Lost Journal: The March of the Poorly Dressed Ringbearers

By Tim Mollen

Journal entry:  July 20, 1974 (age 5)

I don’t get weddings.  Today was my cousin Sherry’s, and it’s the first one I can remember going to.  The whole thing was weird.  I know that everybody gets dressed up for church, but today some of the people were dressed in identical outfits.  There were a bunch of guys wearing the same black suit, and a bunch of ladies wearing the same dress.  They looked like they were going to face off in a game or something.  Sherry looked beautiful, though, in a long, white dress and veil.  She’s my godmother, and I think that’s the way all godmothers should look, even if they can’t turn pumpkins into chariots.

A few weeks ago, my brother, Dan, and I were told that we would have a very special job at the wedding.  We would be “the Ringbearers.”  Our parents said that meant we were in charge of carrying the wedding rings to the altar, and that without those rings, there would be no wedding.  We thought that sounded kinda neat at first.  Then we were shown the “special Ringbearer outfits” we’d have to wear.

At the beginning of this morning’s Mass, members of the tuxedo team and the dress detail paired off and walked up the main aisle of the church.  They all walked really slowly, and in unison.  People were taking pictures of them and saying, I imagined, “Ooh, look, they’re all dressed alike and walking funny – let’s get a picture!”  Then the organ started playing something regal-sounding, and everyone in the whole church stood up and looked to the back of the church.

There we stood.  Dan and I were each wearing an orange dress shirt with ruffles down the front and a huge, black, velvet bowtie.  Our bottom halves were even worse.  Black knickers barely extended to our knees.  From there, orange pantyhose took over for the journey southward.  Somehow, I lucked out in the footwear department, wearing the non-descript, brown shoes Mom always puts on me for church.  Dan, meanwhile, was saddled with saddle shoes of brown and black.

We walked up the aisle carrying frilly white pillows, and everyone was staring at us.  Most people were smiling, but some people were laughing.  “We can’t help it,” I thought, “they told us the guys who bring in the rings always dress like this!”  Dan whispered out of the corner of his mouth, “They didn’t tell us everyone would have cameras!”  Happily, everyone stopped looking at us after a minute, so they could watch my Uncle Ben walk Sherry to the front of the church.

When the priest asked for the wedding rings, Dan and I learned the harsh truth.  The best man stepped forward with two rings.  Real rings.  Apparently, the ones on our special, Ringbearer pillows were fake.  The whole thing had been a ruffled and knickered sham.  Sitting there in our bowties and pantyhose, contemplating life’s cruelty, Dan and I looked at each other.  We each thought to ourselves, “At least he looks dumber than I do.”

Tim Mollen
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