A Love Story

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After writing an article in every issue of Living since the very first one, I have felt the absence of writing for several issues. Every time an issue came out, I was saddened, as I did not have a contribution. However, life has a way of bringing surprises that are not always pleasant.

After five months of being in ICU, my precious husband, Les Collard, went to be with the Lord. Obviously my life since the fall of last year has been turned upside down. However, this wedding issue gives me the opportunity to both honor him and get back in the saddle with the magazine.

When asked to write for the wedding issue, I was really stumped. I don’t feel particularly creative right now, so design was out. I, also, was totally blank about any topic related to a wedding. This morning the light came on — what better thing to talk about than my own wedding dress.

Wedding dresses are so personal. They have to be just exactly right. They have to reflect our personality, our lifestyle, and our hopes for the future. Whether you are having a $100,000 country club wedding or a small family wedding in a barn, the dress is most important of all. Other than photos, it is probably the only thing you will keep forever.

I got divorced in 1987. Shortly after that, I saw a dress in Frivolous Kates, a popular boutique here in Waxahachie at the time that I fell in love with. Kate’s was the most fun place to shop. Everything was out of the ordinary.

This dress was ivory crochet with a jagged hemline. It reeked of Victorian elegance, which was all the rage at the time, but it also looked like it was hand made by someone’s grandmother in the 1920s. It was me.

I decided to buy that dress. I had no place to wear it, but I said that I would wear it at my next wedding if I ever had one. There were absolutely no prospects at the time, but I had my wedding dress hanging in the closet, just in case.

In 2003 I married Les Collard. I was going to wear my favorite dress, finally. It was exactly what I wanted all those years later.

I love looking at our wedding pictures. My older brother gave me away, which was such a special thing for me, as he has since past. My sister in law, who has been like my sister since I was 20, was my bridesmaid. We each had a grandchild standing with us as ring bearer and flower girl.

My dear friends Barbara Hill and Leslie Bruce both sang at my wedding. Barbara wore my wedding dress to one of her grandchildren’s weddings a couple of years ago. She needed a dress and didn’t want to buy anything, so I took several things for her to try. It was a slam dunk. No question, she had to wear my wedding dress.

Here it was, thirty years later and my dress was still perfect for my dear friend to repurpose at someone else’s wedding. And why not? A wedding dress is forever, just like our love is supposed to be.

For 16 years, my sweet husband was the father my girls never had. A precious grandfather to our blended thirteen grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. A dear friend to so, so many. And, most of all, what I thought he would be, my loving companion for the rest of my life.

Life is full of surprises, but the memories we have are forever, just like our wedding dresses. Repurposed or not, a woman never forgets what she looked like on her wedding day. I never felt more beautiful.

Have a wonderful fall. Enjoy the weddings you attend, whether they are yours or that of someone you love. You are helping to make memories.

I miss you, Sweetheart.


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