Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Quarter of a Century!

Twenty five years ago today, my (now) Dear Husband and I were married. It was a Saturday. He worked nights at the time, and Friday was a work night, so he slept most of the day. I putzed around the apartment trying to be quiet. Stupidly, I did my hair way too early, so I spent the rest of the day trying not to mess it up. I put on a robe over my slip and didn't put on my wedding dress until it was almost time to leave for the church.

It was cold: very, very cold. I don't think it got above zero all day. There was snow on the ground, but the roads were (mercifully) clear. I was bored, but too keyed up to read or watch TV or do anything but pace the floor and watch the clock.

I had decided not to let my the groom see my wedding dress until we were ready to walk down the aisle. That was a bit problematic since we lived together. Once I put my dress on, I put on my coat as well. How stupid!

DH's brother drove us to the church, with their mother. He had the radio on; the weather report said it was 13-degrees below zero. I was okay until a few minutes before we were scheduled to begin the ceremony. At that point, I started to freak out. I went outside and lit a cigarette. I couldn't taste the smoke for the cold. I contemplated for a moment whether I needed the cigarette badly enough to risk frost-bite, and decided that -- fiend though I was -- I didn't. I tossed the almost whole ciggie into the ash bucket and went back inside.

My soon-to-be-brother-in-law was fussing about having to roll out the aisle runner. The minister was very kindly trying to explain it to him. Everybody else had already taken their places in the chapel. My sister, who was the matron of honor, and DH's brother, who was the best man, walked down the aisle first. DH's son was the ring-bearer. He led us down the aisle. We walked in together. The minister followed us.

A guy I worked with and a woman he knew provided the music. I can't remember the other songs, but the song DH requested was Here, There, and Everywhere. I think they sang another Beatles' song as well, but I can't remember what it was. I requested some Christian folk song; I can't remember what it was. It seemed so important at the time; I remember agonizing for hours over the selection of music. Odd that I can't remember what I ended up with. That goes to show how important it really was.

Another person I worked with took the pictures. She took photos at the church and at the reception, and gave me the film to develop. I was cheap even then. I would not have considered paying for a professional photographer. The pictures turned out really nice, I think.

The church was a lovely little chapel. The carpet was red. The poinsettias were white and red. All we contributed toward the church decoration was one large red poinsettia for the top of their "poinsettia tree". [For several years we donated a poinsettia to the church every year for Christmas in celebration of our anniversary. Somewhere along the way, I quit doing that, largely because the church turned out to be so derned dysfunctional I couldn't bring myself to give them a dime.]

My soon-to-be-step-son, who was then four years old, behaved. My husband's nephew who was about the same age, and something of a monster at the time, behaved as well. That was a relief.

The ceremony went smoothly. It was the first Protestant wedding I had ever attended. The whole thing took less than ten minutes. It seemed hardly worth all the fuss and bother. I wasn't really clear as to what could be the point of a church service without Communion and lots and lots of music. [I still don't understand that, to be honest.]

We held the reception at our townhouse. There were thirteen members of our immediate families at the church. Another dozen or so friends and extended family joined us for the party. My mother and some other relatives served the food. DH and I cut the cake. We opened our presents.

DH had spent hours and hours making a tape of all of our favorite songs to play in the background during the party. It was the greatest "mix" tape of all time. [I bet we still have it somewhere among all our hundreds of cassette tapes.] Everybody danced. Our "first dance" was to John Lennon's Imagine. To this day, I think that's one of the greatest songs ever written, although it totally escapes me why I thought it might have been remotely appropriate for a wedding dance.

Just about the time I started relaxing and enjoying myself, everybody left. I was ready to party, but there was nobody there but the two of us. I think we watched TV for a while. We were such romantics even then. [NOT!]

The next day, we went out for brunch, which was nice. I remember that the center of my bouquet came out and made a corsage which I wore to brunch. I must have looked like a complete idiot. Who wears a corsage to anything but a prom?

The following Monday was DH's birthday. I went to work, but came home sick in the middle of the day. By then the reality of what I had done had begun to set in and I had my first panic attack. It was the first of many such attacks that would afflict me for several years. DH and I ended up spending most of the day sitting in the doctor's office waiting for me to be worked in. When I finally got in to see the doctor, he prescribed medicine and told me he wished brides would come to see him before the wedding instead of waiting until they melted down afterwards.

At one point DH commented, "When I promised to be there for you 'in sickness' I didn't really mean this soon." Such a wonderful way for him to celebrate his first birthday of wedded bliss with me!

In the intervening quarter of a century we've had very little of "sickness", a whole lot of "health"; we have had a lot of "better", a little of "worse", not too much "richer" but not too much "poorer" either. We're still alive and still together, albeit somewhat bruised and battered from occasional marital storms. We are certainly a lot older and, perhaps, marginally wiser.

Tonight we planned to sip cheap champagne and share a home cooked meal -- because we're too cheap to spring for going out to a nice place, but I am not willing to go to one of our usual joints for such a significant occasion.

DH got up this morning sick with the flu. He went to work anyway. I spent hours buying groceries and, even -- I don't know what got into me -- decorations for our celebration dinner. He called me mid-afternoon to tell me he was too sick to eat dinner and told me not to cook anything.

I put everything on hold and went to the beach, where it was foggy, misty and nasty,
for a walk. I got soaked but at least I calmed down before he got home. By the time I got home, DH was lying on the couch, moaning and bitching about how miserable he felt. All he wanted for dinner was canned soup. So much for the multi-course dinner I had planned.

We will have our anniversary celebration tomorrow night ... and he had better damned well feel better!

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