Tuesday, May 18, 2004

A day like no other

As I recall, it was a sunny day, that Saturday in May. I don't recall eating much the night before, and I certainly wasn't too hungry that morning. All my family, with the exception of my brother and his family (victims of a last minute airline strike) was in town and my college graduation was at 6:30 that evening. But there was still a thing or two to get done before I graduated. Odds and ends to finish up. Minor details. Like getting married.

You see, a few years back, I met this girl who set my heart to pounding every time I saw her or even thought of her. She was sweet and kind and thoughtful and smart and pretty and for some unknowable reason she saw fit to let me catch her. It's still a mystery how she could put up with the likes of me. We had been dating for less than two months, when sitting in the lobby of her dorm one Sunday afternoon, one of us laughed (I forget which, but I'm sure she can tell you).

"You'll never guess what I'm thinking" the other one said.

"What?"

"I was trying to figure out what color the tuxes should be."

The rest, as they say, is history. It turns out that wedding bells had been on both our minds. One discussion led to another and before you know it, we were picking out a date. A date several years off. Shortly after that, I started counting down the days inside the front page of my Bible. Every Sunday I would write the new number below the old. It took three columns to complete the countdown. The magic number? 782 days. Our friends said that we'd never make it that long; we'd wind up getting married sooner. We laughed and said "watch us."

The original plan was to get married on Sunday afternoon in the old chapel of our church. No can do. It was against the church's policy to allow weddings in the chapel on Sunday. But my family, traveling from the West coast, could only afford to come once and so we'd have to do it sometime that weekend. I don't remember why, but Friday was out, which only left the Saturday of graduation. So, Saturday at 1:30 found me standing in my tuxedo at the altar waiting for my bride. I wish I could remember the whole day, but the emotion and stress of the event have conspired to make most things a blur. We planned and paid for the thing ourselves, getting family and friends to help where they could. My brother took the pictures. His wife played the organ. Our good friends sang. The pastor was my old pastor from Washington state who had since moved to Louisiana. The wedding cake and groom's cake were made by a coworker of the bride. The flowers came from I don't know where.

I remember the thrill and chill I got when she walked down the aisle. I remember being absorbed by her radiance as we stood face to face. I remember being a little nervous about getting the ring on her finger. I remember lighting the unity candle. I remember kissing the bride. Yeah, that I definitely remember.

Anyway it was nineteen years ago today that my friend became my lover and my wife. Happy anniversary, honey.

I leave you with the immortal words of John Bickerson
Happy anniversary to my love,
My wife, my life, my turtledove.
Life with you is great, it seems,
I love you more than...pork and beans!

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