How's Bayou? Seamless transitions
No, we're not talking about a smooth descent into receiving our newspaper just three days a week come September.
This is a tale of two dresses, with no stresses.
Just last month, cleaning out closets, I came across the Victorian lace dress that Millie wore at our wedding. I’m ashamed to admit that it had been rolled up and placed in a Dollar Tree plastic bag on a top shelf. But it quickly unfurled when held by its delicate shoulder panels and returned almost instantaneously to the full glory it had displayed on that sunny October afternoon almost 31 years ago.
As I’ve related before, that dress had belonged to one of my mother’s great aunts, and every date I’d had for a Spring Fiesta tour at Madewood had worn it. Millie took it to the Town and Country dress shop in New Orleans, where Mrs. Walker, conscious of my bride’s limited funds, cleaned the dress and created a brilliant yellow slip and matching sash for the princely sum of $75. Millie had decided that at our advanced ages, 34 and 35 at the time, a full-blown bridal-salon dress would be un peu de trop.
Last weekend, we had another lovely wedding at Madewood, with not a Louisiana pick-up truck in sight -- just cars that had carried two delightful families from central Illinois and beyond to celebrate the wedding of Kayla VanHouten and Brandon Strode.
Guests ranged from a well-behaved six-week-old child to the bride’s grandfather, Dale Vaughn, who at 87 beat me up every morning and shamed me with details of his daily schedule back up there, just north of the Mason-Dixon Line.
But the unacknowledged stars of the weekend were Kayla’s grandmother, Lavonne Vaughn, and the dress in which she was married to Dale on Feb. 22, 1947, at the Shields Chapel Church in Canton, Illinois.
For the rehearsal the evening before the big day, Kayla appeared in the striking, moss-green dress that hugged her school-girl figure the same way it had emphasized grandmother Eva’s fit-to-celebrate-after the-war sleekness. You can see her joy as the two women stood side by side at The Cabin, the country restaurant where the rehearsal dinner was held, looking like one of those doctored photos where one image fades into another.
Just as the bride at Madewood the prior weekend had staged humorous photos with her new husband in Madewood’s Old Kitchen, Kayla and Brandon couldn’t resist staging a few pictures in the rustic ambiance of The Cabin, she sporting grandmother Eva’s saucy outfit, and he dressed in period garb.
But on the wedding day itself, the bride came into her own in 21st-century bridal splendor, exchanging vows under the branches of the Porteous Live Oak where Millie and I were married in 1981.
As you look at Kayla and Brandon embracing in that pastoral setting, you can see that the joy had slipped seamlessly from one dress to another.
How's Bayou? the secrets of remaining sane while running an upscale B&B on Bayou Lafourche, is written weekly for NolaVie by Keith Marshall, a former Rhodes Scholar and graduate of Yale and Oxford universities who now juggles his time between Dixie Art Supplies in New Orleans and Madewood Plantation House in Napoleonville.
How’s Bayou? the secrets of remaining sane while running an upscale B&B on Bayou Lafourche, is written weekly for NolaVie by Keith Marshall, a former Rhodes Scholar and graduate of Yale and Oxford universities who now runs Madewood Plantation House in Napoleonville.