There are exceptions to every rule.

Before Sept. 12, the last wedding I recall attending was my son’s in the fall of 2006.  But on Sept. 12, 2020 I came out of “retirement” to be there when Lauren Donaldson of Opp married Bill Paulk of Lowndes County.  I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

For reasons none of us can really explain, as we travel this life’s journey we occasionally come across people we become attached to.  That’s Lauren.  As best I can tell, she was 10 years old when I met her, younger brother Timothy and mother Kay.  She was full of life and always at the center of something she and her friends schemed up.  Back then she was mostly arms, legs and blond hair.  She was not athletic.  Soccer was not her thing..

However, she was smart, full of energy and often the leader of the pack.

She decided to run for president of her class in the 8th grade.  A friend of hers also chose to run.  Lauren’s reaction, “Let the games begin.”  She and her buddies went all out on her campaign.  The final vote was not close.

At some point during that year she called the school system superintendent and told him that she had an “issue” she wanted to talk to him about.  So he arranged to see her.  Turns out her “issue” was a proposal that they have school four days a week, instead of five.  She did her homework and made her presentation.

And though the superintendent did not agree to go along with her, he told her mother (who was a teacher) that she made quite an impression.

She finished at Opp high school, then the University of South Alabama, then Cumberland School of Law.  She is an attorney in Dothan and my little buddy of 10 is now 32.

She was a beautiful bride.  Still tall.  Still blonde.

The wedding was at the Oaks Plantation, east of Montgomery at Pike Road. It was outside at noon.  It is said that sunshine is good for helping you have vitamin C.  If so, a lot of people became healthier at the service.  I felt for those wearing coats and ties.  (I was not one of them, though neither did I wear coveralls as I often do.)

This event has consumed Lauren’s life for months.  (Too bad folks in Washington didn’t devote the same attention to defeating Covid-19).

Now it is over.  And Lauren is beginning life as Mrs. Bill  Paulk.  But to me she will always be my middle school buddy and thoughts of those days will always bring a smile.