Twenty seven years ago there was no walk down the aisle, no wedding dress, no wedding rings. Instead we walked up to the Justic of the Peace's home and knocked on the door. With us was an elderly bachelor friend dressed in his go to town shirt of bright blue gingham.
The Justice of the Peace invited us in and asked us about the necessary second witness. We looked at each other and at him and shrugged our shoulders. We just wanted to get married. We had no idea you needed two witnesses. Luckily his daughter was home and agreed to sign for us.
Next he wondered about rings. We looked at each other and at him and shrugged our shoulders again. We just wanted to get married. I took off my engagement ring and we used that, changing it from one hand to the other. Suited us just fine.
I was laying in bed last night thinking of that day. It's complicated why we chose the way we did to get married. I'm sure there were many family members thinking I was pregnant and that we'd moved our wedding date up nearly 2 and a half years for that reason. I'd just been released from the hospital. The doctors had told me then, due to the serious STDs they'd treated me for, that they couldn't guarantee I'd ever get pregnant. Not that I went around telling people that bit of information. I can just about see dearest one's family blanche in horror had I been so forthright. Dang, I missed a chance to shock them. I didn't let many of those go buy back then.
In what seems like a weird bit of logic, considering parts of my past, I just didn't want to live with dearest one without being married. I'd moved into his humble abode (no running water, no bathroom) barely two weeks before and I knew I didn't want to continue this way. It had never been in my plans. His family dynamics were of the sort that if his family came to our wedding when they hadn't gone to his younger brother's, well, we'd wanted to side step that mess of anger and resentments. Both of them married outside of dearest one's family's faith and that was serious business. So much so that dearest one's parents tried to convince him the night before our marriage, while I was downstairs in their house having a nice hot shower, to not marry me at all. Dearest one and I had been together about 6 weeks at the time. I'd spent three of those weeks in the hospital. I don't blame them a bit. I've told them so since. I had no clue how sacred marriage was and I wasn't going to listen to anyone tell me anything anyway. I was in loooove, what else was there to know?
I did have a beautiful to me dress. One that was most immodest in my soon to be mother-in-law's eyes. I still smile when I think of how she insisted I wear her sweater (because it was cold, she said) when I went to take off my coat at her church a few weeks later, nearly exposing my immodesty to her world. I liked a little shock value back then even though in my eyes the dress was beautiful. Do you remember ribbon dresses? They had a matching full silky slip underneath that was visible through the see through gauzy ribbon like material? I went on to buy a second ribbon dress; I loved them so much.
We stumbled through our vows. We signed on the dotted line. We went out and got drunk. During our supper of three, our 77 year old best man proclaimed in his toast to us, that it was the most sensible wedding he'd ever seen. He never stopped telling people that.
And so here we are.
By the grace of God.
Had we not turned to God.
Had I not sobered up.
Today would be another kind of post entirely.