Gather round kiddies. Aunt Cronie is going to tell you a story. It’s a love story. Stop saying blechh, sit down, shut up, and listen.
Once upon a time, 26 years ago a 29-year old princess married a 39-year old prince. It was a happy time in the Kingdom and all the peasants were pleased because the King gave them extra loaves of moldy bread and jars of watered down wine and they all gathered in the courtyard and shouted, “Huzzah, huzzah!” Long live the new Prince and Princess.
Okay, enough of that crap – that’s not quite what happened. Actually, 26 years ago, June 25th 1983, Devoted Spouse lost his senses completely and married me. It was quite the special day for us, if a tad non-traditional and oh, alright, a somewhat comedy of errors.
As I recall it was hotter than the hubs of Hell that day. We were to be married in the townhouse which I was renting with my roommate, Bobbi Jane (whom I called Buckwheat, but that’s another story) who was also my Maid of Honor. I wisely turned the air conditioner to the lowest possible setting and proceeded to cram about 30 people into the tiniest living room you have ever seen. What was interesting about the arrangement of this townhouse was the living room was connected to the dining area by a step up and it was set off by a white iron railing. So the stepped down living room was great for all of us and we placed the preacher up one step into the dining room so he rather looked down over all of us like at a church. Okay, it wasn’t a Redneck Wedding but it was a bit on the cheap side.
We had both been married before – I had already experienced the church thing walking down the aisle in the fancy white dress (although it was a mini dress much to everyone’s horror – but that was 1971 so what could you expect?) Anyway, Devoted Spouse and I didn’t belong to a church, didn’t want to make a big fuss and didn’t want to spend alot of our hard earned money just to get married.
So the stepmonster made my gown (the only nice thing she ever did, and she did it well). I wore a picture hat because I just didn’t want to wear a veil. Devoted Spouse wore a lovely dark suit. The best man looked nice in his equally dark suit and my Maid of Honor wore a light blue long gown which went well with her lovely blond hair. The men were so serious while my Maid of Honor and I were sharing some kind of joke as I recall.
It was a fairly routine wedding as far as weddings go. But remember earlier I mentioned a comedy of errors? Well, the first problem we encountered was when we went to get our marriage license. We were all the way back to my townhouse when I noticed a rather large error on the document and we had to return to the courthouse and start all over again. Nothing would deter Devoted Spouse.
As I also mentioned we weren’t members of any particular church at the time, and so I knew a friend at work that I shared this fact with and lo and behold if her husband wasn’t an ordained minister. Talk about a streak of luck. We invited them over to the house for a pre-wedding minister to about-to-be-married couple counseling session. That was the evening we discovered he had never performed a wedding before; he was a prison chaplain. Yes, that’s what I said…a prison chaplain. Well, crapola, we needed a preacher, the wedding was rapidly approaching and he was going to have to do.
As a matter of fact he put on a lovely wedding ceremony, using the passage from 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 on love (which was popular in weddings in the 1980s). But he was holding his bible with one hand; the other hand was in his trousers pocket. I was so irritated I couldn’t pay attention. I wanted to yell at him, “Get your hand out of your pocket; it looks tacky.” Suddenly, he had to turn the page in his bible and that meant he had to take his hand out of his pocket. Bless his heart his hand was shaking so hard he could hardly turn the page and once he got to the page he needed, that hand went right back into the pocket. I felt bad — he was more nervous than the bride, God love him.
We made it through the ceremony. On to the festivities. As I remember, we stood around and ate really bad dried-out little sandwiches with the crusts cut off that stepmonster had made and stored in the refrigerator. Of course, she hadn’t thought to put a damp tea towel over them to keep them from drying out, just some wax paper. We gagged them down. We ate wedding cake – the kind with the traditional plastic husband and wife figurines on top (which I may still have in a closet somewhere). And no, we didn’t shove cake into each other’s faces; we had agreed ahead of time that was just the tackiest tradition ever and we weren’t going to succumb to such nonsense. We had punch. Boy did we have punch. The boyfriend of my Maid of Honor (whom we nicknamed Cuddles for some reason I no longer remember) thought it would be funny to raid our liquor cabinet and pour all the contents into the punchbowl – darn near killed my stepgrandmother; although I think it was one of the few times in her life she actually had fun and laughed herself silly. We quickly made more punch.
Cuddles was no rocket scientist; the evening before the wedding he showed up at Devoted Spouse’s apartment with a bottle of Peppermint Schnapps intent on getting my hubs-to-be drunk. I believe Devoted Spouse just shut the door in his face and ignored him. The morning of the wedding I was upstairs getting ready when to my surprise who should burst into my bedroom but an already drunk Cuddles, announcing he was there to give me one last chance to see what it was like to be with a real man. Gagging, I called downstairs to my future husband and my Maid of Honor to get their collective asses upstairs and get him out of my sight before someone got hurt and it wasn’t going to be me. Maid of Honor later married Cuddles and then divorced him; again that’s another story.
We got through the reception and managed to get away from the strange collection of my stepfamily and friends who had gathered. I changed clothes and we hopped into Devoted Spouse’s old Datsun, whose air conditioning had decided just that morning to stop working, and drove to hunt country in Middleburg, Virginia for a lovely, romantic honeymoon.
So on June 25th 2009, I look back on many happy memories, the places I’ve been, the people I’ve met, the experiences I’ve had, and all because one hot summer day I said “I do” to the world’s most tolerant loving man.
To Devoted Spouse: Happy Anniversary sweetie – I love you more today than yesterday; less than tomorrow.