The Honorary Groomsman
All he had to do was walk up the aisle with his fellow Honorary Groomsman, who was one year his senior. Yet, this relatively simple undertaking had caused some discussion about contingency plans should this fifteen-month-old Toddler stumble or, even worse, decide that the walk from the back door of the church auditorium to the platform was too intimidating.
So they settled on a simple plan – Grandpa, who was sitting front row right next to the aisle – would go as far back as necessary to meet the Honorary Groomsman and guide him forward.
The Honorary Groomsman’s time came. With a bit of help he started forward, taking the first two or three steps up the aisle toward the platform where his beaming Uncle Joseph awaited the arrival of his Bride.
Then he froze – his little arm still pointing toward the lights after his first helper let go of his reaching hand. This was not like last night during rehearsal when all the seats were empty and the familiar, beckoning figure of Uncle Joseph stood clearly visible at the front.
Confusion and a touch of fear clouded his usually sunny face. “WHERE AM I?”
But peering back steadfastly from the front was Grandpa. He saw the instant, puzzled look on his Grandson’s face and his heart almost burst with love and protective instinct and he whispered, “C’mon Grandson, c’mon, little man. You can do it!”
But the Grandson stood frozen, his face becoming more clouded as the seconds moved on by. The aisle stretched a mile.
Grandpa’s chair lost its grip and he started back down the aisle, bending forward to meet his Grandson. As he drew closer, the Grandson’s eyes slowly moved from the crowd to the one familiar face coming toward him. And then his face lit up in recognition as his little hand grabbed onto a finger of the extended hand of his Grandpa.
He squeezed that finger so tightly that tears came to Grandpa’s eyes. But not from the squeezing – it was his grip on Grandpa’s heart.
Grandpa and Grandson finished the walk up the aisle together and the little Groomsman found his place on his Mother’s waiting lap, all folded up in her arms.
The Honorary Groomsman had fulfilled his first important, public Task. Now it was time to snuggle up close to his Family.
"There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root". Henry D. Thoreau.