The Worst Timing

Did It Have to Be That Song?

By Clell G. Ballard

Back in 1966, my then-fiancee Marilyn made plans for our wedding in our home church, one of Fairfield’s most important buildings, right on Main Street. That was fine, because there was plenty of parking, and the occasion of two longtime residents tying the knot ensured a sizable crowd would attend. I say Marilyn was doing the planning because even though we grooms often feel we’re important to the ceremony itself, when it comes to arranging details, the bride runs the show—along with her mother, aunts, sisters, and other assorted women. The myriad things necessary for the big day escape us men, and any attempt to get us involved usually isn’t very successful. I think mostly we just have confidence that our beautiful and talented future wives will carry it all out efficiently. And that’s what would have happened with Marilyn and me—if not for the unpredictable.

“You don’t just marry a person, you marry a whole family,” the saying goes. Never is that more important than for a marriage ceremony. Both sides have people who must be invited, and sometimes members of the wedding party don’t even know each other. Variations in the plans have to be made for some attendees and in our case, the ceremony couldn’t take place until one of my brothers arrived home from Vietnam, where he was an officer in the U.S. Army Signal Corps. His tour of duty there was to be done in late summer.

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Clell G. Ballard

About Clell G. Ballard

Clell G. Ballard has lived his whole life in Camas County. He earned a Master’s degree in diplomatic history and for thirty-five years, he taught high school students in Fairfield. In the summers, he dry-land farmed with his uncle. Since 1980, Clell has had more than two hundred articles published. He has written regularly for Skinned Knuckles and Farm Collector magazines. He and his wife Marilyn, the district librarian, have five grown children.

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