ONE "An old maid who marries becomes a young wife." Being a bridesmaid sucked! Even if you were the maid of honor. And weddings were totally overrated. Annie Goldman knew this because she was presently in oneher best friend Mary's, to Dan Gallagher. It wasn't bad enough she was dressed like a rose-tinted marshmallow, surrounded by other rose-tinted marshmallows. No, she had to endure wearing the hideous tulle headpiecea headpiece even Queen Elizabeth would have objected to. And everyone knew Liz, who probably carried Prince Philip's family jewels in those frumpy purses she toted, had no taste. Sophia Russo, Mary's mom and dictator extraordinaire, had insisted that her daughter could not be married without bridesmaids in tulle headpieces. Most likely tulle was some type of fertility materialAnnie sure as heck hoped not!because Sophia was planning on lots of grandkids. Annie had never been a maid of honor before, and she had no intention of ever being one again. The reasons were numerous: The clothing was hideous; you had to hold the bridal bouquet; make sure you didn't fall on your face while marching up and down the aisle; and you were forced to wear a serene smile, which gave you the appearance of suffering from a serious case of gas. Though on the latter she was covered, because her father, Sid, seated five pews backand trying not to look too Jewish among all the Italian Catholics, despite the fact he wore a kippahcarried chewable Maalox with him wherever he went. Of course, if her father should happen to forget his antacids, one just had to search through Gina's purse to find a drug supply second only to old man Moressi's pharmaceuticals. Her mother wasn't a drug addict, just a hypochondriac who believed in being prepared. Gina Goldman was the Boy Scout of hypochondriacs. She had more ailments than Baskin-Robbins had flavors. What would be a headache to most people was a malignant brain tumor to her mother. Thirst translated into diabetes, a stomachache to ulcers, and on a particularly bad day a mild rash was usually construed as flesh-eating bacteria. Dr. Mankin had given Gina a clean bill of health after her physical last weekher weekly physicalbut she refused to believe she wasn't dying, which drove Annie's father crazy. "The woman's a nut! She's healthy as a horse and still she kvetches! She should go in good health." Which, in reality, meant quite the opposite. Annie had been surprisedstunned, really!when her mother had shown up at the church today, because this morning she'd been dying of food poisoning. "God forbid, but if I should die today, Annie, you'll take the Limoges china. I don't want the Goldman girls to get it." Gina despised her sisters-in-law, who had never really accepted a gentile into their midst, but she was fond of Mary, liked and respected Mary's brother, Joe, and so had made a special effort to overcome her latest fatal affliction. Father Joseph Russo was performing the mass and the ceremony today. And he looked damn good in his vestments! The ladies of the parish called him Father What-a-Hunk behind his back, and it was more than fitting. The priest was well over six feet tall, dark-haired, brown-eyed, and had dimples in his cheeks that put Shirley Temple to shame. He'd been compared to everyone from Mel Gibson to Rupert Evertt, though Rupert was purportedly gaya major waste to womankind!and Annie knew firsthand that Joe was not. Joe would be mortified if he knew what was being said about him. Unlike Annie, he dCriswell, Millie is the author of 'What to Do About Annie?', published 2001 under ISBN 9780804119511 and ISBN 0804119511.