What Katie Did

beth kate

Nine years ago, my son, dressed in a good suit, was sitting in the back row of a 
small church in North Carolina during the weekly service. An elderllady was 
sitting next to him, and after a while asked him if he was new to church as she 
had never seen him there before. He explained that he was there to be married in 
a small ceremony after the weekly service. She was quiet for a moment, and then 
she said,  “I know what you did.” 
Brian explained that he and Beth became engaged a few months ago, planning to 
marry when Beth completed Veterinary School and he completed his sea duty with 
the United States Coast Guard. But Beth’s student health insurance had expired 
and could not be renewed, so they were marrying that morning so she would have 
the Department of Defense health insurance she was entitled to as his spouse.  
Later that year, Beth bought a wedding gown in anticipation of the larger 
wedding in her future. But life took over, and years went by with no wedding to 
which she could wear her gown. Nine years to be exact. My daughter-in-law told 
me once her only regret was to not to have pictures of herself in her wedding 
gown and Brian in his dress white uniform. 
Beth’s twin sister started planning her August wedding early this year. Knowing 
her sister’s desire for these pictures, Katie suggested that Beth bring her 
wedding gown along with her bridesmaid’s dress. Then after Kate’s wedding, Beth 
could scoot back to her room, put on her wedding gown, and then have those much 
desired pictures taken of herself with Brian in his dress white uniform. Kate’s 
photographer would be right there waiting for her. Beth agreed that would be 
But Katie was not totally honest with her sister. When I received the invitation 
to Katie’s wedding, there was also a card enclosed with a picture of Brian and 
Beth. On the back of the card was explained how Beth had never had a chance to 
wear her wedding gown. Attendees were instructed that after the ceremony we were 
to remain in our seats.  When Beth reappeared in her wedding gown, she would be 
escorted down the aisle to where Brian would be waiting for her, and the couple 
would renew their vows. Katie had even arranged for the same minister who had 
married them nine years ago to be present for the day’s ceremonies. When I 
contacted Katie about my husband and I attending her wedding, she asked that my 
husband escort Beth down the aisle, as their own father had passed away the 
previous year. 
So this is how it came to be that Beth, in her magnificent wedding gown, floated 
down the aisle on the arm of my husband into the arms of her husband, in his 
dress white uniform. 
In my grammar class, I teach that abstract nouns are things we cannot see. Love 
is on the list of abstract nouns.  But I saw love that day. I saw the love of 
Katie and Matt, the man for whom she had been searching, and the love of Beth 
and Brian renewing vows after nine years of marriage. But the love I saw that 
day that is  to be remembered is the love that a woman had for her sister, a 
love so profound, that on her own wedding day, she chose to surprise her sister 
with her dream come true. That’s what Katie did.
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