Ron is real and the inspiration for Rondays.  A Ronulian is someone who is Ron-like.  A Ron-duh is someone who puts up with him.  Happy Ronday!

During pre-wedding counseling, the officiating pastor made it clear to us that there was to be NO flash photography during the more sacred parts of the ceremony (prayers, readings, vows, etc.) He also informed us in no uncertain terms that he would not tolerate anything intrusive to the ceremony, and was not afraid to stop the ceremony until said distraction stopped.

My future (ex) husband and I looked at each other and said: “Donna.”

Donna was his older sister. She was a tiny woman who still believed that frosted blue eye shadow up to your eyebrows was in, and that polyester would never go out of style. She fussed a lot, and did not think rules applied to her. Plus, she was an amateur photographer and we knew she would think nothing of flashing through kingdom come.

So I devised a plan. I asked my sweet, quiet cousin Mark to take the photos, and asked Donna to work the video camera. This was the perfect solution: no one’s feelings would get hurt and the pastor would not reign down fire and brimstone.

On the day of the wedding, I had only one request: I didn’t want to know what time it was. If I needed to go somewhere or do something, my maid of honor just told me – never mentioning the time, and never letting me see a clock or a watch. “Let’s leave for the church now!” “Let’s go put your hair in rollers” “Let’s get our dresses on” It was wonderful – I didn’t get edgy or stressed. We got dressed in the nursery of the church, and my maid of honor was helping me do my hair and put on my makeup. This was the first time even a flitter of nervousness started to appear as the moment grew closer.

My (ex) husband’s mother and sisters and niece came over to where I was getting dressed to say hello, and I said hello back – even though I couldn’t see them because the MOH was putting on my eyeshadow. When I opened my eyes, there was Donna’s face – TWO INCHES FROM MINE.

“Hello,” she said.

I jumped back with a screech and closed my eyes again. “Sorry, I just need to get ready. Can you back up a little?”

Next thing I know, the entire nursery is empty except the maid of honor and me. Guess I scared them all away. Now I really was panicking. I just “yelled” at my future sister-in-law on my wedding day! Greeeeaaat.

But I took a deep breath and tried to return to the peaceful, ignorant bliss from before. My bridesmaids returned and we all headed upstairs to the sanctuary and one by one walked down the aisle. The ceremony started and everything looked beautiful.

Then I saw her.

Donna was not with the video camera. No, she had somehow delegated that duty to her brother, and was now walking around the church flashing pictures. I looked at my (ex)husband with wide eyes – but he had evidently done shots right before the wedding (gives new meaning to shot gun wedding) and was very . . .happy.

Donna kept inching her way up the aisle. Oh my god, she wouldn’t. But here she came. Closer and closer.

And then. . .she disappeared.

I was trying to pay attention to my wedding, but I could not fathom why she would leave the sanctuary.

Until I saw her.

Directly behind the pastor, she suddenly re-appeared. She had found her way to the choir loft behind and was now weaving through the choir pews, just 10 feet from the pastor, who was giving his sermonette.

Desperately, I tried to do a psychic mind meld with my eyes to beg her to stop and think. I mean, it was all over the programs – “No flash photography during the sacred portions of the service.” There was even a sign at the entrance to the sanctuary. I had mentioned it to her. It was all over. Oh my god, why?

She raised her camera. She focused in on us, and I tried to mouth to her “No!” without the pastor seeing. She . . .she . . .she. . .

Flashed.

The pastor stopped, mid-sentence. The church got dead quiet. No programs rustling, no children talking.

Like Linda Blair in the Exorcist, the pastor’s head seemed to turn towards Donna, his body hardly moving. He stared at her for a long moment, and suddenly she felt the whole church’s gaze upon her.

She backed up in to the pew, almost falling over. She grasped the camera in front of her chest with both hands, as if for protection. And then as suddenly as she appeared, she was gone again.

The pastor calmly turned his head back towards us and picked back up right where he left off as if nothing had happened. People shifted and sighed and the normal white noises returned. The flowers in my bouquet stopped shaking.

And Donna didn’t use her flash for the rest of the ceremony.

Amen.