He gently placed the rose petals on the bench and stood back. He smiled to himself as he adjusted the positioning so that it would be seen the minute anyone walked through the door. For weeks now he had been telling his daughter that he had a special surprise for her wedding. She was like a six-year-old when it came to surprises – she kept trying to guess – she never got close. As he stood there looking at his handy work, he remembered the day she first talked about him.
She had been at the park with her best friend Betty. When she got home, she just could not keep from talking about him.
“Mom, he was so cute. Betty and I were sitting on the bench next to the open grassy area of the park. Some boys were playing touch football – that was when I first saw him. Betty said his family had just moved to town and he would be going to high school with us. We tried not to stare, but, oh, he was just so cute. Suddenly, we realized that the ball was sailing toward us. Before we could react, he was flying through the air just in time to catch the ball. He hit the ground hard and we jumped up. I remember saying, “Are you okay?” And then it happened.”
She paused to take a sip of her drink. It seemed like forever causing my wife to finally say, “Well, what happened?”
She was so excited, “He winked and said, ‘Hi, Gorgeous.’ He called me gorgeous! Ahh!!!”
By the time school started, Tom became a fixture around our house. I learned that after football season, he would walk her home from school and they would sit on the bench at the park and talk. Soon it was obvious to all that they were deeply in love.
Tom graduated the year before our Mary – she wanted to quit school and get married but we made it very clear that she was just one year from graduation. They would just have to wait. Tom left for Parris Island shortly after his graduation to begin his career as a Marine. Mary would go to the park, sit on the bench, and write long letters to him every day. We got permission for her to miss a couple of days of school so she could see him graduate from boot camp. She lived to receive his letters – their love was strong – I knew I had lost my little girl to this good man.
So today, when they walk into the reception, they will see the bench where they first met and spent so much time. I had to talk to a lot of local politicians to get it but it was worth it. Now, just one more finishing touch and I will go walk my baby down the aisle to the man she will love forever. I picked up the sign and placed it on the bench.