by Mary Druce When Tom proposed to Marilyn she wasn't half excited; She and her mum drew up a list of those to be invited, And talked of things most men regard as trivia and fuss (The things which every woman knows all brides-to-be discuss). As estimates arrived her Dad began to feel quite queasy, And when they mentioned coach and four, decidedly uneasy. "Look, lass," he said, as kindly as he could, and stroked her hair, "Its getting like t'Millenium Dome, and look what happened there." "Don't take a scrap of notice, chuck," her mother cooed and purred. "I dont know why he says such things, they're really quite absurd." But Marilyn was deep in plans for how they could release (When she and Tom were man and wife) two thousand doves of peace. "We'll really push the boat out, dear, exactly as we oughter," Said Mum, "For nothing is too good for you, our darling daughter. Your Dad is in agreement this will be a great occasion." "Of course, love," said her husband with a sigh of resignation. "I'll not have folks round here," said Mum, "and all the rank and file, Suggesting that we haven't sent our daughter off in style Some pictures would be nice of you reflected in the lake, As well as groups and bridesmaids and the cutting of the cake." "Oh yes!" squeaked Marilyn, "The cake! I ordered it today From Harrods on the internet. I hope that thats OK. Entirely made of ice-cream, with a tiny moulded dove Upon the top, to symbolise the theme of peace and love. They'll pack it up in ice, and right from London they will speed it, Complete with man to cut and serve exactly when we need it!" Her father raised his eyebrows, then he saw his daughter pout. Perhaps, he thought, on balance, it was better to say nowt. Besides, he'd caught her mothers eye and knew that meaning look, So, with a watery smile he shrugged and went back to his book. The dress (Stella McCartney) was a veritable dream; Wild silk, and off-the shoulder, and not boring white, but cream. So elegant and classy, it was way beyond compare, And Marilyn had opted for fresh lilacs in her hair. Oh, good, said Dad, at least thats one bill I won't have to pay. Theres lilac growing in the ditch, I'll check it right away. "Oh no," said Marilyn, which sent his spirits plunging lower, "I've ordered the organic kind directly from the grower." When Dad had left in silence for to potter in his shed, Her mother raised another point that came into her head. "Now, Tom," said Mum, "what will he wear to complement your dress? No use your looking lovely if the bridegroom looks a mess!" "He's going to wear a morning suit," declared the little minx, "With waistcoat specially made in pastel blues and mauves and pinks." And so the saga went along, bill superseding bill; The women twittered on, and poor old Dad, he felt quite ill. At last he made his mind up that he had to have a frank Discussion with the manager down at the Yorkshire Bank. A loan was organised and, having granted his request, The manager was kind enough to wish him all the best. He told his wife that evening, and she countered with a grin, Well, thats the very least that we can do for Marilyn. She didnt understand, or maybe just chose to forget That they'd be strapped for cash for years till they repaid the debt. But Dad, he was the placid type who liked the quiet life And anyway, he was no match for his assertive wife. He loved his daughter (course he did) but couldn't fathom how She justified this vast expense, the selfish little cow. The great day dawned, the sky was blue, the families joined forces, And Marilyn looked stunning in her coach with four white horses. She gracefully alighted, giving all a radiant smile, With father in position to escort her down the aisle. The congregation turned and looked at Marilyn, admiring; The organist struck up with Jesu, Joy of Mans Desiring. As all the little bridesmaids sorted out her ten-foot train, An awful pause, and then he played it several times again. The people at the front by now were gesturing and muttering, While Marilyn was close to tears, her little heart a-fluttering. A murmur rippled round the church, "So where the hell is Thomas?" "I knew it," whispered Dad, "The bastard's gone and broke his promise."
The end