Saturday, May 27, 2006

Seventeen Years

Seventeen years ago today my dear wife and I got married.

We were married at Grace Lutheran Church here in Ridgecrest. Most of that day was a blur at the time and much of it still is. The day before I was recovering from my first and last hangover. My friends got me good and plastered the night of the 25th. Not being much of a drinker I had never been drunk before. It was not pretty. Fortunately we were holding my bachelor party in my backyard which is easy to hose off. It needed it.

I got up the next morning and went for a 3 mile run. My head wasn't up to even a 10 foot walk, but since a couple friends were going with me, I wasn't about to let them get the better of me. So I set a pace that was designed to drop them or kill me. I just hoped the former came first. Half way through I lost one of them and the second one dropped out just before 2 miles. I made it around the corner out of his sight before I had to stop. But the run did clear my system out pretty good. So after I got home and rehydrated myself the rest of the day I felt pretty good.

That evening we had our wedding rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. My parents didn't want to limit the rehearsal dinner to just the wedding party but they couldn't afford to take everyone out to eat. So we held a backyard BBQ at my place. The dress for the affair was "a midwesterner's view of California Casual". That meant hawaiian shirts, shorts, swimsuits, sunscreen, bare feet or sandals. We had a couple pig quarters, hamburgers, hotdogs, salads, etc. We fed about 50 people in my backyard.

The next morning, my wedding day, I woke up to find my friends cleaning up the backyard. I started to help but after being repeatedly told to "go get ready." I gave up and went to get ready.

A nice long hot shower, a good close shave and then getting into my rented monkey suit. I had a nice black tux with tails. I briefly considered putting on the bright orange socks that I usually wore to play volleyball. I had been joking with my then fiance for many months that I was going to wear them to the wedding. She had got along with my little joke, knowing that protesting such behavior would most likely drive me to do it.

After I got dressed I was getting ready to walk over to the church which was only a block away. I looked out the door to see how my friends were doing with the cleanup. They were finished and getting dressed themselves. Mindy, one of my friends wives came bouncing in the door, stopped, straightened my tie, gave my a quick hug and told me how great this day was going to be.

At that moment I got nervous. Not just nervous, down right unable to walk, unable to talk scared to death. I stood there for a few moments trying to steady my breathing, trying to lower my heartrate. I couldn't think, I couldn't move. So I took the only calm rational approach to the problem that I could. I staggered back into the bedroom and put my orange socks on.

My thinking was I was wearing bright orange socks to my wedding with my dark tux. How much more trouble could I possibly get into today.

It worked. I was suddenly calm, relaxed and ready to go.

So I walked over to the church, Got my picture taken more times than I care to remember. I got a few chuckles from people who could see the flash of orange at my ankles when I was escorting my Mother, Grandmother, future mother-in-law, and my wife's aunts to their seats. My wife didn't find out about the socks until after the ceremony. Then she thought it was funny. Thank goodness.

So I have been married for 17 years now. It really doesn't feel like that long. I have been very lucky. I'm married to one of my best friends. We truly enjoy spending time together. We love each other, but more importantly, we like and respect each other. We never fight or argue. We both firmly believe that most of the things that couples fight about are not worth the emotional strain of the fight. We are saving our fighting energy for big things. Luckily, we have always agreed with each other on the big things. The small differences we discuss, calmly and rationally until we find a common ground that we can both live with. But even those discussions are rare.

We both like a lot of the same things. We both like staying home. We like working with our hands. We prefer homemade things to store bought. We both work to live, we do not live to work. We go to work each day and do the best job we are capable of because that is what we are paid to do. We do not love our jobs, but we can both think of much worse ones to have. We like things simple. We are just as happy sharing BBQ on paper plates in the backyard with family and friends than a fancy sit down dinner in an expensive restaurant. We don't spend a lot of money of fancy clothes. We would live in sweatpants or jeans and tee shirts if allowed to. We would rather spend time at an isolated cabin in the mountains than at a busy resort. We are both patriots. We both think that properly educating and raising our children is the most important thing we need to do.

I have been married for seventeen years now. They have been the best seventeen years of my life. That is quite an admission for a guy who when I started thinking about proposing had to decide, not if I wanted to marry this girl, but whether or not I want to marry anyone, ever. I think I made the right choice.

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