Marines.Together We Served

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A Pressing Need

I’ve done a lot of strange and peculiar things in my life, but this one is going to jeopardize my standing in the All Man Club. However, I do believe it will gain me automatic membership into the Dennis Rodman Club. For those who have no idea who Dennis Rodman is, he is a former National Basketball Association player who was a teammate of Michael Jordan’s during the Chicago Bulls great championship run nearly twenty years ago. Rodman is perhaps better known for his bizarre behavior off the court – particularly, the wearing of wedding dresses!

On June 13, my wife and I were in Monterey for our eldest daughter’s wedding on a spot of beach in Carmel. As a retired military officer, I was able to get some very nice rooms for all of us at the BOQ (Bachelor Officer Quarters) on the Naval Post Graduate School base in Monterey. Since the wedding was scheduled for mid-afternoon, we had plenty of time (so I thought) to get up Saturday morning and get everyone ready. The night before I had been assigned the task of ironing the pants and shirts for the guys. Like many of my fellow military colleagues, I had acquired a skill at ironing my uniforms. In fact, when Isaura and I met, I was already a staff sergeant in the Marine Corps and long accustomed to getting the perfect crease in my pants and shirts. She offered to take over this responsibility for me after we were married, but I chose to continue ironing my uniforms. Not that she couldn’t do it – I just knew how I wanted it done, and I’d been doing it for seven years at that point.

So this is why I was delegated to be the ironer of all the men’s clothes for the wedding party. This may sound like a lot, but it wasn’t. It consisted of pants and shirt for Ken (the groom), Daniel (the best man and Ken’s son), and me (the pastor and father-of-the-bride). Since I was at it, several more items from my wife appeared during my efforts to make us all look good. You see, since this was a wedding to be conducted on the beach, my daughter wanted all the guys to be casual – khaki pants and Filipino style dress shirts. And bare feet! Ironing khaki pants and straight hanging dress shirts is a piece of cake. In all my years of ministry, both as a civilian pastor, and as a military chaplain, I have never performed a wedding in casual clothes. I have always worn a coat and tie, or a tuxedo, or a military uniform. I have to admit that I was warming up to this casual approach.

Saturday morning we had a bunch from the wedding party and various family members in our quarters on base for breakfast. There was a lot of laughter and good times being enjoyed by all. I needed to be at the beach by 2:30 to meet with the wedding coordinator and the photographer. Along about 1:45 I received a call from my wife who was with Laura at the hairdresser’s. Could I take care of something for her? Sure, I said, just name it. Laura’s wedding gown needs to be pressed, she said. What? Her wedding gown? I thought to myself, “Well, why not?”

I found the dress in her room, still with the plastic protector over it. I confirmed that it needed to be pressed, so began to check the iron to be sure it wasn’t going to do something really ugly, like spit out some rusty water, or be too hot and scorch the white satin fabric. It was with some fear and trepidation that I proceeded to put the iron to the gown. Since this garment was rather long, it did not fit on the ironing board, which folded down from the wall. I grabbed a dining room chair and draped most of the gown over the chair back. I began ironing each panel of the gown while rotating the gown in systematic form, gaining confidence as I went along. I was deeply engrossed in my task when I realized my friend, Jerry, a.k.a., “The Photographer,” was preparing to take a picture of me in the act. I grumbled something about his early demise, and continued ironing.

Reputations are gained and lost on the click of a camera. So I thought I’d better come clean and explain the picture so you would understand should this ever surface, raising questions about my extra-curricular activities.

The wedding went off without incident and Laura and Ken are enjoying their honeymoon far removed from the last minute scrambling necessary to close the deal.

Isaura and I can relax now. But I can’t help but wonder if I now actually belong, by default, to a select group of men who hold the distinction of having ironed their daughter’s wedding gown at the last minute!

Daddy Wedding Gown Pressers - Unite!

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