaking up the sun and having siestas.
I wished I could have adopted that philosophy myself, but, I discovered I could not. I was not happy and I was worried.
What if it rained? What If my camera jammed? What if I ran out of film? Were these people who kept saying ‘don’t worry, be happy’ crazy? Didn’t they know it was important to worry?
As it turned out none of the above happened.
And, today as I turn the pages of the photo album with all the pictures I took that long ago day, I can still hear those guys saying, “don’t worry, be happy” and I have to smile.
There is much to be said for a beach wedding! Looking back, I think I said a lot of it with pictures.
They looked like perfect silhouettes that day, the bride and groom, two cake top figures, standing together on ground made holy by the significance of this most important occasion. And, stretching out in all its magnificence was the deep aquamarine waters of the Atlantic Ocean, providing a backdrop more beautiful than any man made cathedral could ever hope to achieve.
I turn the pages of the photograph album slowly.
I see a picture of the groom, pant legs of his tuxedo rolled up, carrying his bride out into the ocean for no other reason than they are newly married, deliciously in love, and, of course, oblivious to the fact they were both getting soaked.
I waded backwards into the water to get that shot, I remember, and I swear if I would have to figure out how to move the sun to keep the shadows off their faces, I would have done it.
We moms do stuff like that sometimes. We have the power.
But, luckily, the sun obliged and I didn’t have to move it and I got the picture.
I close the book, still smiling.
It’s 17 years later. It’s cold. It’s winter. It’s supposed to snow.
But, for some reason I keep smiling. It’s probably because I keep hearing those words in my head, “don’t worry, be happy!”
Ridiculously simple, but somehow, quite effective.
Even in winter!
— On The Other Side