2009: Hey, sailor. You look pretty spiffy in that tux. How about you come home with me?”
Honey really was in the Navy. Daddy was in the war, I mean, The War. He told me to stay away from soldiers, that they didn’t respect women and said nasty things behind their backs. I went on a blind date with a sailor just off the boat. So, Daddy, you like him?
Diana planned her wedding for Memorial Day weekend so they could have a day off before they had to go back to work, both being in the Air Force National Guard, both having vacation issues. Last week Di’s daughter, a senior, was in the high school’s production of Oklahoma. They did an outstanding job. This weekend Di gets married. This Thursday, the same daughter graduates. Honeymoon? Next week. Don’t call her on her cell phone.
1973: I had just started my new job at 3M that year and accumulated all of 4 days of vacation. We set the wedding date for Memorial Day weekend. The stupid part was holding it 500 miles away in the home town. The only reason I can come up with now was that I wanted to prove to the town and graduating class that I was not doomed to be an old maid at 23.
2009: “You still have to change into your tux. It’s 1:25 now and pictures are 1:30. Pull up to the door and run in. I’ll park the car.” I park and head for the door and see Honey coming out.
“Diana is in curlers and is looking for you.”
“Jane, you have to fix my hair.” The last time I was fixing anybody’s hair, it was my daughter’s just before a danceline performance and she was trying to get away from me for good reason. The time before that, she was 3, I was trying to cut her bangs and she was crying and getting teeny hairs her eyes. “You’re sure…”
Not only that, I was to adjust her eye makeup, apply the lipstick, spread skin toner to cover her freckles, stand in between her and the window while she put the longline on, zip her dress, and stick the veil on. I loved it! What a girlfriend! Not only, that, I did a good job. She looked gorgeous. Of course, all you have to do with her hair is direct it with your fingers, it’s so thick and heavy.
1973: Storms. Tornado watch kept farmers at home rounding up livestock and locking barn doors. Someone was fussing with my veil. Someone came up to me to offer congratulations and words of something. I said thank you and was distracted by tumbleweeds — tumbleweeds! in central Illinois! — flying by the windows. Dad was ready to escort me down the aisle, stiff and military. He reminded me of the guys who held post at the tomb of the unknown soldier.
I could hear the organist playing “Oh, Promise Me” knowing I had insisted it NOT be sung. The soloist was halfway through a song I insisted she sing when the power went out. The organist kept going, the soloist kept singing and when the power went back on they were in sync and on key.
Not only that, my sister, who was one of my attendants, was 4 months pregnant and looked funny in her dress. Her son, the ring bearer, had a puffy red lip from a softball that afternoon.
2009: Nothing went wrong. Nobody tripped or fainted or forgot their lines. The unity candle did not fall and catch anything on fire. No nosebleeds, no fat lips from softballs. I did get a few chuckles at the guest book, however. Yes, I was the Guest book Nazi. “You vill sign ze book. Yah?” I even charged the assistant pastor admission which he did not pay, nor did he leave anything in my tip jar.
1973: The best man tortured me for two whole days threatening to spike the punch and write “help me” on Honey’s shoe soles. Kathy, is the punch spiked? “No nails in my glass!”
2009: Sandwiches, fruit, potato salad, pasta salad, deviled eggs, and other et cetera, plus a cake tilting dangerously.
1973: Mints, nuts, cake, punch — no nails.
2009: The bride and groom danced. Alone. Nobody got up. What a bunch ‘o’ Baptists! C’mon, Honey. We won’t have this chance again. We walked hand in hand up to the happy couple and tapped the groom’s shoulder to cut in. I took Diana who was laughing her head off, and Honey grabbed the groom. Y’know, you only go around once. You don’t seize the moment, it’s gone.
Hey, Honey. What are we doing for our anniversary? (panicked stare)
1973: “Where’s your car, Stan?” shaving cream in hand. Are you kidding me? We hid that two towns away from you guys. “Awwwww…”
We opened gifts at the reception. Diana opened gifts at the reception. I’m normally the first person out at any given wedding, but this time, I enjoyed every minute.
Thirty-six years ago the dark haired sailor in the tuxedo whisked me away. The last picture in the album was me with a rose in my teeth, winking. This year, the silver fox and I danced at our friends’ wedding.
What do you want to do for our anniversary? Being in a wedding was pretty good. How about grilling a couple steaks this Saturday? Sounds like a plan.